Animal, Plant & Soil Science Lesson C7-14 Feeding and Managing Equine Objectives Examine reproductive management practices of equine. Describe the types of feedstuffs fed to equine and analyze the nutritional requirements of equine. Objectives Identify common diseases and ailments that affect equine and determine appropriate prevention and treatment methods. Describe proper tooth care and determine the age of a horse by examining its teeth. Objectives Identify the parts of a hoof, discuss the proper care of a hoof, and describe the job of a farrier. Explain how to select a superior horse. Describe and demonstrate basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? Several specific management practices are involved in the care of the stallion and mares during breeding, parturition, and weaning time. Horses have a lower conception rate compared to other livestock. Special attention and care is a priority during this time. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? A. The stallion is kept in a separate stall or pens. During breeding, the mare is brought to the stallion, or a breeding barn/pen is used. Breeding pens are well equipped with padding on the walls and a soft flooring material. 1. There is a great risk of the animals being injured during the breeding process. Many breeding pens are well designed to provide safety to the horses and their handlers. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? 2. When the stallion is not breeding, it is important to provide a roomy box stall and 2 to 3 acres of pasture for exercise. The stallion should be exercised on a daily basis. It is essential for the stallion to stay in good condition. 3. The stallion is evaluated on the number of live, healthy foals that have been sired. Many stud farms will evaluate the semen of stallions for fertility, volume, and mobility. Artificial insemination is used in some breeds of horses. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? B. A mare should be at least three years of age before breeding takes place; therefore, she will be four years of age when she delivers her first foal. It is essential that the mare is completely trained before breeding. This will decrease the amount of stress and activity for the mare. Mares at three to fours years of age are more mature, taller, and fully grown and are thus better able to handle the breeding process. Mares can foal up to 14 to 15 years of age. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? 1. The gestation time of a mare is about 336 days, with estrus cycles occurring at 21-day intervals and lasting 4 to 6 days. There are many signs a mare is experiencing estrus. For example, the mare will desire company and tease other mares whether in a stall or out in the pasture. She will also show discharge from the vagina and increased urination. Once the mare is pregnant, she should be kept separate from other horses, preferably in an open pasture where she can get plenty of exercise. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? 2. Parturition is the act of giving birth. There are several signs of parturition in a mare. The udder will start to form and extend from the muscles. The muscles in the buttocks, tailhead, and abdominal area will show a falling-away action. This relaxes the body in preparation for foaling. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? a. Foaling is the act of giving birth in horses. Milk will be present as the udder and teats become fuller. The mare will become restless, showing signs of an increase in temperature and sweating. b. It is an important production practice to observe mares during parturition for safety reasons. The behavior of mares will differ according to age, breed, and size. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? c. Once the water breaks (the outer fetal membrane), foaling should only take about 15 to 30 minutes. It is extremely important to observe the foal as the mare begins delivery. The front feet should come out first, with the heels pointing down and the nose resting on the forelegs. If any other position is observed, call a veterinarian immediately. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? 3. The foal should be cleaned and any membranes covering the mouth or nostril area removed. Treat the navel cord area with iodine and maintain a clean, dry pen for the newborn foal and mare. The mare should be given a little ration and warm water. a. Essential production practices are keeping the pen area clean, maintaining temperature during cold weather, and observing the newborn and mare for any signs of illness or disorders. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? b. Once the foal is cleaned, it should receive colostrum immediately. Colostrum is the first milk given by the mother. It contains important nutrients and antibodies for the newborn. The foal should receive colostrum within the first 30 minutes to 2 hours of birth. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? 4. The mare will commonly be rebred once one estrus cycle has taken its course. However, it is possible to rebreed a mare within 5 to 10 days after foaling. Many producers will allow a full estrus cycle to pass, allowing the mare to recover from foaling. There are several factors to consider before weaning the foal from the mare. Foals are weaned anywhere from three to six months of age. