Omega Fields

  • I Love You, But Let's Not Get Too Cozy

    Written By: Walt Friedrich

    We've touched on this subject in previous articles, but it's important enough for an occasional revisit, just as a reminder. Our horse is not wired in the same way as we are, as he constantly demonstrates, but we've become so used to it that we rarely notice it any more. You put your favorite music on for him, playing quietly in the stable, because you enjoy it and you want to share the pleasure with him. A noble, thoughtful idea, but even when your favorite passages are playing and you might stop what you're doing, lean up against a wall, and just listen, enraptured, he shows no reaction. Well, it's disappointing, maybe, but we're just not all music lovers, are we?

    Then the local wild deer herd blooms out of the woods next to his pasture, and all fifty of them graze their way across his turf, with the little ones chasing each other with rough-and-tumble efforts; you freeze, lest you frighten them off, and watch them, enjoying that warm-glow feeling, but they aren't afforded even a glance by your horse, as he, too, grazes contentedly.

    And how about the breathtaking view across the valley when you and he are enjoying a leisurely ride? It's just a yawn as far as your boy is concerned, as he continues his rhythmic stroll on the trail.

    We've seen that behavior – or lack of it – so often that it no longer grabs our attention. It's just the way it is, and not all God's creatures seem to have aesthetic appreciation. Is our horse one of the deficient ones, or is he maybe always thinking of that cute little filly, next door?

    Well truth be told, unlike our human minds, his cognition is always tuned into two subjects (neither being that filly); his personal safety and his comfort. Unlike you and me, his mind isn't a problem-solver, and he doesn't demonstrate imagination – it's like a big vacancy up there.

    That condition no longer gives us pause, we're so used to it. He may not be tuned into the fine arts, but he IS just what we want – a horse, our horse, trained and showing what we choose to consider cooperation and love for us. And that's a good deal for both of us.

    It's also perfectly natural behavior on his part. He ignores what we consider beautiful and interesting simply because he isn't wired for abstract thinking – and that's actually a fortunate thing for him and for every other prey animal species; his ancestors learned eons ago that ensuring his survival depended on escaping the large, hungry predators he shared his environment with, and who would have him for lunch. That meant he had to pay much more attention to his neighbors than to his neighborhood, and that caution became his very wiring. And so, while Beethoven's music may be soothing and beautiful, and while a large herd of deer can be very interesting to observe, and though a pretty view in itself may be safe, none are of the slightest interest to him. His ancestors took a most practical and successful approach to living in the wild – namely, be prepared for anything, and be actually running the very instant you perceive a threat – all of which trickled down through the ages to him.

    You, on the other hand, are wired to observe and identify first, then run if, after consideration, you deem it necessary. Rene Descartes defined all humans when he said quite succinctly: “cogito ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am” – that's you, all right, but it certainly doesn't apply to horses in lion country.

    Now, all that background may make your horse seem well equipped to handle life in the wild, and it truly is, but there is a big BUT. When the threat of imminent danger, real or just perceived, appears, your horse will take no chances, he will “spook” – and if you happen to be nearby at the time, you're in real trouble. If you're on saddle and he spooks, you'll be lucky if all you get is dumped – though that in itself can cost you anything from a broken bone to your very life. If your feet are on the ground and in his escape flight path, you can be run over and sustain still more severe damage.

    What can we do to prevent damages being inflicted by a panicked horse? Plenty:

    • Never occupy a cramped space with your horse – you never know when a mouse suddenly appears and panics him, and you don't want to be up close when it happens.
    • Always be aware of where both of you are, and stay out of his flight path (straight ahead) and out of range of his feet whenever possible, lest he kick blindly if panicked.
    • Never startle your horse, especially from behind – and when you walk around his butt, put your hand on his rump and keep it there until you're past.
    • When you're coming up behind him, be sure you're not tip-toeing, and do talk to him as you approach so he's sure to know you're there. Humming or whistling work, too.
    • Always keep in mind that he's a horse, not a companion or a friend – love him to pieces, but he is still an animal, and he understands, prefers, and appreciates being treated as one.
    • Always be alert while riding; your constant awareness of him will keep him engaged and aware of you, and nobody gets any surprises.
    • “Sack him out” whenever you're aboard – let him investigate the trail you're on, you may prevent future surprises.

