Re: Variations in ESC and Iron within a load and between analyses, was Hay Analysis

Kirsten Rasmussen

It probably is a horse-keeping topic and it's my fault for posting here initially.  I just want to emphasize that it's the difference within the same sample bag that concerns me.  I was not expecting it to match the multi-bale sample I submitted last year because this time I deliberately sampled 1 section (flake) of 1 bale, just so I could see the difference that soaking made.  My hay is chopped and compressed so it's not as chopped up as a hay core sample, but it's easy to grab a few handfuls since the stems are mostly < 6" long.

So a small split was taken from the sample bag and analyzed, then another small split from the same sample bag was taken and analyzed.  I'd have to call the lab to ask but I expected that the hay sample we submit is finely ground and thoroughly mixed before the split is taken.  Then the results should be close to identical, or within whatever error there is on that particular analysis (I'd also like to know what the error is on their analyses).  If the sample is not finely ground and mixed before a split is taken, the results could vary a lot, so if you are sending in separate grab samples from a bucket holding hay cores I would expect a lot of variation because you can't homogenized a bucket of large particles.  But if you send in a single sample, and the lab homogenizes the sample, the results should be reproducible.

I'll call the lab and see if they can explain the variation.  I really don't know how organic samples are prepped for analysis, my experience is only with rock samples.

Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
Shaku's Case History  
Shaku's Photo Album   

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ECIR Group Policy

Monday, 2 November 2020


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We take the importance of accurate information very seriously. The information in our posts and case histories is of tremendous value to all our members and is also used for formal studies. It is extremely important that it be factual. To protect the integrity and veracity of the group's data, a member may be asked at times to produce documentation, such as a copy of a report. These requests will be rare. Most of you will never receive one. 


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Re: Heavier Coat Than Usual, Chasteberry Extract and Prascend

Nancy & Vinnie & Summer

I suppose I forgot to add that Dr K. Mineral balanced for us this year in May and helped me get in some fabulous uckele supplements.

Prior to that I was using a KPP balancer called micro-phase. 

I have always given salt, flax, vite e spirulina, chondriotin, and HA.  But just dialed out everything that had iron. 

Thx Nancy 
Nancy and Vinnie and Summer
Oakley, Ca
Joined Nov 2018


Re: WAS: dapples, ppid, etc. NOW: Why we balance - the benefits

Bobbie Day

Absolutely agree! I can’t tell you how many times I have shared that one.

Bobbie and Desi
NRC March 2020
Utah, Nov 2018

Variations in ESC and Iron within a load and between analyses, was Hay Analysis


If this is OT, I'll move it to ECIR Horsekeeping.

Kirsten, I don't find your results unusual and don't suspect the testing is unreliable. There will be variations in test results that do NOT indicate any error by the testing lab. Sources of those variations (and there are probably more) include: 1. Variations within the load of hay that are completely normal. Sampling "error" means the analysis for a single bale of hay and the analysis for a whole load of hay should not be expected to be identical. 2. Certain lab tests that are more likely to produce variations in results. 3. Variations in the water solubility of minerals that may actually be on the hay instead of in the hay. 

In Kirsten's examples, she is examining two wet chemistry tests that, in my experience, are more likely to show variations in results within a hay load: ESC and Fe. Each of us can confirm this for ourselves by using a coring tool, sampling 20 bales, and sending in two, three or more samples from the same large bucket of cored hay. But you don't have to. Take it from those who have. I see variations every time and expect them. Some of you lucky enough to have very consistent high quality hay may not see variations quite as large. In Northern California, hay is grown where no other crop would be more profitable in soils that are variable and somewhat marginal. 

With high iron results, a common factor is dirt on the surface of the hay. Shaking the hay before soaking, a rinse before soaking, and a rinse after soaking may help. If you start with hay with high iron, the increases from soaking can  be disappointing. Kirsten actually got good reductions in iron!

If you start with hay that doesn't have robust amounts of Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium, the reductions from soaking can exaggerate deficiencies. Potassium is reliably reduced by soaking. For my time and water resources, the shortest soaking time to reach the desired goal (such as reduced ESC, reduced nitrates or reduced iron) is always better.

