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Ulcers in horses

The more we look, the more we find gastric ulcers in horses. They are being increasingly diagnosed across all horse populations (including leisure horses) likely due to greater awareness of the signs and symptoms. There have also been developments in technology allowing vets to make earlier and more conclusive diagnoses. Overall, more horses now seem to have ulcers than don’t. 

Ulcers are painful for the horse, can impact on their handlers or riders as they react to that pain, and may even reflect our failing to provide a calm and healthy environment. That's not to say all owners of horses with ulcers are to blame - but it really ought to trigger all of us to think more about how we can better care for our horse's needs. Ulcers should not be inevitable or acceptable.

Mares and their seasons

Mares are in season for around 6 days every 3 weeks from spring until autumn. Some mares will cycle all year. When they are cycling, their hormones are fluctuating and, in many mares, will trigger changes in behaviour. This is perfectly natural and something we should try to understand, not criticise her for. Mares are as entire as stallions, the difference being that their drive is periodic, not constant.

For many mares, short days, cooler temperatures and less available food cause their cycle to stop, then warm weather, longer days and growing grass trigger the process to start up again, until either she becomes in foal or winter comes again. Veterinary intervention can also control her cycle.

Faecal Water Syndrome in Horses

What is Equine Faecal Water Syndrome?

Faecal Water Syndrome (FWS) refers to the passing of excess free liquid before, during or after the passing of droppings. It can also happen independently of defecation, where no physical droppings are passed. The droppings themselves may appear quite normally formed or may also be quite loose. In some horses, the issue is persistent whilst in others it can be seasonal or sporadic and entirely random.

It is unfortunately common that Faecal Water Syndrome results in horses having dirty tails and hindlegs that require frequent grooming and washing. In the warmer months, the issue may subsequently attract flies. In severe cases or with sensitive horses, it can lead to irritation and dermatitis on the hindlegs and buttocks, whilst some start to object behaviourally to being washed so often. In mares there is the increased risk of contamination to the vulva, leading to infection or reduced fertility in breeding stock.

Repairing your horse's paddock

Does your paddock need a boost? We are hearing that many customers have a lack of grazing due wet weather and very muddy paddocks.

We are frequently suggesting Blue Bag Grass Pellets and Red Bag Grass Pellets as they are an excellent way to top up lost grazing. We are also recommending addressing the paddock itself.

Our Natural Grazing Mix is ideal for repairing patchy paddocks. It is a balanced, ryegrass free mix of hardy, creeping and drought resistant grasses and legumes. One bag will cover 1 acre of bare land or 3-5 acres when re-seeding patches. This mix is also suitable for hay cropping.

Your soil may also need a helping hand after heavy grazing, and the rain may have increased acidity as well as washing out nutrients. The next few weeks are ideal for applying Natural Paddock Recovery to the soil. This is natural, non toxic product will help balance the acidity and provide trace elements and organic matter to help the grass develop more vigorous roots. This in turn will give a longer growing season, yet avoiding the flush of growth that can occur with a traditional fertiliser.

Nutritional Advice for Horses

Have you ever talked yourself out of asking for feeding advice? Picking up the phone to ask for advice can be daunting, especially if your horse is not in optimal condition. Rest assured that no matter what your horse's issue is, it's highly likely that we've helped other customers overcome something similar, or we've dealt with such an issue with our own horses.

Although we are happy to advise by email or online, our Feed Line's preference is to speak with customers wherever possible. Having a conversation helps paint an overall picture of your horse, allowing the team to give the best possible advice. After all each horse is an individual, so we need to get to know them. 

What happens when you phone the Feed Line? When you phone the Feed Line we want to hear as much about your horse as possible.

Choosing a horse feed balancer

Choosing a balancer can be a bit daunting as we have so many options! There are basically two types, those with a forage base which are pelleted and those which are presented as a meal or powder. The former are palatable, easy to feed and may indeed, need no further short feed The latter can be more economical, but they need to be mixed with a feed and they may take some horses a little longer to become accustomed to the taste.

Pelleted balancers, such as Simple Balance +, are fed according to the horse’s ideal weight and the calculation is very easy! Whatever the horse’s ideal weight is in kg, feed this number in grams of balancer, so for a 500kg horse, you offer 500g of balancer. For a good doer, add water to make a tasty mash and you are away! For horses requiring more nutrition, add feeds as appropriate. The Simple System Feed Line are available to make suggestions to suit your horse's individual needs. Choose your pelleted balancer from our Plus range.

Laminitis

Don't let laminitis catch you out! Our Feed Line have received several calls relating to laminitis this week.

The weather is currently warm enough for grass growth in most areas of the UK, with Scotland, the South West and South East seeing the most growth in the last week. New spring-like grass is potentially problematic for those prone to laminitis. 

Did you know? It is thought that around 90% of laminitis cases are believed to have a hormonal cause, i.e. Cushing's disease (PPID) or equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).

Veteran Balance +

Q. What are the ingredients?

A. Veteran Balance +has been carefully formulated and contains just 7 ingredients, all of which are functional for horses.

  • Sainfoin - the base forage, naturally high in nutrients and condensed tannins which can aid the absorption of protein. It also adds variety and supports gut function.
  • Cooked full fat linseed - an oil source with anti-inflammatory properties, having the optimal balance of essential omega oils.
  • Seaweed meal - providing natural vitamins and amino acids to support the coat, hooves and overall health.
  • Stabilised dried yeast - a natural prebiotic, rich in B-group vitamins, aiding the absorption of nutrients.
  • Sodium chloride – salt is essential in for all horses to maintain electrolyte balance.
  • Spearmint – aids digestion and supports gut function.

Rosehips for horses joints

Ingredient spotlight | Rosehips

Rosehips are an important, functional ingredient in Veteran Balance +, our pelleted balancer with joint support for older or hard-working horses.

Rosehips are naturally high in a wide range of antioxidants, and it is these antioxidants that are particularly beneficial when caring for our horse's joints and overall health. Many of us have heard of antioxidants and we all know they are good for us, but why do we need them in the horse's diet?

Although oxygen is vital to support life, the natural process of oxidation produces free radicals, which are harmful to horses (and humans). They cause damage to cell membranes, contributing to the aging of tissues like cartilage, and diseases like inflammatory arthritis. Antioxidants work to neutralise these free radicals, reducing and even sometimes preventing them from causing damage.  

Chops for Mallenders and Sallenders

Q. Can I add a chop to MalleMash?

A. Yes, but choosing the right chop is crucial!

This is one of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to MalleMash - our feed created for those prone to Mallenders, Sallenders, CPL and dry itchy skin. 

MalleMash was formulated to be fed on it’s own as a quick soak mash. Adding a chop / chaff will add additional texture and prolong eating time. Deciding which chop to feed can be crucial. Here at Simple System we avoid molasses, cereal, cereal by products, straw, soya and preservatives. These can all irritate sensitive horses.