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stacked bales of hay

What Type Of Hay?

What Type Of Hay?

stacked bales of hay There are many different types of hay worldwide. Here in Australia, there are varieties that are more commonly grown than others. Hay is an excellent source of roughage for a horse’s digestive system. The act of eating from a haynet can also help relieve boredom while confined, in order to keep their digestive tract active.

Below we have listed the 5 most common types of hay available and a little bit about where they originate and their nutritive quality for your horse’s diet.

Lucerne

Lucerne is probably the most popular type of hay for most horses. It has a high protein content (10-15%), is quite leafy and soft and highly palatable for horses. Good lucerne hay is deep green in colour with mostly leaves and little stalk. Lucerne is a good, drought-resistant crop and provides many vitamins and minerals for horses where grazing is limited or poor quality. Shedded lucerne is also the hay of choice for horses susceptible to founder (laminitis) as it has one of the lowest sugar percentages while providing nutrition.

Grassy Lucerne

Grassy lucerne is a combination of lucerne hay and grass hay mixed together. Generally speaking, the percentage of lucerne in grassy lucerne is higher than the grass content. Around 70% as a minimum. It has a lower protein content than straight lucerne and can be quite stalky. Horses generally do not have a problem with this type of hay, excluding those prone to laminitis. This is because the sugar content in grass is considerably higher than lucerne and can trigger an insulin response in these horses.

Rhodes

Rhodes grass hay is another good source of protein for horses but contains less % of minerals such as calcium. Horses enjoy it as pasture but sometimes can be turned off Rhodes grass in hay form as it can be quite stalky and dry. If your horse doesn’t require the high protein and mineral content provided by lucerne, then fresh Rhodes hay is an excellent choice for feeding. It is usually pale green to pale gold in colour with long leaves.

Barley

Barley is a cereal crop that is mostly turned into a grain. It can also be harvested into hay for horses and cattle. Barley that has had the grain removed will then be cut as straw as a by-product. It has quite a high sugar and starch content. A lot of horses will eat it as chaff mixed with other feed but will refuse to eat it as hay due to it being quite dry.

Conclusion

There are many types of cereal crops and grasses that are turned into hay. All have different properties, therefore if you have a concern about feeding these hays, seek guidance from an equine nutritionist. This is particularly important if your horse has medical conditions directly affected by what they eat.

At Bang For Your Buck Horsegear, we strive to contribute positively to your horse’s wellbeing. Have any questions about the suitability of our horse rugs? Find us on our horse rugs Facebook page or get in contact with us so we can find the solution. Happy Horsin’!

horse food for thought

Food For Thought

Food For Thought

horse food for thought Christmas Day is over for another year! Who else thinks that they ate far too much of the wrong foods?! <raises hand> There’s a chance you may have given your pets the leftovers of your Christmas feasts, which in some cases may not be the best thing. We know that there are foods that dogs are unable to digest, such as chocolate, grapes, and onions. But did you know there are some fruits and vegetables that you shouldn’t give your horse to munch on?

Fruit & Veg No-no’s

Of the fruits and vegetables listed below, a few can be fed in small quantities which have been noted below. The rest of the list can cause a wide range of illnesses including anaemia, colic, toxicosis, seizures,  choking and gas issues. If in doubt, always check with your vet if you aren’t sure or your horse already has digestive issues.

  • Garlic, onions, cabbage, cauliflower & broccoli in large quantities
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate
  • Stone fruits without the seed removed
  • Avocado
  • Bread products
  • Dairy products (all horses are lactose intolerant! Fun fact!)

Now that we’ve listed the things you can’t feed a horse, here is the list of things that you can feed them! Just keep in mind that these should only be fed occasionally and not be their main source of food. Any of these “safe” foods fed in frequent, excess quantities can have side effects for your horse.

Safe Foods (not primary source)

  • Berries (most varieties including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries etc)
  • Apples (without the core…the seeds can be toxic)
  • Bananas
  • Licorice
  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pineapples
  • Watermelon
  • Apricots & nectarines without the seeds

We hope this has given you some insights on fresh, fun treats you can give your horse occasionally, and which ones to avoid completely. Another way to treat your horse this Christmas season is to get them one of our flash new horse rugs to help keep them clean and cool. We have a massive sale currently on a range f horse rugs in store, so why not check it out and nab yourself a bargain? By saving money now, you can buy more treats for them later!

 

preventable horse diseases

Preventable Horse Diseases

Preventable Horse Diseases (and how to avoid them)

 We all love our horses dearly. Like most pets, vet bills can be very costly when your horse gets injured or ill from a preventable horse disease. The best ways to minimise this is to make sure they are vaccinated regularly. We have listed the 4 most common preventable horse diseases below. It lists what they do and why you need to prevent them!

