Re: Diet of wild horses ?


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

My clone is on vacation so I'm a bit behind. If there's anything from
the weekend I should see please toss me a post number.

--- In EquineCushings@..., "cjspackman" <c.thunes@...>
wrote:
The 2
year old pony is obese but has not foundered yet much to my
surprise.

Although they do sometimes get laminitic that young, especially
ponies, it's an interesting observation that most genetically IR
horses don't start having laminitis problems until they have stopped
growing completely.

The vets thinking was that
this pony had learned to eat practically 24 hours a day because the
grazing was so poor and even on improved grazing and restricted hay
his metabolism did not adjust.
Insulin resistance and the ability to gain weight on very sparse
diets is a survival advantage to these hardy breeds. Same for their
small size. All horses spend most of their time eating if food is
available. With live vegetation being 75 to 80+% water, they have to.


Now I'm in the US I have owned a BLM mustang how came off the range
as
a 2 year old from the Lassen HMA. He was very over weight(vet
guessed
300-400 lbs although I thought that was an exaggeration) but to my
knowledge had always been sound. I had the hardest time getting
weight off him even feeding him 1.5% of ideal body weight it was as
if
his metabolism reduced.
It does. Their IR worsens if calorie intake is too low. I'm starting
to wonder too if gut fill has anything to do with this. There are
interactions between hormones from the intestinal tract and insulin.
The horse's digestive tract is designed to have a constant trickle
from the stomach and small bowel into the colon. It would be very
interesting to see the effects of feeding the same amount of
calories, with the same diet composition, divided into two large
feedings a day versus multiple small ones.

Eleanor

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