    Finally, a word about your own behavior when you're with him: always show him total respect, and never strike or raise your voice at him. You want him to WANT to be with you because he enjoys your company and he trusts you completely. You won't get that if he's afraid of you.

  • Omega Fields Spokesperson, Beverly Gray to Attend AERC National Convention

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is happy to announce spokesperson and legendary endurance rider, Beverly Gray’s attendance at this year’s AERC National Convention, February 19 & 20 in Reno, NV. Stop by the Arabian Saddle Company booth #107 to receive a FREE Omega Nibblers® Low Sugar & Starch ((https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-nibblers-low-sugar-starch.html) horse treat sample and talk with Beverly.
    Omega Fields has donated its new Omega-3 soft baked dog treats, Omega Smart Hearts™ (https://www.omegafields.com/canine-products/omega-smart-hearts.html) and new low sugar & starch omega-3 horse treats for the conventions raffle.
    The American Endurance Ride (AERC) convention is two days of informative seminars, shopping, and an awards banquet. To learn more about the convention visit http://aerc.org/static/Temp/2016conventionflyer.pdf or call 1-866-271-2372. To learn more about Beverly Gray and using Omega Fields products, visit her spokesperson page https://www.omegafields.com/spokespeople-beverly/.
    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

    Contact: Allison Kuhl _ Director of Business Development, Omega Fields

  • Natchez Trace Cayenne: The Rest of the Story

    Written By Jenny Pavlovic
    The subject line stopped me in my tracks, “My Experience with Tony ("Mountain Man") and His 31 Dogs”. Tony… Mountain Man. It had to be him! The first line of the article mentioned that Tony had been living deep in the woods of Natchez Trace State Park in Tennessee. My heart skipped a beat.
    The email message was from Scotlund Haisley of Animal Rescue Corps, who said that in January they had completed five rescue missions in Tennessee. Scotlund remarked that he had found himself reflecting again and again on one rescue of the five that was not their usual case. He said, “This was an unusual experience and I wanted to share more with you.” ARC’s regular mission is to help shut down large-scale cases of animal cruelty and neglect in which individuals are profiting from animal suffering. However, “Mountain Man” Tony’s situation was different. ARC was able to offer a lasting solution to a person and dogs who desperately needed help.
    Tony had been living in the wilderness of Tennessee for 16 years, with his pack of dogs. A group of people who had gotten to know him and had offered to care for him as he faced health issues had contacted ARC for help. They requested that ARC receive, provide veterinary care, and find homes for all 31 of Tony’s dogs because Tony wouldn’t accept the home and health care that he needed until he knew the dogs were well taken care of too. Scotlund described Tony as having a “strong-willed head and a soft heart”. Tony cared deeply for his dogs, and ultimately loved them enough to let them go, to get the veterinary care they needed and find families who would give them individual attention.
    Scotlund described meeting Tony, building trust with him, and watching as Tony howled and his dogs came out of the woods from all directions, “surrounding him with a visible loyalty”. When I saw this on a video, my eyes brimmed with tears as I watched the pack with many red and gold dogs appear. I knew then that this was the same Tony, the name that I remembered from a few years ago. During the summer of 2007, a litter of seven red and gold pups had been taken in by the Henderson County Humane Society in Tennessee. Deb and her family nursed the pups to health after they almost died from coccidia. Eventually I was contacted for help through the cattle dog network. When I asked where the pups came from, Deb said that they were from a man named Tony in the Tennessee wilderness.

    Littermates Littermates
    Puppy Cayenne Puppy Cayenne

    Tony! There he was on the video. And there they were – Cay’s wild family! You see, in 2007 one of those red and gold pups from Tony eventually came to rescue in Minnesota. And one of those gold pups eventually came to live with me and became my girl Cayenne… Natchez Trace Cayenne. She was afraid of just about everything when I first met her, a true pup of the wilderness. If you’ve been reading along, you know how far Cay has come since she was a scaredy pup back in 2007 (read more), when she was afraid to be touched, and was easily overwhelmed by loud noises and activity around her.

