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 Post subject: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:04 pm
Posts: 1706
Hello,

Pucky has since as far as I know had ups and downs when it came to colic, sometimes it is quite severe all of a sudden. Since she is very small the vet can't do much 'at the spot' so she has to be taken to the clinic.

These 'attacks' usually are predicted by a period of eating 'dirty stuff'.
Real dirt, but also manure, twigs, leaves, sand and occasionally 'pebbles'

Right now we have been able to 'avoid' the colic 'attack' by giving 'sand clear' which cleans the sand (and according to Pucky is really disgusting).
I try to give her as much hay as possible, during nights she is in the stable (which is not likely to going to change according to the owner of Pucky) I give her as much hay as is allowed (by the owner) and some extra (secretly).
During days she is at the paddock with all the other horses, and she is not often allowed to eat from the hay, I got someone at the stable as far as putting little piles of hay on de ground for Pucky to eat from.
In between 1100 and 1500 the horses are on the sand, away from the hay (not allowed to enter) except for Pucky who always gets to eat in that time :yes:
Well, she gets as much hay as possible I wouldn't think it is hunger, most of all because she eats the dirty stuff, while a fresh pile of hay is next to it...

Is it some sort of deficiency? Minerals? (she has a block of salt in her stable, and probably also in the paddock).

The problem right now is that she doesn't eat the hay in her stable… I found it all over the place today :ieks:

So now: I'm searching for step two to fight off the colic before it starts (do you know what I mean... boy my english...)

Thank you all so much!

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kirsten
time is what you make of it


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Because irrigation leaches sodium from the soil hay grown on this land often is low in sodium.

Understand, I am going to hang a sign around my neck that says very clearly to all who read my posts I AM AGAINST SALT BLOCKS FOR HORSES.

Salt blocks were a cattle invention. They are not designed for horses. Those who read this that know cattle and have ever been licked by a calf know why - a cows' tongue is a rasp - it's so harsh on the surface you'd swear it was a form of bone. This is because they evolved with no upper front teeth. To graze they, unlike horses, grasp with their tongue to pull grass. The upper gum line is strong and hard enough to shear off the grass.

They can lick a salt block all day without the least harm. Now let a horse lick you. Feel how soft and silky that tongue is. Hold your hands over your ears....I'm going to yell -- this is so important: HORSES CANNOT LICK A SALT BLOCK WITHOUT PAIN, and possible injury.

Thus if a horse is short on sodium from their hay, very likely for most hays except on new ground, and he has a block of salt as his only source he will either gnaw on the block (this you see all the time with horses) which is NOT good for him, or he will like the ground ... which is a richer source of sodium than the hayfield soil.

I am going to take heat from the "natural," and nutritional advocates here, but what the heck, this is for the horse. Horses do NOT crave any missing minerals or nutrients in their diet except for, yes, you guessed it, salt. They LIKE sugar, but they do not need it for health. Salt they need.

I can make only a guess, but betcha I'm right, they do not crave other minerals because in evolution where salt was present - ground licks - the other minerals were present and easily obtained. And lack of other minerals do NOT have the more immediate effect to health that lack of sodium does. Especially in desert and steepes where water is a long haul from one place to another. Sodium loss will be high so the habit of licking soil is going to be an evolutionary survival trait. Heat and sweating removes sodium and it must be replaced quickly.

Folks can argue with me all day long about "craving nutrients we lack, " but the truth is in our, and horses' eating habit. We crave lots of things that aren't good for us, and very little that IS good for us. How many people crave liver, but it's high in nutrients we need. How many people crave sugar? And we have zero need for it. We could live entirely on the sugars derived from starchy plants.

I've talked to a veterinarian who is very good on equine nutrition (he keeps and trains endurance horses) and he is my source for, "the only mineral a horse craves is salt."

IN any case, get some loose salt in front of that horse. Take a bag of table salt (horse's need Iodine too, just like us) and see how the horse responds to it. If he wants it there's your problem ... sodium shortages. And horse's won't eat it unless they need it ... that's why it's considered a "craving," response.

I wish I could convince everyone to give up those blasted salt blocks for horses. They are far too often out of balance for the horse's needs anyway. Sometimes dangerously so. The only way you can determine what a horse needs in the way of minerals is to have his hay analyzed, and buy and feed the lacking minerals or balance out the few that effect each other adversely (High iron blocks copper and zinc uptake ... two vital minerals for horses - and lack of causes "sunscald," in dark haired horses, and poor mane and tail growth).

I'm no fan of wasting money on any Artisanal salts either because the horse doesn't need it and if you don't know it's exact analysis you cannot tell if it has what they do need. Waste of money. And if it's in a rock it's too hard to get without chewing and licking ... neither of which will provide enough sodium safely.

Loose salt, just like the ancient and current feral horse found in the wild, is what he needs. Give it to him. It's all "sea salt," anyway, and give good forage to back it up. .

An adult 1,000 lb horse needs from two to three tablespoons a day, minimum. Say half an ounce. If the horse is on any kind of mash or wet feed that's a nice place for it, but otherwise he'll eat it out of hand. In addition keep a bucket, out of the weather, with a half lb or so of loose salt so he can freechoice it. This is your gauge for knowing if you are getting enough salt into him from forage and hand feeding that half once or so per day. If he leave the loose free choice salt alone you have done your job. If he consumes it quickly he's either in harder work, hotter weather, or you aren't giving enough by hand.

All claims I have researched, and tested. Read the labels on "iodized salt blocks for horses," and see if it's not loaded with things the horse doesn't need, or risky of overfed. A gnawing horse gets pain and things he doesn't need from a block.

I AM NOW THE OFFICIAL I HATE SALT BLOCKS FOR HORSES guy. Pitch the blasted things our for the deer and elk. They have cowlike tongues.

