Diet of wild horses ?


Ute <ute@...>
 

Does anyone here know whether or not there have ever been any studies
done as to what exactly wild horse actually eat in various locations ,
including for example semi wild pony/horse herds, like in Great
Britain, the Camargue, etc.? I am hoping that eventually some of this
could be recreated in domestic settings/pastures to prevent most of the
IR problems in the first place.

I'd very much appreciate any links to actual studies you could provide.
Thank you!


John Stewart
 

Subject: [EquineCushings] Diet of wild horses ?

Katy Watts gave a presentation at the Laminitis Conference in Florida in November "What do feral horses eat?" I haven't checked her website to see if it is on there. The notes we received were very brief, the "proceedings" having been lost in the post.

John


Ute <ute@...>
 

Yes, thank you _ I have been to her website, but have not been able to
locate anything specific in this regard. I also sent her an e-mail with
the same question :-)

I know for example that British ponies have been observed eating gorse,
a relative of the scotch broom, but that's all I know besides observing
my own horse in his pasture eatig firs, the dropped flower stalks of
the OR Big Leaf Maple trees, a trillium flower and he nibbled on some
odd ornamental thistle that started growing in his pasture last year. :-
)

Ute


Carlynne Allbee
 

While one would be tempted to say that wild horses eat naturally and therefore may eat more healthy than our domesticated ones....How old to they get? Look at how many people on this list have equines over 20, 25 and even over 30 years old? Would they have lived that long foraging in the wild?

Carlynne Allbee and Patience


---------------------------------
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Ute <ute@...>
 

--- In EquineCushings@..., Carlynne Allbee
<samwisebaggins@...> wrote:

While one would be tempted to say that wild horses eat naturally and
therefore may eat more healthy than our domesticated ones....How old to
they get? Look at how many people on this list have equines over 20,
25 and even over 30 years old? Would they have lived that long
foraging in the wild?

Carlynne Allbee and Patience


---------------------------------
Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Well I have heard of wild horses un their mid twenties and in addition
I also think that the quality of life is more important to any critter
than the quantity. My point is that if our domestic horses eat and
exercise more like wild horses we would probably hardly see any
laminitis and founder cases at all and the ones we would see would
probably be mostly Cushings related. This assume that we would also
supplement in domestic settings as needed to provide optimum health to
our horses.

In my opinion prevention is always prferrable over crisis management.:-)

Ute


Joan and Dazzle
 

Maybe the reason that we don't see very many wild horses with
laminitis is because when they get it, they get eaten....

Just a thought.

Joan and Dazzle


Well I have heard of wild horses un their mid twenties and in
addition
I also think that the quality of life is more important to any
critter
than the quantity.


Ute <ute@...>
 

Most predators are far and in between anymore in the Western US. If
predation was a big factor I believe we would not have to worry about
the high numbers of wild horses that prompts regular round-ups to
reduce the number of feral horses and I think we would also probably
see a higher percentage of laminitic wild/feral horses as they get
caught, or at least see some evidence in their hooves.

If wild /feral horses also had more laminitis/founder issues, I think
that would also naturally reduce their number more.

I believe that the life span in feral horses is primarily affected by
how many babies a mare has had for example, how long their teeth last
for chewing and any traumatic injuries that may occur.

Also, Pete Ramey mentions in his DVDs that wild horses are not known
to founder. In addition, there's a documented story of a stallion who
had a break in one of his front legs. He actually healed completely
and had to be caught to get the hoof trimmed on the leg that was
broken beore, since he had not used it normally. Yet Barbaro
foundered with all the medical support he could possibly get.

Ute



--- In EquineCushings@..., "Joan and Dazzle"
<horsies4luv@...> wrote:

Maybe the reason that we don't see very many wild horses with
laminitis is because when they get it, they get eaten....

Just a thought.

Joan and Dazzle


Well I have heard of wild horses un their mid twenties and in
addition
I also think that the quality of life is more important to any
critter
than the quantity.


cjspackman
 

I grew up in England in the Dartmoor national park my first pony was
born wild and an orphan (bottle raised). I went on to buy a weanling
off the park in High School and currently know another wild raised
Dartmoor pony who was moved inland to improved grazing as a 2 year
old. What I can say from watching these ponies relatives in the wild
for many years is that the quality of their grazing is VERY poor.
They eat constantly and are never "fat" even on spring grass. The 2
year old pony is obese but has not foundered yet much to my surprise.

There was a story in Horse & Hound a british magazine about a Welsh
Mountain Pony who grew up in the hills who was put in a show home. He
suffered very badly with obesity and even when practically starved did
not loose weight. His vet suggested sending him back to the hills
which was done and the pony lost weight. 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.