    Adolescent Cayenne Adolescent Cayenne
    Adolescent Cayenne Adolescent Cayenne

    Over the years I’ve come to believe that Cay is part Australian Cattle Dog and part Carolina Dog (a feral breed in some southern states), that perhaps her feral mama dog mated with someone’s farm dog. Cay’s sister Rose looks more like a purebred red Australian Cattle Dog and Cay herself looks very much like a golden Carolina Dog. In that video of Tony and his pack, I saw several familiar-looking red and gold dogs. Now I understand much better where Cay’s litter came from and why so much of the world was intimidating to them. I see that probably both parents were wild dogs of the peaceful woods, and that Tony likely saved the pups’ lives by getting them the care they needed to survive coccidia.

    Rose Rose
    Cayenne Cayenne

    I think about Tony living in the woods with his dogs, and how peaceful it would be to live in the wilderness. If you’ve ever wondered where your rescued dog came from and why s/he behaves the way s/he does, you will understand how fulfilling it was for me to see the video of Tony and his dogs, how emotional it was for me to see the place Cay came from as a pup and the man who saved her life… to have a few more pieces of the puzzle that is Cay, my girl who has come so far. To know that this man of very little worldly means loved Cay and her littermates enough to get them the care they needed, even though he did not have the means to provide it himself.
    In our society, it’s unusual to live away from other people with a pack of dogs in the wilderness. But something drove Tony to do this and his privacy has been respected. We might not think we have a lot in common with him, but certainly our love of dogs is a powerful bond. He did what many of us try to do for animals in need, love them and provide them the best life possible. I’m grateful that people reached out to Tony and are helping him get the care he needs too.
    I plan to write Cay’s story for Tony and send him pictures of her over the years, to thank him for my beautiful girl. Perhaps we’ll even take a road trip to Tennessee to visit Cay’s birthplace. I am especially grateful to Deb and her family of the Henderson County Humane Society. They cared for the pups in a way that Tony couldn’t, saved their lives and helped them find their forever homes. I’m also grateful to Homeward Bound Rescue of Minnesota and Meet the Pack Cattle Dog Rescue of Ontario for each taking three of the pups in and adopting them into their forever homes. Although sometimes it really does take a village, many times it takes several.

    Chase and Cayenne Chase and Cayenne
    Cayenne - All Grown Up Cayenne - All Grown Up

    When Cay first came to our house, she had ear mites and skin allergies. Omega Fields Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets helped build her immune system, clear up her skin, and helped her grow a soft, shiny coat.

  • Omega Fields Announces Continued Sponsorship of Horsemanship Radio

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. announces that it will continue to be one of the sponsors of the Horsemanship Radio program (www.horsemanshipradio.com) featured on Horses In the Morning radio podcast (www.horsesinthemorning.com). Horsemanship Radio is hosted by Debbie Loucks, daughter of pioneer natural horseman, Monty Roberts. "Horsemanship Radio is one of those word-of-mouth, hang-on-for-the-ride projects whose growth surprises us all every month as the fastest expanding show on the Horse Radio Network. Omega Fields is more like a part of our team than a sponsor and we enjoy collaborating on the guests and format,” comments host, Debbie Loucks. Horsemanship Radio is aired on the 15th and 30th of each month and is downloaded over 10,000 times each month. Some of Omega Fields spokespeople have been guests on previous shows including legendary endurance rider, Beverly Gray (https://www.omegafields.com/spokespeople-beverly/) and barrel racing futurity trainers, Hallie & Lee Hanssen (https://www.omegafields.com/spokespeople-lee-hallie-hanssen). “We are looking forward to a continued long lasting partnership with Monty, Pat & Debbie and Horsemanship Radio” said Sean Moriarty – Omega Fields President. Check out the latest episode with Ben Masters of the movie of Unbranded and Nic Roldan – leading American Polo player http://www.horsemanshipradio.com/2016/03/01/horsemanship-radio-episode-59-by-index-fund-advisors-ifa-com-unbranded-documentary-star-ben-masters-american-polo-star-nic-roldan-montys-trainer-tip/.
    You can learn more about Monty Roberts’s natural horsemanship at; www.montyroberts.com or www.montyrobertsuniversity.com.
    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