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? a. The foal should be comfortable eating grass, grain, and hay before weaning takes place. This transition should occur well before weaning. The foal should be gradually introduced to grains and roughage while eating alongside the mare. b. The foal should show some socialization skills and behave properly within the herd. The mare should provide a good example of discipline and respect. First-time mares often are too passive and do not discipline the foal properly. If the mare is acting as a bad role model, weaning should take place as early as the third month. What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? c. The foal should be familiar with the surroundings of the new pen or pasture that is chosen for weaning time. d. The foal should be well developed and show signs of independence (e.g., wandering away from the mare to explore). The foal should also be in good health to overcome the stresses of weaning. e. The final factor to consider for weaning is basic training. The foal should accept a halter and be sound enough to lead. These are critical foundation training practices that should be conducted before separation. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? Equine nutritional requirements are based on maintenance needs and activity needs. Balancing the ration of a horse begins with understanding the maintenance requirements and activity level of the animal. Horses require all six basic nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, water, protein, vitamins, and minerals. A. Maintenance is influenced by the size of the animal, environment, and individual digestive and metabolic efficiency. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? To determine energy levels and requirements for a horse, the weight and size should be determined by the use of condition scores or weight tapes. 1. Weight tapes are used to determine the body composition and/or weight of the horse. A good production practice is to use weight tapes as part of a routine to adjust energy intake. 2. Protein levels are generally maintained through good quality forage and grain. The protein level for maintenance is low compared to activity levels. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? 3. Minerals should be offered as a free-choice salt containing trace minerals as well. 4. Calcium and phosphorous levels are extremely important for horses and should be part of the overall balanced diet. 5. Vitamin needs for maintenance levels are generally satisfied with high-quality, fresh forages. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? B. Activity level is the second most important factor in determining a balanced ration. Activity can be broken down in three categories: reproduction, growth, and work. 1. Mares experiencing the first eight months of gestation will only require nutrient levels slightly above maintenance levels. During the last three months of gestation, it is important to supply adequate levels of nutrients for growth of the unborn foal and condition of the mare. The mare should gain 0.3 to 0.8 pounds per day during this time. This weight gain will reassure her ability to rebreed after foaling. During the lactation period, mares require twice the maintenance requirements. It is essential to increase protein, calcium, and phosphorus. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? 2. Young horses experiencing growth will require adequate energy and protein levels. Foals can show rapid or moderate growth rates. It is important to have the knowledge and be able to observe these different rates. Additional calcium and phosphorus are essential for bone development. It is also important to offer adequate amounts of trace minerals. Lysine is the first limiting amino acid for horses and should be balanced within the ration. Lysine can be found in high-quality protein oil meal, such as soybean meal. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? 3. Horses experiencing work and/or exercise should have their rations adjusted to meet these activity levels. The intensity of the work, its duration, and the size of the horse will determine the nutritional requirements. The exercise level will affect the amount of energy the horse needs but will have little effect on other nutrients. Water and electrolytes are important for muscle function and fluid balance. Activity levels can be considered light, moderate, or intense. An example of light work is a Western or English pleasure activity. Examples of moderate work are roping, cutting, and barrel racing. Race training and polo are examples of intense work. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? C. Horses consume many different types of feedstuff. Grains consisting of oats, corn, and barley are some examples. It is important to feed grains free of dust and mold. Soybean or linseed meal is used as a protein supplement. Forages, such as grasses, alfalfa hay, and pastures, are used. Free-choice minerals are used as a feedstuff for horses to maintain a balanced ration. Fresh, clean water is essential, as horses can drink 10 to 12 gallons a day. What are the nutritional requirements of equine? D. Some common recommendations to follow when feeding horses are: 1. Feed twice a day and follow a routine. 2. Be consistent with the amount of feed fed. 3. Make sure salt is available for the horse. 4. Provide a water source. 5. Control parasites. 6. Check teeth to see if they need floating. 