Oh boy you guys!! This clinic with Dr. Madalyn Ward was awesome!! If you would like to read more about her you can go HERE. Dr. Ward has two really wonderful websites absolutely bursting with information. She also does consultations!
She talks a lot about the Five Elements of the Temperament and Health of your horse and even has several books about the elements. I didn’t get very much time to read about those yet, so I won’t say anything else about them. But I am very interested in the psychology of horses so I do plan on getting her books! And am tossing around the idea of taking one of her online temperament typing clinics.
I am going to focus on a few things I learned or re-learned yesterday, her evaluation of Bonnie and how to read a hay analysis in this post.
Most of us know how important the good bacteria in the gut, small intestine and large intestine are. Something that I think many of us don’t realize is how susceptible that bacteria is to toxins and what exactly a toxin is! Toxins can be vaccinations, wormers (especially the daily wormers!! Please stop feeding these if you are…) Round Up, fertilizers, etc. The list could really go on and on and on.
Bonnie’s acute founder can really be traced back to the vaccination I had done two weeks ago. The reason it sent her into the acute founder is because she was already compromised – she hadn’t fully healed from the previous, grass induced founder. So the vaccination sent her over the edge as her body could not cope with the toxins in the vaccination. I can not remember all the sciency language here, but basically the disease is not the only thing in a vaccination. The ‘binders’ as I call them, can be anything from formaldehyde to mercury. These are poisons. Horses that are compromised can not clean these toxins out of their bodies. Dr. Ward said in the beginning of her veterinarian career she talked many people into vaccinating their horses for anything and everything, thinking she was protecting those horses, when in fact all that vaccinating made many horses chronically ill. I will say that I am not a big believer in vaccinations. If you have read much on my site here you will see that. I do all I can to help my horse stay healthy throughout the vaccination process if I HAVE to vaccinate due to barn rules, traveling across state lines, or showing. I do not show anymore and do very little traveling so don’t vaccinate my horses. I don’t think Captain has ever been vaccinated, Sky was last vaccinated for a show many many years ago and Zorro has never been vaccinated. They are healthy happy ponies. Bonnie has been vaccinated and she is suffering. That’s all the proof I need.
Hay that has been heavily fertilized will have toxins in it, weed free hay will have toxins in it as the farmer/rancher has probably sprayed with a weed killer. These toxins are not safe for horses that are compromised in any way and can cause a healthy horse to become compromised. Educating our farmers/ranches is key in helping our horses eat as clean as they can. We understand the importance of healthy, clean eating for ourselves, it’s equally as important for our horses.
Now what do these toxins do in the horse’s body? They run around killing the good bacteria in the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine. When that happens you end up with free radicals. Free radicals run around destroying the healthy cells. They have now linked Cushings disease with free radical damage to the BRAIN. Yes. Free radicals run around the body killing healthy cells, including BRAIN cells. This is irreversible damage. Brain damage.
Another thing that will mess with the good bacteria in the gut is feeding too much starch. The small intestine is where the starch is digested. That is where the starch digesting bacteria lives. When a horse is fed a heavy load of starches, through grain or hay or pelleted feeds, the small intestine can not handle the load so it will send it onto the Cecum. The cecum is a fermentation vat full of fiber digesting bacteria. BUT when large amounts of starch are constantly dumped into the cecum the bacteria will change. The bacteria will become starch digesting bacteria. If that happens the horse can not properly digest fiber, which will cause it to lose weight, get ulcers, and lose their bloom. Each step of the digestive process is very important. If even one part of it isn’t working correctly it will greatly effect the health of the horse.
Feeding your horse a good foundation nutrition is very important. Having your hay tested, feeding whole foods and balancing with any vitamins and minerals will help your horse be it’s best. Too many people over supplement their horses which is actually HARMING the horse. We are literally loving our horses to death. They need just the basics and very little of that if you are feeding whole foods.
I have to bring up Crypto Aero Wholefood horse feed again here! Dr. Ward loved this feed. She went through the ingredients with us and explained how important each ingredient is. I shared with her and the group that when Bonnie foundered in December, if I missed even one feeding of the Crypto Aero, Bonnie would be more lame than before, they were amazed. The Crypto kept her mobile through that episode! Dr. Ward explained that even though there are oats in it, there are so many wonderful WHOLEFOOD ingredients that the oats didn’t matter!
Soap Box – I’m going to rant right here: It’s amazing how important whole foods are. To put it simply, our horses can not utilize man made, chemical ingredients. Neither can we, though people refuse to understand that or listen. Let me tell you something… our government, the FDA, wants us to be unhealthy. They want us to be sick, have cancer, have chronic illnesses as this drives the drug companies. And we all know the drug companies OWN the United States. If we know this then why do we continue to put all the crap that they tell us is “good for us” in our bodies? Or in our horse’s bodies? Many GMO foods are modified with Round Up right in the seed. We know this. I have farmers in my family and one of them is a seed dealer and he will brag up and down about the POISON in the seed. Round Up in the seed of the plant. Wheat, soy, barley, corn many of these seeds, sometimes all of these seeds are now GMO. Much of the beet pulp available is now GMO. (Don’t get me started on beet pulp!!! LOL!) GMO means toxins. This is not clean eating. Many of our feed companies are using GMO in their feeds because that is all that is available and that is killing our horses, slowly but surely. Please understand that feeding pelleted feeds from traditional feed companies is not clean eating. These feeds are not whole foods. Sure they will make your horse shiny, but a shiny horse does not necessarily equal a healthy horse.