    Contact: Allison Kuhl _ Director of Business Development, Omega Fields

  • Omega Fields Spokesperson, Hallie Hanssen Reserve Champion at LG Pro Classic Futurity

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to congratulate and announce one of its spokespeople, Hallie Hanssen for a successful LG Pro Classic Futurity in Kinder, LA last weekend. Hallie and Tres Movidas (owned by Tom Jacobs) were reserve champions, earning $12,500. Hallie feeds Omega Horseshine® (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-horseshine-29.html) and Omega SureGut™ (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-suregut.html) to her futurity and derby barrel horses. She also uses Omega Nibblers® as her go to Omega-3 based horse treat (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-nibblersr.html).
    “THANK YOU for keeping our horses looking and feeling great!” says Hanssen. Omega Fields president, Sean Moriarty comments, “We are so proud of Hallie’s continued success and are pleased to have her be such an influential spokesperson for our company and products.”
    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

    Images available upon request

    Contact: Allison Kuhl _ Director of Business

  • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis

    Written By: Annette McCoy, DVM, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

    What is equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM)?

    EPM is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and/or spinal cord) that is caused by the protozoal organism Sarcocystis neurona. The main host for this organism is the opossum and horses that are exposed to opossum feces with infective sporocysts can develop neurologic disease. Other hosts of S. neurona include armadillos, skunks, and domestic cats; however, these animals cannot directly transmit the disease to horses.
    What are the clinical signs of EPM?

    Since S. neurona can be located anywhere in the central nervous system, a range of clinical signs may exist. To complicate matters, many of these signs mimic those found in other neurologic disease or may occur in a waxing/waning fashion. Potential clinical signs include:

    *Ataxia (incoordination), spasticity (stiff, stilted movements), abnormal gait or lameness.
    * Incoordination and weakness which worsens when going up or down slopes or when the head is elevated.
    * Muscle atrophy, most noticeable along the topline or in the large muscles of the hindquarters, but can sometimes involve the muscles of the face or front limbs.
    * Paralysis of muscles of the eyes, face or mouth, evident by drooping eyes, ears or lips.
    *Difficulty swallowing.
    *Seizures or collapse.
    *Abnormal sweating.
    * Loss of sensation along the face, neck or body.
    * Head tilt with poor balance; horse may assume a splay-footed stance or lean against stall walls for support.
    How do you diagnose EPM?

    There are three tests currently available to test for EPM. Each of them has pros and cons that should be taken into consideration when deciding on which to perform.
    Serum antibody test
    This test is run on a sample of blood and detects circulating antibodies to S. neurona. If the result comes back negative, the horse does not have the disease. However, if the result comes back positive, it does not mean that the horse is currently infected, only that it has been exposed to S. neurona at some point in its life. Since about 50-60% of the equine population has been exposed to S. neurona, but only about 0.14% actually develops the disease, this means that many horses may be treated unnecessarily.

    Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) Western blot
    This test is run on CSF obtained from a spinal tap. The test is more invasive than the serum test, but is more accurate at detecting active infection because the fluid should not have antibodies in it unless the organism is actually in the brain or spinal cord. However, blood contamination of the CSF sample can result in false positive tests.

    IgM capture ELISA
    This recently developed test is run on a blood sample and looks for an immunoglobulin (antibody) specifically found during an active S. neurona infection. This test shows great promise, but has not been widely used yet in the general equine population. It is run only at the University of California-Davis, so samples must be shipped. The test currently costs around $65 and results are usually back within a week.
    How do you treat EPM?