I put up an example of a dry vs soaked sample with a nice reduction in ESC from 8.4% to 5.3% as dry matter. But other variance in results, like sodium and nitrates, are good examples of #1 source of variation, . 
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos                Diamond Photos 

How to treat Anhidrosis

Vicky Canuso

Vicky E, Canuso

member - 2017

Location - New York/Florida

Re: Help! My mare keeps getting cast in her run in!

Jennifer Murphy

In a pinch I've gone to Lowe's or Home Depot and picked up a couple panels of the cheapest stockade fence they have and attached it to the pipe panels with u shaped clamps, or I've zip tied heavy gauge woven wire fencing to the panels.  Having a cast equine is the worst.  I use pipe type panel gates inside my barn, but I've switched to the wire filled versions because I'm so worried about the boys getting a leg through them by accident.  They're expensive, but the peace of mind is worth it.

Jennifer in NH

CH -

Photo album -,,,20,1,0,0

hay testing 603

LJ Friedman

the facility I’ve been in since April will be getting new hay  in a few weeks and get a years worth. So of course, I will test that Hay. and make my new custom mix based on those 603 results.  hoping the uckele team can balance for me.
LJ Friedman  Nov 2014 Vista,   Northern  San Diego, CA

Jesse and majestic ‘s Case History 
Jesse's Photos


Re: Help! My mare keeps getting cast in her run in!

Sherry Morse

Hi Kathi,

Is your mare IR or PPID?  If she is IR and has laminitis relating to her diet putting her out where there's grass could be a real setback for her.  Can you block the corral panels with pieces of wood so she isn't able to put her legs through them?

Re: Bodie pastern sinking abnormally?

Sherry Morse

Hi Lynn,

If Bodie has been out of work for a length of time he needs to be brought back in to condition to riding which means starting at a walk for about 30 minutes a day for a period of time, then adding time in until you're walking for an hour and then adding trotting in for brief intervals and eventually adding cantering in.  It takes about 8 - 12 weeks to bring a horse that's had a lengthy layoff back into condition and for an older horse it can take longer (and they may never be as fit as they were when they were younger).

Since Bodie was being handwalked for 15 minutes 1x a week when you last updated your CH in September I would expect at this point he'd be just about up to an hour and a half of a mix of walk/trot and canter and ready to do more - if he was being worked 4-6x a week between September and now. 

Videos can be put on YouTube and then you can share the link with us.

Help! My mare keeps getting cast in her run in!


My mare is recovering from founder so I have her in a 16 ft by 24 ft enclosed run in. The back half is enclosed with corral panels. The first time it happened was last Thursday evening and I found her Friday morning. She managed to push herself away enough to get up. It happened again overnight last night and of course she was still down when I got there this morning. This time she was more panicked but somehow got herself up after some scary attempts. She got a nasty abrasion on one knee and it’s a little puffy. I am terrified to keep her in there tonight! I am going to let her out with the others in a small field behind the run ins. Not much grass in there but there is some. I just don’t know what else to do! Has anyone experienced this?
Kathi Duvall in MD 2019

Re: WAS: dapples, ppid, etc. NOW: Why we balance - the benefits

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

The 2005 message is just as relevant today as it was then.
Eleanor in PA 
EC Owner 2001

Re: Surpass vs Voltaren

LJ Friedman

I did call the manufacture. They do repeat that the equine product has a different vehicle to enhance more absorption. Not thinking it’s worth the difference though
LJ Friedman  Nov 2014 Vista,   Northern  San Diego, CA

Jesse and majestic ‘s Case History 
Jesse's Photos


Re: New to soaking hay - questions

Kirsten Rasmussen

It's reasonable to assume that subtracting ESC from WSC gives you an approximation of fructan content.  Testing before and after soaking of the SAME samples should give you an idea of how much ESC and if you like a little math also how much fructans soaked out.  We are not worried about fructan content in hays though, it's unlikely to ever be high enough to cause problems.

I wanted to see the effect of soaking on my hay and just got results back for 2 analyses each of 2 samples from the same part of the same bale: on sample unsoaked and 1 soaked and dried.  There is quite a bit of variation within the 2 analyses for the unsoaked hay, and within the 2 analyses for the soaked hay.  Not sure what to make of this variation yet.

Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
Shaku's Case History  
Shaku's Photo Album   

Re: Surpass vs Voltaren

Joy V

Ah, I misread, I missed "carrier product".  Sorry!  Ignore me.