Okay. Now we all know that stress really has negative effects on our bodies. It also really effects our horses and how they digest their food. When a horse is in the Sympathetic state it is in fight or flight mode. If a horse is thrown into this state while eating one of two things can happen – if they can’t calm down and go into the Parasympathetic state, or left brain, calm, thinking state – either their gut will completely shut down the digestion process, or their body will force the food out as quickly as possible missing the steps of digestion. So if you have a very nervous, stressed horse it is rarely, if ever, getting the nutrients it needs from it’s food. Interesting right!? I won’t go into further detail about this now, but will share more later about how you can help your nervous horse.
Bonnie’s evaluation: Dr. Ward is pretty sure that Bonnie is IR (Insulin Resistant) based on her body, the way the fat (what little she has) lays on her shoulders and neck. She put her hands all over her and though Bonnie isn’t wild about people touching her she stood like a champ! Dr. Ward found some swelling or edema on top of Bonnie’s hips, right over her kidneys. She did another test which involves seeing if the horse can lift it’s spine or move the ribs to the right and the left, Bonnie could not lift her ribs and could only move her ribs a small amount to the left. This told Dr. Ward that she has toxin build up in her liver and her kidneys. This explains why she was so sensitive to the toxins in the vaccinations!! I don’t know if she came from a toxin heavy environment, but I suspect so. Fertilizer, weed spray, those pelleted feeds with GMO’s… all would contribute to toxins building in her body. (Some horses can not clean their bodies of toxins as well as others. Of course I would get a horse that has a hard time doing this. So do I!! I have to be very careful what kind of shampoo and lotion I use. I can’t eat many different kinds of food and am very sensitive to supplements.) We don’t fertilize, or spray for weeds and I put her on the Crypto as soon as she got here, combine that with all the exercise we got last year and that explains why she was able to stay sound and relatively healthy last year. With a little tweaking to my foundation nutrition program I know she can be healthy again! Dr. Ward wants to me start her on some Milk Thistle seeds, 2 tsp a day, to address the toxin build up. After going over my hay analysis she also wants to me to balance with some California Trace.
Hay analysis: Dr. Ward was very happy with my hay. Here is my analysis…
The first column with the big red arrow pointing to it is the column you read. These are the numbers that matter. So first of all the protein is awesome. For a horse with IR the protein should be below 10%. Whoot whoot!! Next, my simple sugars and starches are excellent. When added together you want them to be below 10% as well and added together mine are about 6.5%! Whoot whoot!! Then the calcium/phosphorus should be 1:1 or 2:1 and mine is about 2:1, so that’s good. The magnesium is low, but I have been supplementing with magnesium for some time now so she said that was good! Next was the iron. I knew this was a high number. Dr. Ward said she has seen this number be as high as 600!! Hay with that much iron can’t be fed to horses as there is no way to balance with zinc and copper. Your Iron/zinc should be no more than 5 times more iron than zinc. Mine is much higher! The Copper/Zinc/Manganese — should be close to 1:3:3. So to help balance these minerals since they are SO out of whack she wants me to supplement with the California Trace. When I get more hay I will have to have another hay analysis done so I can adjust my supplements again. Sigh. I know I will not be so lucky as to find hay like this again!
In case you missed the story… I found my hay on Craigslist. The ad said it got rained on in the field but was kept dry and under a tarp. I called the farmer to make sure it was rained on after cutting and before baling and it was! I ran straight over to take a look. It looked really good. Not dusty and no mold. He had 8 tons and wanted $75 a ton for it. I told him I would take 4 tons! It took us two trips to get the 4 tons and while we were loading the second load, the farmer pulled up and said he hadn’t had any interest in the hay so if I wanted the other 4 tons he would sell it all to me for $100!! That was $25 a ton!! I was floored and so so grateful. I thanked him profusely while all three of my boys groaned at the thought of loading and unloading 4 more tons of hay! Because this hay was cut and then thoroughly rained on the sugars were washed out of it. If only I could set this up to happen every year! I’m not sure what time of day he cuts his hay, but based on this analysis I would say he cuts in the morning. Smart farmer! I am going to call him and let him know how much Dr. Ward loved his hay and let him know if he has any rained on again this year I would love to put my name on it!!
So that’s the long and the short of it! There is so much more I could go into but this post is over 2000 words, if you’ve made it this far you must be a nutrition nerd like me!! (and thank you for sticking with me!) There was so much information flying around yesterday. I tried to soak up as much as I could, grateful that Dr. Ward is only an email or a phone call away. She was such a kind, caring person. I enjoyed learning from her and look forward to years of working with her!
And I want to give a BIG shout out to Crypto Aero and Anna, who came up with this awesome feed! Thank you Thank you!!!