Maira van Leeuwen – Equine Specialist
Maira van Leeuwen – Equine Specialist
I am an animal lover of note and have been riding since I was 6 years old. I pursued my passion for animals by studying a BSc and MSc in Animal Science at Stellenbosch University which includes nutrition, animal management, physiology and much more. I have a horse of my own and am involved in the equestrian community so I know the struggles and wins within our equestrian community.

Equine Health – Happy Horse, Happy Life

When it comes to horse health there are many different opinions, strategies and feeding plans however, a few points remain consistent regardless of the brand you feed, the discipline you compete in or the supplements you give to your horse.

Always ensure your horse has adequate clean and fresh water available

A horse that does not drink enough water can not only get dehydrated but is also at a big risk for colic. Various scenarios can cause your horse to not drink enough water such as bad weather or wind (reluctant to walk to watering trough), playing with the water instead of drinking it or being chased away by herd mates. Therefore, always ensure all your horses have access to water and if you are worried about the water intake you can supplement their daily ration with salt to encourage extra drinking.

Roughage, roughage and more roughage!

Your horse should be consuming at least 1.5% to 2% of its body weight in roughage daily (E.g., A 500kg horse should be consuming 7.5-10kg in roughage daily). Ideally, the horse should have ad-lib roughage (as much as they can eat) and should never be without).

Concentrate feeds – more is not better

When feeding concentrates various aspects need to be considered such as age of the horse, energy levels, temperament and work requirements. Unfortunately, more is not always better and it is best to feed concentrates in smaller meals throughout the day in order to avoid filling the gut with bulk meals.

Watch out for sand

Sand is a big issue in dryer, hotter countries such as South Africa where grass paddocks/pastures are not always guaranteed. To avoid sand buildup in the gut (and thus also sand colic) do not feed your horse on the ground and ensure they have a salt/mineral lick available. Signs of sand ingestion include a watery discharge which will in some cases run down their back legs. Psyllium husk is an easy and affordable treatment when you suspect that your horse has ingested sand (if you are worried always ask your vet!).

Exercise and movement improve gut motility

Physical activity will assist your horse in keeping the gut contents moving and thus reducing the risks of colic. Physical activity can range from having your horse in a paddock all day to walk and run around or to riding your horse. Movement is key, in any form!

Vets and dentists are here to help

Unfortunately, the average horse owner is not a professional vet or dentist and this is thus when outside reinforcements need to be called in. Ensure your horse is checked regularly by the dentist in order to avoid situations such as sharp hooks which can be causing ulcers in the mouth or cracked teeth which can reduce their ability to chew their food. In addition to this, your vet should also be roped in for your horses’ annual vaccinations at which time he/she can also give their opinion on your horses’ overall health and condition.
Add Canega EquiPlus to your horse feed and help your horse reach its full potential.
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LEGAL DISCLAIMER

Equestrian.co.za, the publisher and authors, and any sponsors of this Web Site assume no responsibility for and make no warranty with respect to results that may be obtained from the uses, procedures, recommendations or dosages (if any) contained within. The information contained within is solely for informational purposes, and DOES NOT replace licensed professional veterinary care. The information contained within is subject to interpretation and an evaluation of an animal’s medical condition should be performed by a trained professional before any medical decisions are implemented. Please recognize that animal medicine is a rapidly developing field, and try as we may, this Web Site may not be updated as quickly as the protocols in your chosen animal hospital are. The authors, publisher and sponsors shall not be liable to any person whatsoever for any damages, or equivalencies, or by reason of any misstatement or error, negligent or otherwise obtained in this work.

If you have any questions about the information contained within, especially as to decisions you may wish to make concerning the health or well-being of your horse, please consult your veterinarian or eMail the author for clarification before proceeding.

If there is a potentially life-threatening emergency involving your horse, DO NOT WAIT for an eMail response, instead take your horse immediately to a trained Veterinarian or Animal Emergency Clinic.
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