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:04 pm
Posts: 1706
Wow thank you Don, this I've never known!

I'm going to read it again because I'm not sure I got 'all of the information in' and we're going to do the simple 'seasalt on hand test'.

Thank you! :f:

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kirsten
time is what you make of it


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
KDS wrote:
Wow thank you Don, this I've never known!

I'm going to read it again because I'm not sure I got 'all of the information in' and we're going to do the simple 'seasalt on hand test'.

Thank you! :f:


It surprised me to find out that plain sea salt lacks adequate iodine for our and horses' needs. It has to be added. If you do go to loose salt just common off the shelf iodized table salt delivers the correct amount.

By the way, real sea salt? Unrefined? Just evaporated? Horses are likely to refuse it. It tastes gross. I think I read that it's the magnesium and calcium that makes it taste bitter to horses, and humans.

Normally I like unrefined things ... but some things just aren't palatable and a few poisonous without refining in some way.

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:35 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:04 pm
Posts: 1706
okay, thank you iodized table salt it is!

Do you have any reading material to recommend about this maybe?

'cause with searching on the internet most recommended kelp when a horse eats dirt...

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kirsten
time is what you make of it


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
I've not tried kelp and have no information on it. I am slow to introduce new items into the nutrition of my horses, and slower still to make recommendations.

If you want a really in depth understanding of equine nutrition with clear substantiated methods I cannot recommend too highly joining the ECushings group on yahoo groups.

At first I was put off that it was so heavily slanted to dealing with endocrine compromised horses but after working through the materials offered it occurred to me that we, by taking horses from the wild, have created these very problems. Metabolic problems for horses occur at a very high rate, very like other of our domesticated animals, even the dog.

At ECushings one can learn ways to formulate your own feeding program. It's there I first ran across the recommendation that one use simple iodized table salt for horses.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings/

In fact, they have sister sites on general horse management (learn about slow feeders, forage sources, etc.) and hoof care - especially devoted to barefoot trim work for hoof rehabilitation. This forum has hosts who are expert in this field and show photo and radiograph pics explaining their work - even recovering completely lost hoof capsules. Amazing work.

I've never found a resource quite as thorough as this. And the resources they link out to are fantastic as well.

Best wishes,

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
When I read your mention of Kelp something caused me to alert on that source recommendation so I looked at my notes.

While the thyroid must have iodine it is possible to overdose on it, and Kelp, sadly, can be very high in iodine.

I follow the recommendation of an internationally known equine nutritionist veterinarian, Dr. Kellon who is the hose of the ECushings forum I mentioned in my prior post. She makes clear that the proportion of iodine to sodium in ordinary iodized tables salt is the correct one for horses.

One of the difficulties of using the Web for information is the flood of speculative claims presented as supported fact. You will find a great deal of this on the subject of salt for horses. Some of it appears well thought out and well presented, and is still dead wrong.

Altea is a stabilized insulin resistant horse that by following Dr. Kellon's advice (and that of other trusted experts on her forum I have improved the heath of tremendously. She is 16 now, and runs and plays at times with Bonnie like she herself is a three year old. Metabolically she is sound as can be. Recovered hooves, correct body number for age, size, and breeding. She was compromised in all these areas when we received her.

As your research stop on each article you read and see if they refer to research, preferably academically sourced and for sure published in scientific journals. In the latter case that means the research has been subjected to peer review and it will show in the journal. Otherwise they will not publish. It must pass that peer review ... and they can be, and should be, very tough on methods and outcomes assumed.

We rely a great deal on anecdotal evidence. I think we do so too much. They can be good leads for research but too often we find that they do not stand up to rigorous scrutiny and the standards of scientific research.

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:38 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Washington State, USA
That's so interesting about salt blocks Donald. Makes sense though. I have also heard zinc is also a big defiency in horses. Have you read any of Pat Coleby's books on horses and minerals? She has some very interesting things to say about supplementing minerals for many different reasons. Most of her evidence is anecdotal if I remember right, but very interesting nonetheless. One of the things I've had a hard time deciphering is if it's better to have free choice minerals or feed rations daily so there's no risk for overdose.


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:04 pm
Posts: 1706
Donald, you are so right about 'searching on the internet'.
That's the exact reason why I always, check check and double check, try to use common sense and search further (that's also why I was interested in information to read about the idione)

wonderful to have so much information 'at hand'
horrible to have so much information 'at hand'.

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kirsten
time is what you make of it


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:31 am 
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I always put over table seasalt (for the mill) each meal. Never had licking blocks for 10 years exapt those himalaya ones.
I once licked a cattle mineral block and it tasted discusting, very chemical.

I saw on internet that some cows in the netherlands do not get salt blocks but sea salt over there dinner :) The farmer said they were more healthy and their coats looked more radiant :)

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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:04 pm
Posts: 1706
we do have the himalaya salt block in the stable, will find the seasalt soon and see what that does!

_________________
kirsten
time is what you make of it


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 am
Posts: 86
Location: America
Rose occasionally eats dirt, but it's only one spot, and luckily, it's actually a place I would have to trailer her to (not on or near the barn I board at). I wonder if it's something in the dirt, like salt or minerals that she likes? She never does it anywhere else, so it must be something about that particular spot. Maybe there's something like that going on with your horse?


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 Post subject: Re: horse eats 'dirt'
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:20 pm
Posts: 23
Anyone else break their licks into chunks for chewing? I usually use mineral blocks, not salt licks, but I know Jamie Jackson (author of Paddock Paradise and researcher into wild horses) has observed wild mustangs eating mineral chunks with what appears to have positive wear on their teeth. My mare is always keener on minerals when presented in small (1cm cubed roughly, usually long and thin not short and fat) chunks.


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