Horses

Forums
What Desperate Horses Eat
 By Saferaphus   •   29th Dec 2016   •   344 views   •   0 comments
BC SPCA VernonPhoto Credit: BC SPCA Vernon

A man near Vernon, BC, Canada is facing charges after some of the 110 horses he cared for were found in an emaciated condition. The seventy-year-old claims he did not neglect his horses, although three horses of sixteen horses in dire condition died. The horses had been put to pasture for several months and when the man checked them in late fall, he found they had lost weight. Ice apparently prevented him from putting out round bales, so he tried to feed small squares by transporting them with an ATV. In court, the man claimed he was trying to take care of those that needed extra assistance, and continually denied that he had neglected them. Obviously, if the new story is accurate, itís easy to find lots of holes in his story that indicate that either through unintentional, or perhaps intentional neglect, the horses were not getting the care they needed and this man didnít have the resources or knowledge necessary to look after that many horses.

Related: Canadian Faces Charges After 110 Horses Found Neglected
Related: What Happens When A Horse Starves

One SPCA representative mentioned that she saw the horses eating wood. That, she said, was something she hadnít seen before. Wood eating, however, is very common, and it may as weíve explored before, not necessarily be a sign of hunger. In this case, itís likely it was. And, it could have contributed to, rather than alleviated the dire condition of horses that it. But, horses will eat almost anything in sight if they are hungry enough.

After grass, weeds are the next choice of the hungry horse. Many weeds are fine to eat, some in moderate doses may even be beneficial. Dandelion, for example, is high in some vitamins and minerals and are just fine for horses to eat. Thistles and nettles donít look very toothsome to us, but nettles, in particular, are very nutritious and donít seem to sting a horse the way they can irritate us. But, there are many weeds that a hungry horse may eat that arenít good for them.

There are weeds that are a problem if a horse eats too much of them. Buttercups, St.Johnís Wort, Pokeweed and Bracken Fern are among the wild growing plants that can harm a horse, starving or not. Some like Jimson Weed, Mustard, and Russian Knapweed are downright deadly.

While a mouthful wood shavings from your horseís stall isnít likely to cause a huge problem, wood splinters from branches, fence or barn boards might. Wood isnít very digestible either. Itís hard for a horse to extract enough nutrition from any type of wood, so a starving horse might be fulfilling an urge to eat, but what itís eating isnít providing what it needs to be healthy. Impaction colic and choke are other problems that can occur when a horse eats a lot of woody material.

There are also trees and woody shrubs that are toxic to a horse. Red maple and oak, Black Walnut, Privet, Japanese Yew and Horse Chestnut are just a few that are bad news for a horse, starving or not.

An empty belly and an instinct to graze may compel a horse to eat non-plant material too. In an apparently healthy horse, this is called pica. But a hungry horse will sample whatever it can get its teeth into out of desperation. Dirt and manure are often sampled by horses. Any fiber, such as old feed bags or fabric could be fair game too. Horses will even eat meat if they have to. They are really not natural hunters by nature, but people have seen horses eat small birds and other animals.

Horses that are very hungry may also consume water to try to feel satiated. If the weather is cold, drinking cold water, or eating snow can lower their body temperature, which makes it even hard for them to stay healthy.

So, if these horses were hungry survival would be the name of the game. Perhaps if it werenít for the bark from the trees, more horse would have been even worse off than they were. Just because pastures look green doesnít mean thereís something there for horses to eat. And, you just canít turn horses out without checking, preferably daily, that all is okay.
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
 More News by Saferaphus
Bad Horse Bedding and Floor Choices
23rd May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
There are a few things you donít want under your horse when itís standing in its stall. If youíre using wood shavings, you will want to be sure that the mix of wood doesnít include some types of trees. Black walnut shavings contai ...
The Horse Funnies
20th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
I donít often buy a weekend paper anymore. But when I do, the first section I flip to are the funnies. I love the Peanuts, Family Circus and Shermanís Lagoon. I also like GoComics on my tablet. Horse magazines donít have a pull ou ...
Organizing My Tackroom
19th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Getting your tack room organized and keeping it organized can be a challenge, especially if like many of us you have a lot of Ďstuffí and only a small space to stash it in. We can dream about the perfectly appointed tack room, fil ...
Talented Artistic Horses
17th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
An ex-racehorse named Metro has contributed to its own life-prolonging treatments by becoming a professional artist. After noticing the horse liked to nod its head, his owner decided to put the habit to use. He taught the horse to ...
How Horse Crazy Are You
13th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Are you horse crazy? How horse crazy: a little bit, or 100% obsessive? Some of like horses, while others canít imagine even thinking about anything but. Take this quiz and find out just how horse crazy you really are. ...
Types of Horse Tack Leather Explained
11th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
I was flipping through a mail order tack catalog and noticed the wide range of prices for bridles, saddles and other gear made from leather. Comparing prices, you can buy leather tack for little more than the cost of synthetic tac ...
Equine Harmful Genetic Mutations
9th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
Scientists have examined ancient horse DNA and discovered that horses were once much more genetically diverse than they are now. Domestication may have preserved horses from extinction, but the downside for the modern domestic hor ...
Benefits of Horseback Riding
8th May 2017   |   General   |   Saferaphus
I recently read a story from a local newspaper about a girl who, after losing both legs in a car accident, took up riding again. Her parents were uncomfortable with the idea and still frightened each time she gets on her horse. Bu ...
  View All News by Saferaphus
 
Active News Discussions
Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
6
comments
Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
What You Need to Know Before Giving Your Horse Away
2
comments
What You Need to Know Before Giving Your Horse Away
Horse Predator Attacks
2
comments
Horse Predator Attacks
The Problems with Kitty Cats
1
comments
The Problems with Kitty Cats
Slim Chance of Horse Twins Surviving
1
comments
Slim Chance of Horse Twins Surviving
Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
6
comments
Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
Horse Racing Not Just for Thoroughbreds
1
comments
Horse Racing Not Just for Thoroughbreds
April 20th 2013 Showjumping Competition With Bronze
3
comments
April 20th 2013 Showjumping Competition With Bronze
Unicorn Lair Discovered in North Korea
8
comments
Unicorn Lair Discovered in North Korea
Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
6
comments
Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
 
©2002 - 2017   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
278 Members Online 236,642 Registered Members 2,283 News Articles 9,064,509 Unique News Article Views 194,787,157 Website Views