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. I later sold him and he did founder due to
several confounding factors, barn owner feeding him more than owner
wanted, owner on vacation horse not being worked, trimmed too short
and trotted on hard ground resulting in abscesses. However he
recovered fully and went on to compete in eventing jumping upwards of
3 ft 6in.

Here are some links that discuss what wild horses have been found to eat;

http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/lakeview/plans/files/PokegamaHMAP.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/view/00384909/ap060110/06a00160/0

Plus a comparison between light horse breeds and feral horses hindgut
micorbial populations;
http://www.springerlink.com/content/u405ulv6230566x2/

Clair


Sue <smhans950@...>
 

I was told buffalo grass is lower in protein than regular grasses.

Sue in
Indiana


Ute <ute@...>
 

Thank you very much Claire!!

Here are some links that discuss what wild horses have been found to
eat;

http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/lakeview/plans/files/PokegamaHMAP.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/view/00384909/ap060110/06a00160/0

Plus a comparison between light horse breeds and feral horses hindgut
micorbial populations;
http://www.springerlink.com/content/u405ulv6230566x2/

Clair


Barb Peck <egroups1bp@...>
 

Your post drives home the fact (which we are aware of on this list)
that horses evolved to extract nutrition out of fairly poor fodder..
and that fed like cows- and kept confined- isn't the best thing for
them.

The latter part of your post ( hindgut microbial populations ) has
been of great interest to me lately- because after 40 years with
horses- I have my first (real) pony - even though he's 15:2
(Connemara).

He's never had sweet feed ( his pic is in the files at 3 YO ) in his
life. He's 6 now - and when he hit 5 YO he started to gain weight
(calaories wern't going into growing anymore) and his G;I ratio was a
warning I already was heeding.

I have been able to keep him pastured in summer (he's a very high
energy horse - Ooops pony) and he get's plenty of exercise. during
summer I have him on Uckele's EQ and he gets low sugar hay in winter
and a mic os TC lite and Blue Seal Carb Guard. He's happy.

His poop looks and smells different in summer. (I don't mean the
normal changes between hay and grass- this is something different I
can't put my finger on) I haven't decided if thats a good or bad
thing yet- but I don't know what it should be different. I think it
has to do with the flora...

So. Thanks for that link.

Barb

--- In EquineCushings@..., "cjspackman" <c.thunes@...>
wrote IN PART:
Plus a comparison between light horse breeds and feral horses hindgut
micorbial populations;
http://www.springerlink.com/content/u405ulv6230566x2/

Clair


aptly_asked <aptly_asked@...>
 

Ute,

You can't even begin to compare a feral / wild horse with that of a Thoroughbred - doing so isn't the wisest thing in the world. There are plenty of mechanical differences as well as physiological ones. It's like comparing a miniature horse to a shire.

Paul.

Ute wrote:

Also, Pete Ramey mentions in his DVDs that wild horses are not known to founder. In addition, there's a documented story of a stallion who had a break in one of his front legs. He actually healed completely and had to be caught to get the hoof trimmed on the leg that was broken beore, since he had not used it normally. Yet Barbaro foundered with all the medical support he could possibly get.
Ute


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


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

Ute wrote:
Also, Pete Ramey mentions in his DVDs that wild horses are not
known
to founder.
Like all forms of life, horses are a product of the niche in which they
developed. Those prone to laminitis within their ecological system
would be quickly weeded out of the gene pool by natural selection.
Those that survive within the system will have a metabolism, hoof form,
size, etc. that is most advantageous to their survival within that
environment. However, those conditions would be most suitable only to
those horses. A Shetland pony under the same conditions might fatten
and founder, while a Thoroughbred might starve. There is a world of
difference between breeds, in particular between those that remain true
to their ancestry and those that have been selective bred by man for
many generations. Even within general types there is a wide variation -
Hackney ponies versus the Shetland for example.

In addition, there's a documented story of a stallion who
had a break in one of his front legs. He actually healed completely
and had to be caught to get the hoof trimmed on the leg that was
broken beore, since he had not used it normally. Yet Barbaro
foundered with all the medical support he could possibly get.
Barbaro's fracture completely shattered the bones of his fetlock joint.
There is no way on earth any horse in the wild would survive an injury
of that magnitude. Barbaro's laminitis was likely both mechanical and
metabolic. Maybe in the future we will be able to prevent that
complication - and maybe not. The mechanical factors alone are a major
hurdle.

Eleanor