My Gentle OTTB Becoming Hot and Unruly

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by bkat, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Their position is that having food in the stomach protects against ulcers, and that makes absolutely no sense when examined logically, whether it's forage or not. And yes, actually, you can colic a horse by loading it up with hay before you work it(not just moseying around, working). I've done it, but only once and only when I was 12 years old and I caught a world of punishment for it and I am smart enough to learn from that. Obviously a handful of hay won't bother the horse, but protect against ulcers? Who's suggesting it does and how does it do that? Because.....

    That food is OUT of that stomach in 15 minutes. That is a fact. Unless one plans to work the horse for 10 minutes total (and you already stated you don't), that food simply does not stay there long enough to do anything about anything.

    And unless it's a small amount, yes, in fact, horses colic if their stomachs or what comes after their stomachs is overloaded when they work hard. Doesn't matter if it's hay or grain. It's about amount of feed and the intensity of the work and some horses are more sensitive than others, obviously, but those are not myths.

    In the wild horses grazed all day on very sparse pickings. At any point they could yank their heads up and run for their lives for a brief few moments. They never at any point had much in their stomachs or any part of the system after the stomach. That's what they are designed for. Our hay nets, feed buckets and all that, we feed them a lot, and the work is concentrated into one hour a day and lasts longer than a moment. So we have to accommodate that system. Keep the load light before that work, and let that system rest after work.

    As for rationalizing backing a horse the length of the arena(mounted or not) or dismissing the risk of injury as baseless 'concerns' or substituting swinging its rump around after one dismounts, I am not going to be drawn further into that discussion.

     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I have a different way - the horse doesn't get worked any more than he's fit to work, no matter how he's behaving. Tomorrow is another day, and next month is another month.

    To 'only get off when he's calm' - heck - he may never calm down that whole day - that whole week - that whole month, he's a grained up off the track horse that hasn't been getting an opportunity to get adequate exercise (if overly grained up, there IS no 'adequate exercise', LOL). I'm not going to work him to the point of fatigue and wind up with a blown tendon or other injury. The other problem of course is that the more you tire out a hot horse, the hotter they get......
     
  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I tracked down some of the advice to feed horses before work....they all say a TRICKLE of feed....and all that I found came from supplement and feed companies. Not research, not 'old timer' experience/advice. I'll keep looking and see if I can get any additional information. But again, even those who are saying this, say a small amount of forage based feed, nothing like a full meal - it's a small amount. Together with claims that no horse has ever 'colicked or died' from being fed before work which is...nonsense. A small amount of feed, even a lot, before light work, may cause no trouble. It also appears that continuous non-explosive, slow work and continous small amounts of feed are ok re colic and other serious issues, but...that only makes sense. But more intense or longer work is different, and the more food involved, ,the more different it gets.

    But that entirely begs the question - because it's claimed food prevents ulcers by being in the stomach, and food simply does not stay in the stomach long enough to function as claimed unless the work is 10 min long.

    And this from Tom Trotter: Typically, racehorses are fed large grain meals and allowed to pick at hay in between. Although they usually have hay in front of them all the time in their stalls, they are not engaged in steady feeding behavior like a horse at pasture. "They may be resting, or not interested in eating the hay," explains Duren. "Thoroughbred trainers don't withhold hay, but the horse may not be eating much of it.

    (http://www.thehorse.com/articles/23688/preventing-equine-gastric-ulcers)

    If so many race horses have ulcers, it's not because of hay being withheld because it's not....unless you can cause ulcers by not feeding them for an hour before and after work, which I doubt. Horses in the wild certainly don't eat constantly. Their environment just does not provide that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  4. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Also from Tom Trotter if you keep on reading.

    "Tom Trotter, MS, general manager of Progressive Nutrition in Iowa, says horses are not like humans in how their digestive systems work. "We salivate mainly when we eat, and certain enzymes are produced when food enters the stomach. Horses are producing digestive acids all the time. So if a horse has an empty stomach, he is at risk for ulcers," says Trotter."

    http://www.thehorse.com/articles/23688/preventing-equine-gastric-ulcers

    And another comment about it in the same article which also mentions alfalfa is better at ulcer prevention than grass hay. Course it also mentions grain over load being bad.

    "Many Thoroughbred trainers feed a small amount of alfalfa early in the morning, so that it's already in the stomach when horses go out for morning exercise. "We are also finding this with performance horses," says Duren. "Trainers are adding some alfalfa to the diets and feeding it in the morning before the horses are exercised.""

    And this dispels the myth that a pasture horse can't get ulcers.

    "Ulcers can begin developing in as few as five days in the horse. Stresses as simple as changing herd dynamics or travel can incite the onset of gastric ulcers. Managing diets appropriately can help horses avoid the nutritional stresses that can trigger ulcers. However, some horses might first require medication such as omeprazole in order to heal or prevent gastric ulcers."
     
    GotaDunQH and StraightandTrue like this.
  5. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Horses in the wild hardly ever have full bellies but they are constantly searching and nibbling which produces saliva. I think we tend to get stuck on "horses need constant access to large quantities of forage" when it should be "horses need the option to forage and graze over an extended period of time" That's why I like the slow feed hay nets with the smaller holes because it tends to only allow the horse to eat small pieces here and there instead of giant gaping mouthfuls.