4 of The Most Common Horse Diseases/Conditions

  • Tetanus – the first preventable horse disease on the list is Tetanus. “Clostridium tetani” is the technical name for the organism that causes this disease. Unfortunately, it can be anywhere but is not contagious. It lives in soil and manure and most commonly enters the horse’s body through wounds on the skin and hooves. If your horse shows any of the signs, it is vital to get veterinary help. Because of the horse’s inability to eat, drink and even breathe as the disease progresses, delaying treatment is almost guaranteed to be fatal. Signs of tetanus include severe muscle stiffness, difficulty chewing, the third eyelid covering the eye in spasms, tail held straight out and a stretched out, stiff posture.
  • Strangles –  A bacterial respiratory disease caused by “Streptococcus equi”. It is highly contagious, because of this affected horses must be isolated for 6-8 weeks. Symptoms include green, yellow or white nasal discharge, high temperature and difficulty swallowing. Coughing and enlarged lymph nodes around the throat can affect their breathing. Due to this, it is vital to call your vet for treatment. Symptoms can last for weeks.
  • Hendra – Hendra is a viral disease spread by fruit bats. Horses get it by eating food contaminated by these fruit bats who are carriers. The main difference with this disease is that it can spread to humans. There is no treatment and is fatal for horses. Symptoms include fever, fast breathing with difficulty, mobility issues, increased heart rate, and discomfort while resting. There can also be nasal discharge and involuntary muscle twitching. Humans can show similar flu-like symptoms. If they have been in contact with a horse with similar symptoms, they must be taken for medical treatment immediately.
  • Internal Parasites – The 2 main types of internal parasites are worms, and bots (fly eggs). Symptoms for affected horses can vary. Some show no signs at all, others will lose condition rapidly. The most common ones are the loss of, or increased appetite, poor growth in young horses, weight loss, anaemia, and tail rubbing. The best way to prevent a heavy worm load is to use a broad spectrum worming paste and have your vet test the manure for an egg count.

In Summary

We want to do the right thing by our horses and keep them healthy. By keeping their vaccinations and worming up-to-date, as a result, you are helping stop the spread of these diseases. It is important to be informed because it is not just your horse who could be affected. Thank you for reading this post, and that it helps you in the future.

 

Keep Your Horse Safe In Thunderstorms

Keep Your Horse Safe In Thunderstorms

This time of year is renowned for producing storms, cyclones, and flash flooding. In Queensland especially, there can be multiple storms for days in a row. In this area especially, paddocks flooding, trees falling and other property damage aren’t unheard of. This is why every attempt should be made to keep your horse safe in thunderstorms and other weather events. Things like checking trees for loose branches, supplying undercover shelter from wind and rain, and making sure fences are in good order are essential and part of basic horse management.

If you have horses or livestock in general, it is very important to have a plan if the weather gets extreme. The Australian Veterinary Association has a handy PDF on what to do in storms, floods or cyclones. You can find the link here. It covers important topics such as:

  • Why you need a disaster plan
  • What you should have in a fully-stocked first aid kit
  • Essential other items in a kit that you can grab and go including feed, halters, lead ropes, identification etc
  • Important phone numbers for your vet, the SES etc
  • plus information on what to do during and in the aftermath of an emergency weather event

The team at Bang For Your Buck Horsegear hopes you all stay safe this storm season. If you have any questions or queries about protective rugs to keep your horse dry during the heavy rain spells, don’t hesitate to contact us or find out more about what horse rugs we have available.

Can You Recognise Heat Stress In Your Horse?

Can You Recognise Heat Stress In Your Horse?

Recently, the east coast of Australia had a week-long spell of unusually hot weather for October/November. While it is relatively easy for us humans to cool ourselves down, horses aren’t quite so lucky. It is very important to recognise the signs of heat stress in your horse and steps you can take to prevent this.

Signs of Heat Stress:

  • If riding your horse, try and do it first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Not only is it less likely to send your horse into distress, but it reduces the risk of your harm as well, from sunburn and dehydration.
  • Make sure your horse has ample access to cool water. If there is no choice but to have water in an area that receives full-sun, why not try adding some large ice blocks made out of soft drink bottles into the trough or bucket to assist in keeping the water cooler?
  • Adequate shade in their paddock is vital, or a well-ventilated stable or structure. Some people don’t know it, but it is actually considered neglect if a horse doesn’t have some form of shade in their paddock to get out of the sun. Having one of these, especially during our summers, is a no-brainer and should be a priority.
  • When hosing your horse to cool them down, always scrape excess water off them. If the water is left on their coats, it can heat up itself once the horse is outside and actually make them hotter! Some horses will roll after being hosed. To us, it makes them dirty again; to them, it’s adding a protective coating to repel heat getting to their skin.
  • For horses with medical conditions such as Cushings Disease, you need to be extra careful. One of the symptoms of this disease is a horse not being able to self-regulate their body temperature through coat shedding, among other things. If you suspect a horse heat stress is not from direct exercise or other outside conditions, get them checked by a vet.

