Too Much of a Good Thing
 By Saferaphus   •   5th Oct 2017   •   310 views   •   0 comments

We generally think of minerals in any diet as a good thing. But it is possible for horses to get too much of a certain mineral. The most common culprits include fluoride, lead, and iron. If caught in time, most symptoms of poisoning from excess minerals are reversible. However, if the problem is not diagnosed, it can be deadly. Often, treating the problem of too much of a certain mineral isnít cutting back on that mineral in the horseís diet, itís balancing it with other minerals. And, itís wise to know whatís in the feed youíre already giving your horse, before adding mineral supplements, so you donít throw things out of balance.

When weíre not sure our horses are getting enough energy and nutrition from hay or grass, we often supplement their diet with grain. But, it is possible to feed too much grain. Obesity is an obvious problem that comes with eating too much grain. Other problems can occur too. Horses that eat a diet high in grains but relatively low in hay or grass may be more prone to colic and ulcers. Their teeth may need extra attention because not chewing on grass or hay means they donít get worn down by the silica in those feeds. And, horses who donít get a lot of grazing, but get fed grain instead may become bored and more prone to bad habits like fence chewing, stall walking and weaving.

Like minerals, itís possible for a horse to get too much of a specific vitamin. Itís almost impossible for a horse to get too many vitamins from a normal diet. It is possible to over supplement them, however. Excessive Vitamin B might happen because a horse is being given energy building injections. Or an owner might not give the right amount of supplements. So thatís why you should have your hay tested, and know what vitamins your horse is already getting so you donít give the more than they need.

Can a horse eat too much grass? Yes, even though grass is the most natural diet for a horse, itís possible for them to eat too much. This can lead to obesity, laminitis, and colic. Some horses will eat far more than they need. A sudden change from dry hay to grass, can cause laminitis.

Horses need lots of clean water. The average horse drinks about ten gallons a day. Theyíll drink less in cool temperatures and when they have good pasture. They may drink more when the temperatures are hot, or they are eating only hay. Usually, too little water is a problem with horses and they can become dehydrated. Dehydration can be dangerous in high temperature, during hard work or if they simply arenít being given enough.

But, very occasionally, a horse may drink too much water. This is less common than drinking too little, but it does happen. One cause is similar to the habits of cribbing and weaving. Itís called psychogenic polydipsia. Itís most common in horses confined in their stall although it could be triggered by eating too much salt. Once started, itís a hard habit to break. The best option is lots of turn out so the horse can get exercise and graze.

There are a few health problems that can cause excessive water drinking. Cushing's disease, glandular disorders, and renal failure may cause the horse to drink, and subsequently urinate large amounts.

Itís possible to feed too many treats to a horse. This can lead to obesity. And, always expecting to get a treat every time it sees you can make a horse pushy, and that can get dangerous for you. Feed treats sparingly, if at all.
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