Joy and Willie (PPID/IR)
Nevada County, CA - 2019

Case history:
Willie's photo album:

Re: Surpass vs Voltaren

Joy V

I'm pretty sure the active ingredient on both of those products is the same one; diclofenac.  Not sure how it would be better absorbed because it is in a differently named product?

Joy and Willie (PPID/IR)
Nevada County, CA - 2019

Case history:
Willie's photo album:

Re: winter hay soaking


Trisha, if the buckets are like small heated muck buckets, I tried them and found them too small for my needs.  I am going through much of what you are now.  I’m used to soaking hay for two little guys but, depending on how my testing comes back, I may need to soak for a large horse as well.  

I have a drain to carry the soaking water away from the barn, just need to get the water from the tub to the drain.  I’ve put spigots into the side of the muck buckets I’m now using to soak but the fittings apparently weren’t suitable for round tubs and cracked the muck bucket.  I have ordered spigots designed for round tubs such as rain barrels for the next set.  I also installed a small hoist (as per Cass) to aid in the draining.  Still have some other ideas cooking which include a 75 gallon Rubbermaid tub and a pump which has apparently already clogged.  

It was 14 deg F here Friday night which is cold enough that I wish I’d figured this out already.

Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
July 2012 
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)

Martha and Logo


Re: Laminitis and hoof abscesses

Kirsten Rasmussen

It is OK to feed soaked hay to your other horse, but it does mean soaking more volume, which will be more work for you.  Soaking hay reduces the caloric content a bit (as expected given that some sugars are soaked out) and if your other horse is a hard keeper they may need a little extra caloric supplementation once a day, like a bucket of beet pulp or some pre-fab horse feed.  If your other horse is a bit heavy and also a breed prone to EMS then he/she will benefit from the soaked hay, too.

I keep my EMS horse on a parallel track next to his buddy, but because their diets are different they are always separated (unless it's play time and there is no food out).  My EMS guy would not be able to stop eating hay if his buddy is having a rest from eating, so there's no way his caloric intake could be controlled without keeping them separated.  Plus I don't want to have to soak hay for 2 horses if I don't have to.

Whether or not a horse does well with added Mg depends on whether or not they need it.  Gotta test the hay to be sure!  :)

Lack of energy from the round bale could be due to hay quality, or it could be due to elevated insulin....ask anyone you know with metabolic syndrome or unmedicated diabetes if they feel lethargic, I bet the answer is often yes.  Glucose is struggling to get into the cells and if blood glucose is high, too, then they just aren't metabolizing it for energy. 

Your rads from August are probably still adequate given that the trim hasn't changed dramatically.  New ones are always so nice to have of course, but oh so expensive and IMO not a priority right now if funds are limited.  Minerals balanced to hay, new insulin-glucose bloodwork now that she's eating soaked hay (+/- Lyme multiplex if you or your vet feels it necessary), and figuring out how keep Echo off all grass/weeds (and even how to to separate your 2 horses if they have feeding different needs) would be how I'd spend my money and time before new xrays.  Just my opinion though.

Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
Shaku's Case History  
Shaku's Photo Album   

Re: what have you found to be the best therapeutic boots to wear? the new Cloud's insert now appears to slant forward. my old pair did not.

Rose Miller <Rosemiller@...>

thank you, that makes sense.
Rose Miller in Arizona 2020

WAS: dapples, ppid, etc. NOW: Why we balance - the benefits

Nancy C

Hi Lj and all

This might be a good time to revisit this very instructive 2005 message from Dr Kellon

It has always been helpful for folks struggling with the learning curve.


I was searching for something for another member recently and came across a 2005 message from Dr. Kellon regarding nutritional concepts used here.

At the time the message was originally posted I was like a lot of you.  I had moved from the emergency diet and had been having Beau's diet balanced by Dr Kellon. With no nutrition or science background, I didn't really understand most of what we were doing. But I knew I was seeing progress. Terrific progress in fact. This message filled in a bunch of learning gaps for me and got me really wanting to understand in more detail.

Most of you know that the list guidelines for nutrition balance are based on NRC
Nutrient Requirements of Horses.


There will be more of these concepts in the messages that follow and Dr Kellon goes into them in great detail in her NRCPlus course.