    Behaviors of wood chewing (I've even seen fixated wall licking) are pretty genius ways to produce saliva which is crucial to gut health.
     
  6. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Yep. One of my lease horses was a tb stallion. THE most relaxed, bomb-proof horse I ever met. Others could shy or bolt around him, strange noises, storms, nothing phazed him. He was forward and sensitive but never hot. I even rode him with mares in heat around without problem. The only time I encountered problems was when a friend longed a heavily pregnant mare while I was riding him.
     
  7. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    On it's own, feeding lucerne/alfalfa hay before a ride isn't a silver bullet that will prevent ulcers. It's part of an overall management strategy to keep pH levels under control. If you're pumping the horse full of grain and not giving it access to forage the rest of the time, then feeding hay before you ride won't undo the damage caused by those management practices. But combined with the actions recommended in the article below, it is an effective way to prevent ulcers.

    It's not about how long the hay stays in the stomach, it's about the hay (and saliva produced by chewing) balancing the pH levels of the stomach acid. That's what is meant by "buffering effect." Feeding hay before exercise also helps create a fibre mat of saliva covered hay, which floats on top of the stomach acid and reduces the amount of splashing during exercise. It's worth noting that lucerne/alfalfa hay is better than grass hay at buffering the pH levels.

    There are loads of other articles and studies out there supporting this practice and I encourage you to do your own research. With the scenario of your horse colicking when you were 12 years old, this isn't really a scientific example. Your horse could have colicked due to any number (or combination) of factors. If you conducted a study where you fed horses a set amount of hay, then made them all exercise for a set amount of time, and all the horses in the study colicked, then you might be able to start drawing links.

    Article on the effect of hay on gastric ulcers.
    Use of Alfalfa or Lucerne and Its Effect on Gastric Ulcers

    The article recommends:
    -Horses are designed to eat fiber. Fiber is provided by roughage sources such as hay, chaff, pasture, and beet pulp.
    -Adequate fiber intake is vital for a healthy digestive tract in all horses. Kentucky Equine Research (KER) recommends feeding at least 1% of a horse’s body weight in fiber per day, and ideally 1.5%. A-500 kg (1,100-lb) horse should be offered 5 to 7.5 kg (11 to 16.5 lb) forage. Free-choice hay is best.
    -For horses suspected of having ulcers, it is recommended to have a veterinarian diagnose the problem with an endoscope and treat using a proven ulcer medication. Once the ulcers are treated, aim to prevent their recurrence by correct feeding management. This includes reducing the size of grain meals (feed smaller meals more often), adding fat supplements, feeding adequate fiber, allowing some grazing time, and not working horses on an empty stomach.
    -KER recommends that horses are fed a small amount of lucerne hay or haylage before a workout to put a fiber mat over the acidic stomach contents and reduce acid splash.
    -To help reduce the starch intake yet still supply enough energy for work, it is beneficial to add energy from fat supplements. There is a twist here on our normal preference for omega-3 fatty acids. In the stomach, omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to stimulate production of protective prostaglandins and increase pH. Therefore, use corn oil, sunflower seeds, or stabilized rice bran as a fat supplement.
    -Avoid strong saline drenches or unbuffered electrolyte pastes as they can increase stomach irritation.
    -Horses at risk of gastric ulcers would benefit from the addition of lucerne forage (hay, chaff, or ensiled chaff) to their diet due to superior buffering capacity over grass forages.
    -For those on a budget, plain lucerne chaff and hay are cheaper options than ensiled products.
     
  8. Quarter Girl

    Quarter Girl Senior Member

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    How much is he being exercised? If your just trying to do a quiet trail ride with him a couple times a week i would say look into finding him a different "meal plan". What I would want to start by increasing his exercise. If he's trying to speed up, holding him back at a walk is making him raise his head up, toss his head, probably start chomping at the bit and jumping side to side all over. Then he starts getting spun out like your saying. Warm him up by turning on the hindquarters and forequarters. Few laps of walking, couple of trotting, do some more walking and hindquarter turns then get him to canter for a bit until HE wants to slow down. Make that slow work his idea. I'm sure you can get the "feeling" he's about to bolt shorty before he goes screaming off around the arena. If you feel like he's about to bolt of to your left, turn him into the right by moving his hindquarters and get him to trot some little figure 8's and circles (making sure you keep his nose pointed towards what he's trying to get away from!) once he settles wether its 2 minutes of 10, bring him back to a walk and continue with your ride.

    My Arab Zoey can be like this (particularly in a arena cause she was used for lots of gymkhana) . When your giving her grain and feed to keep her weight up for training, you have to exercise her for a good 10 miles (16km) everyday and a couple days a week make the rides longer. If you give her a long weekend off she can be a hellion to get back onto and I can not "slowly work out all that energy" It's 2 miles of cantering, half an hour working up and down sandy hills, trot a half mile and let her go wide open till she's ready to slow down (usually 2-4 miles) then after that walking and trotting like a good citizen is easier for her :crazy::eek::rofl:

    Noticed you said you where trying different bits, just stick to a snaffle or french link cause it sounds like he's having some difficulties listening to pressure for now.
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    So the saliva stays in their stomach after the food exits.....

     
  10. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    It has been established a different feed regime is in order, so from there it progresses to a training issue if the "attitude" continues. Has he been diagnosed with ulcers? I read the ulcer talk but didn't read it he was.
     

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