7. Monitor condition/weight of the horse. Water should be kept at 40°F. Don’t let hot horses have free access to water. Observe horse every day for general health. 8. Provide regular exercise. What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? Several common diseases and ailments affect equine. Good management systems and prevention programs can control these disorders. A. Common parasites include flies, mosquitoes, lice, mites, and ticks. Sanitation practices among facilities and equipment can reduce these external parasites. At times, insecticides may be used to help control these insects. Insecticides can be applied by spraying around the stalls. Another important measure to control common external parasites is to maintain clean stalls. What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? B. Other parasites are considered internal, such as roundworm, pinworms, and strongyles. Anthelmintics are chemical components used to deworm animals. Horses are treated with anthelmintics by the use of injections. Good management practices require a regular worming schedule to be followed. Other practices, such as rotating pastures and not allowing horses to eat off the ground, should be followed. What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? C. Colic, sometimes referred to as abdominal pain, is the leading cause of death in horses. Overeating, drinking while hot, moldy feeds, and internal parasites can lead to this problem. Signs of colic include kicking or rolling, constipation, and refusal to eat or drink. To treat this problem, walk the horse and call a veterinarian immediately. D. Encephalomyelitis, or sleeping sickness, is a virus that can be transmitted by mosquitoes and flies. Signs of sleeping sickness are fever, depression, elevated heart rate, diarrhea, and death. Vaccinating and applying insecticides are preventative measures that should be taken. There is no specific treatment for encephalomyelitis. What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? E. Equine infectious anemia (EIA), or swamp fever, is a virus that is also carried by flies and mosquitoes. Signs of EIA are fever, depression, weight loss, pounding heartbeat, and exhaustion. Most horses will die in a few days with the acute forms of this disease. There is no specific treatment for EIA. Controlling flies and mosquitoes are preventative measures. What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? F. Founder, or fever in the feet, affects the tissues connecting the hoof wall to the foot. Founder is caused by consumption of extreme amounts of grains, running on hard ground, infections, lack of exercise, and drinking cold water after exercise. Pain in the feet and a reluctance to move are signs of founder. There are treatment measures for acute types; however, severe founder cannot be cured. What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? G. Tetanus, or lockjaw, occurs when bacteria is present and comes in contact with an open wound. The tetanus organism produces a toxin that causes muscle contractions and stiffness about the head. Vaccination for tetanus should be administered once a year. How is proper tooth care practiced and how is age determined by examining the teeth? Horse teeth need to be kept healthy. Teeth can be worn down unevenly since a horse’s upper jaw is wider than its lower jaw. Teeth can also become sharp. A. Floating of teeth is a common practice to reduce the discomfort of sharp edges. To float teeth, a file is used to smooth out the sharper edges of the teeth. A trained individual should carry out this practice. How is proper tooth care practiced and how is age determined by examining the teeth? B. Age can be determined by observation of a horse’s teeth. 1. A young horse will display baby teeth (temporary) that are later replaced by permanent teeth. 2. A mature male has 40 teeth. A young horse’s teeth are oval in shape. A mature mare has 36 teeth. 3. When a horse becomes older, the degree of the teeth changes due to wear and use. Teeth slant forward and change shape. Once a horse reaches 12 years of age, the shape of the teeth becomes triangular. What are the parts and proper care of a hoof? What does a farrier do? It is very important to care for the hooves of horses. The movement of the animal will determine its worth. Hooves should be kept clean and protected from hard surfaces. Maintenance of length and proper shape are also important. Hoof care includes the use of a hoof pick and farrier. A. A farrier is a person who trims the hooves and puts on shoes for the horses. A farrier will trim the sole if necessary and apply new shoes. What are the parts and proper care of a hoof? What does a farrier do? B. Daily care of hooves will reduce any problems that could occur. The hoof pick is a small, handheld tool used to clean around the frog. The frog is the V-shaped pad in the middle of the sole of the hoof. It is important to know the basic parts of a hoof. The hoof is broken up into three areas: heel, quarter, and toe. The other important parts are the wall, white line, sole, and bar. It is important to prevent hooves from drying out. Moisture around the water tank will help keep hooves wet. How do you select a superior horse? There are several uses for horses, including shows, races, working, pleasure riding, and breeding. It is important to remember that no horse can be used for all of these. Age, sex, breed, color, conformation, markings, and previous training are some of the major things to consider. You