For new members, for those members who have begun making changes but aren't really sure why, and for longer term members who are having a hard time with the group guidelines, these messages are great ones to glimpse into the power of understanding what truly balanced nutrition can mean for all horses. It's especially important for our compromised horses however those who have taken the diet balance to their whole herd will tell you it does wonders for all their equine friends.

Message #64928 of 148602
Sat Jul 9, 2005 9:08 am

Just to pound this home again briefly, because it can't be done
often enough, the key to the best control possible is:

D - Diagnosis
D - Diet
T - Trim

If the horse has/had laminitis, you can have the best metabolic
control in the world and he'll still be lame if the trim is not
correct. If the horse has Cushing's, diet alone won't be able to
control insulin resistance. This is why accurate diagnosis is so
important. There are also some horses that have Cushing's and
develop laminitis even without detectable insulin resistance.

Moving on to diet, this is the one thing that is completely within
your power to control, but it takes some work and commitment.
Limiting the soluble carbohydrate portion of the diet (sugar and
starches) greatly alleviates the strain on glucose metabolism, and
with it the risk of laminitis. It works, and it works fast. We've
even had horses here with lingering foot pain that improved
literally overnight just by starting to soak their hay (a trick one
of our long time members, Barb Peck, gave us!).

Most people see obvious results shortly after starting the emergency
diet, to the point they hang there for months and months. The
emergency diet is *not* mineral balanced though and there is more
you can do on the mineral end to improve the insulin resistance.

I'm going to post a series of studies over the next few days that
will show you how minerals and vitamins impact insulin resistance.
Before doing that though there is a very, very important concept to

Deficiencies can come about in basically two ways. One is that the
mineral (or vitamin) simply is not present in the diet in adequate
amounts. If you need 20 grams of something and the diet only has 10,
the horse will be deficient because he can't manufacture it out of
thin air. This is called an "absolute deficiency". The other way
deficiencies come into existence is if there are high levels of one
or more minerals that compete with the one in question for
absorption. These are called "relative deficiencies". In that case,
even if you have your 20 grams of mineral X in the diet, the horse
often won't be absorbing enough. Picture balls in a lottery drawing
machine. If you have 9 black balls and only 1 white one, all
bouncing around at random coming close to that chute, it's not too
hard to guess what color ball has the best odds of being drawn. In
the intestine, there are also some mechanisms for active (not by
chance) absorption of minerals by attaching them to "carriers" that
take them directly inside the cells and move them out again into
capillaries. These carrier systems aren't necessarily specific for
one mineral - may work for others that are similar. They can be
either turned on or turned off, depending on the level of the
minerals inside the body. This can end up making overall
deficiencies even worse both by inadvertently absorbing more of a
mineral that is already in excess, or by shutting down the acftive
carrier systems when levels of a mineral in the body get too high or
even are adequate. The active absorption pathway for any other
minerals in short supply using the same carrier is then shut down

What this all means is simply that you can't just throw minerals at
the horse at random. The key to successful use of mineral
supplements is BALANCE. It's extremely rare to find a hay that is
in good balance. Unfortunately, and perhaps not coincidentally, the
minerals most critical to proper insulin functioning and control of
inflammation are usually the ones in shortest supply, while
potentially toxic ones, like iron, are present in high amounts. What
balancing the minerals does is in essence change the profile of
those balls in the lottery machine to give all the minerals an equal
shot at absorption.

(NOTE: Also check out "Why We Balance Forage" in FILES folder 6 Diet Balancing. 1. Diet Balancing - KFGs View From the Soapbox.pdf   ~ Nancy C)

The recommendations in the emergency diet are based on some of the
most commonly encountered scenarios but that does not mean they'll
be a good fit for any individual's hay, and they're definitely not

Controlling Cushing's and insulin resistance is tough. If there was
an easy answer, a quick fix, we wouldn't have over 3000 members here.

DDT is the single most important concept to learn. Keeping this "big
picture" in mind at all times will help prevent you from focusing on
just one aspect and overlooking important things elsewhere. On the
diet end, it's about both limiting starch/sugar AND mineral
balancing. Halfway measures get halfway results.



To bring this up to November 2020 - We now have 12,586 international members.

If you continue to move forward, taking a bite at a time, pretty soon you'll be amazed at where you are.

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
ECIR Group Inc. President/Treasurer  2019-2020
Join us at the 2021 NO Laminitis! Conference, August 12-15, Harrisburg, PA

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