How do I recognise the signs of heat stress?

  • Horse is sweating profusely, or alternately not sweating at all, along with:
  • High breathing rate, even panting to try and get more oxygen circling their body
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Skin to touch is dry and hot
  • Higher than normal temperature

If your horse is showing some of these signs, you need to act quickly. Move them into the shade and hose them off with cool water and scraping after. Always seek veterinary attention, particularly if your horse is severely distressed. Untreated, it can cause organ failure and the inevitable death of your horse.

Protect Your Horse From Flies

Protect Your Horse From Flies

How CAN you protect your horse from flies? It’s that time of year again. The warm weather and wet season bring an influx of the bane of a horse’s existence! For whatever reason, flies and mosquitos seem particularly attracted to a horse’s legs and face. They can cause anxiety and fidgeting in horses on the ground and while being ridden, and in some cases cause illness and injury through blood loss and itching.

Today we will outline some steps you can take to minimize flies, mosquitoes and other biting insects around your paddock and stable, and causing misery to your horse.

Fly Prevention Tips

  1. Clear Away Manure – flies LOVE horse poo! One of the best ways you can help discourage flies is to regularly clear out paddocks and stables of manure. It is also a great idea to have your manure pile as far away as practically possible from where your horse spends most of its time.
  2. Put On A Mesh Horse Rug – putting a light mesh horse rug on your horse is a great way to protect them just about everywhere except their legs! While some might think that horses would get too hot with a rug on, the fabrics created today can actually reflect heat, keeping them cooler. The added protection from biting insects is also a plus! You can find a wide range of summer rugs on our site HERE.
  3. Repellents – applying fly repellant regularly to your horses’ legs will provide temporary relief. There are many varieties to choose from, with varying prices. Rotating different types of repellents will help you find the one most effective for your situation.
  4.  Keep Water Fresh & Aerated – ensuring your horse has plenty of clean, fresh water is a given. It should be cleaned out and/or topped up each day. Make sure any empty containers that get filled with water don’t sit for too long and go stagnant. This is the ideal breeding ground for insects. By removing these, you’re giving the insects less opportunity to breed.
  5. Use A Flyveil – if flies are bad while you’re out riding, consider putting a fly hood or veil on your horse’s head to give them relief. If your horse has never had one on before, then proceed with caution and acclimatise them to one. It could make training and trail riding a much nicer experience for both of you!

In Summary

Flies and mosquitoes can make our lives a misery, but at the same time, they can provide a valuable service to nature. We hope these tips have helped give you ideas on how to protect your horse from flies this summer. If you ever have any questions about our range of horse rugs, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Should You Rug Your Horse?

 

Winter has been well and truly here for the last few weeks! While QLD rarely sees the types of freezing temperatures as our southern friends do, there are occasions where your horse might appreciate a snuggly rug overnight.

The question is, though, how do you work out if rugging them is actually beneficial at this time?

Here are some tips on how to work out if you should rug your horse or not.

  1. What breed is your horse? Most breeds, especially ponies, grow quite adequate coats during winter that protect them quite well. More refined breeds such as pure Arabians and Thoroughbreds not as much. If you have one of these breeds who tend to have a thin coat all year round, then rugging is probably a good option.
  2. What’s the weather like? Is it cold but fairly dry, or is it constantly wet and muddy or even snow? If it’s the last two, then it’s a good idea to rug them just to help give them a break from the wet and cold.
  3. How frequently is your horse worked? If you have a horse that is ridden every day or competes frequently, then you want to reduce the amount of fluffy coat that you have to deal with. Rugging is a good way of limiting hair growth, but it is something you would have to keep doing regularly. On the other hand, if the horse is only ridden every so often then it might be better to allow them to grow out their coat. Just take extra time to dry them off when you do work them.
  4. Does your horse lose condition easily? If you have a horse that drops condition quickly and requires hard feeding all year round, then rugging is definitely a good choice. This means he won’t burn energy and fat trying to keep himself warm.
  5. What rugs do you have available? If you only have a heavy thickness winter rug, then you probably only want to use it when it is really wet and cold and miserable overnight. If you have a variety of different rugs for the seasons, then maybe a lighter rug overnight might be a good option. A rug like that could also be left on during the day if needed.
  6. Are you able to remove the rug during the daytime when it’s warmer? If you’re unable to regularly rug and unrug your horse depending on the temperature, then it could be an idea to not rug them. Horses can also overheat quite easily with a winter rug on during average daytime temperatures here in QLD, so for their comfort, maybe being left unrugged will be better for your horse.

We hope this has given you some guidance on whether to rug your horse this winter season. We have a great variety of horse rugs available at the moment that can cover most weather options, so why not check it out?