may also want to consider your own intentions and facilities and how much you want to invest. Once you decide what kind of horse is best, you can purchase one from a breeder, private owner, dealer, or at an auction. How do you select a superior horse? A. The age of a horse is important to consider because inexperienced riders may have problems with young animals that require training. It is not safe to buy a horse that the rider can’t handle. Horses up to 12 years old are considered to be in the prime of life. B. The sex of the animal should be considered because stallions are often harder to control and may not be suited for inexperienced owners. Your intended use of the animal is the most important consideration. Disposition varies from horse to horse, but geldings tend to be docile and mares are usually less gentle. How do you select a superior horse? C. When determining what breed of horse to purchase, research different breeds to determine which is best suited to your intentions. D. Horses are described with five basic colors: bay, white, chestnut, black, and brown. You may also consider whether to buy a registered or unregistered horse. It may be initially cheaper to buy an unregistered horse, but the resale of a registered animal is usually greater. There are also five variations in horse colors: dun, gray, roan, pinto, and palomino. E. Conformation of the health of the feet and legs is important because the feet and legs influence the way a horse moves and how long it will be useful. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? Horsemanship is the riding and managing of horses. Mounting and dismounting, seat position, horse control, and movement are the common practices in horsemanship. A. Mounting and dismounting techniques begin with the approach to the horse. The approach, mount, and dismount should all take place on the left side. Approach the horse and set your body square with the saddle, place the left foot in the stirrup, and swing the right leg over the back. Sit down easily and be alert. Dismounting techniques require holding onto the saddle horn and balancing with your left hand on the horse’s neck. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? B. Seat position is important. You should be comfortable and in control. Posture is important. Your back should be erect, shoulders back, and arms close to your body. C. Horse control is maintained through proper use of hands, legs, voice, and weight. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? 1. Hands control the reins. Reins should have a little slack to relieve pressure on the bit. There are different techniques to holding the reins for Western and English style. It is important to keep hands, wrists, and fingers relaxed while working the horse. 2. Your legs control the hindquarters of the horse. Through proper training, the horse learns the squeeze given by the handler’s legs. This squeeze will control the forward movement of the horse. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? 3. Voice is another important component of horse control. Through proper training, the horse learns simple demands of “back” and “whoa.” The tone of your voice and the words used are important and should be consistent. 4. Finally, the shifting of your weight will send different signals to the horse. Turns, speed, and movement of the horse can be altered by the shifting of weight. Moving weight from one stirrup to another can indicate a turn. It is important to maintain rhythm of weight while riding. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? D. Movement is determined by the use of your hands, legs, voice, and weight. Walk, jog, lope, gallop, backing, and stopping are the common movements a horse is trained for. E. Riding is a good form of exercise that is very enjoyable. By understanding the behavior of horses and providing proper training to the horse and rider, riding will be safe and fun. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? 1. Don’t startle or scare a horse, and always approach a horse from the front left side. 2. Remember that you always should keep your horse under control but should discipline the animal in a humane fashion. 3. Your horse always needs to know your intentions so that it knows what it is supposed to do. 4. Never tease an animal, and always be calm and gentle with it. Always wear clothing that will protect you in case the horse does become frightened and reacts. What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques? 5. Walk beside the horse when leading it, mount the horse from the left side, and take extra care when strangers are near. 6. When new horses are introduced, take precautions so they do not fight. 7. Slow down when riding in areas that could injure the horse. If the conditions are excessively rough, get off the horse and walk it. 8. Spend enough time training and exercising the horse so you know your horse’s temperament and so the horse will be in good shape. Review What reproductive management practices are used in equine production? What are the nutritional requirements of equine? What common diseases affect equine and what are the appropriate prevention and treatment methods? Review How is proper tooth care practiced and how is age determined by examining the teeth? What are the parts and proper care of a hoof? What does a farrier do? How do you select a superior horse? Review What are basic horsemanship, training, and riding techniques?