    There are two treatment options for EPM. The traditional treatment protocol is a six-month course of trimethoprim-sulfonamide (an antibiotic) and pyrimethamine (an antiprotozoal agent). However, a newer drug, ponazuril (an antiprotozoal), is the only FDA-approved treatment for EPM and is labeled for a 28- day course of therapy. In some cases, a second round of ponazuril is necessary. Ponazuril is marketed as an oral paste under the trade name Marquis®. General supportive therapy may also be indicated based on the condition of the horse at the time of diagnosis.
    What is the prognosis for a horse with EPM?

    About 60-70% of horses with EPM that are treated will improve, and 15-25% will recover completely. A better outcome seems to be associated with starting treatment early, and the most significant improvement is generally seen within the first four weeks. Eighty percent of horses will remain positive on CSF Western blot tests despite treatment (even if they appear clinically normal), and relapses are seen within two years in about 10-20% of these horses.
    How can I help to prevent EPM in my horse?
    Horses are infected with EPM when they ingest food or water contaminated with opossum feces. Keeping grain in covered bins and controlling the opossum population around your barn are the most practical methods of reducing the risk of infection.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

    http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/horse/a-to-z/

  • Why Should Eggs Be Stored Pointy End Down?

    Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

    You've probably heard that eggs should be stored with the pointy end facing downwards, but often wondered why? Or maybe you've not ever heard that and you're reading it here for the first time. Either way, it's the truth. Eggs should be stored pointed end down. But why? Well, I'll explain it to you.
    Let's back up a bit. When an egg is being formed and laid, there is a narrow pointy end and a more rounded, blunt end. As the egg travels down the oviduct, it travels pointy end first (and also spins, almost like a bullet travelling down the barrel of a gun, but that's a story for another day). Just before the hen lays her egg, she stands up a bit in the nest, holding a squatting position, and the egg flips around so that it's laid blunt end first, making for a better landing, more surface area for cushioning and less likelihood of being broken.
    There is an air sac at the blunt end of every egg. It's this sac that an incubating chick embryo will use for air to breathe once its lungs are developed, but before it has hatched and is breathing outside air. As an egg ages, whether fertile or not, the air sac will expand and get larger as air is allowed through the eggshell pores and moisture is allowed to escape. There's a natural 'bloom', an invisible coating on the egg, that helps prevent air and bacteria from entering the egg. Preserving that bloom is one reason why eggs should not be washed until just before using them.

    So back to the air sac. As air and bacteria enter the egg through the pores in the eggshell, they encounter the egg white first, since the yolk stays anchored roughly in the middle of the egg by thin, ropy strands of protein called chalazae. The egg white (or albumen) provides a layer of protection for the yolk - which is the more perishable part of an egg.  Being alkaline, the white makes it difficult for any bacteria to thrive and grow inside the egg. However, as an egg ages, the bacteria will move towards the nutrient-rich yolk where they can flourish. Also as the egg ages and the air sac grows, that air sac allows bacteria to move closer to the yolk.
    When an egg is stored pointy end up, with the air sac at the bottom, that sac will slowly rise and move towards the yolk, bringing any air and bacteria with it.  That will hasten not only the 'aging' process of the egg, making it less 'fresh' since keeping the yolk completely enclosed within the white protects the yolk from drying out, but also increase the likelihood that salmonella or other bacteria will reach the yolk more quickly and contaminate the egg. There is also a chance the air sac will rupture and contaminate the egg with any bacteria it contains.

    By storing the egg pointy end down, the air sac remains at the top of the egg (the blunt end) where it belongs. Also more of the white, which is mostly made up of water and from where moisture evaporates, is sitting in the carton and not exposed to quite so much air, and therefore loses moisture more slowly.

    So to sum it up:

    Eggs should be stored pointed end down to keep the yolk centered and keep any bacteria as far as possible from the yolk, which is far more likely to be contaminated by any bacteria that enters the egg than the non-bacteria friendly white. Air and bacteria enter the egg through the blunt end into the air sac located there. If you store the egg blunt end down, the air pocket will rise, touch the yolk and risk contaminating it. By storing eggs blunt end up, the pocket of air stays away from the yolk, and the egg stays fresh longer.

    -ceramic egg carton from Amazon-
    That being said, since we use our eggs so quickly and they are 'backyard coop fresh', I don't worry so much and usually keep a bowl of eggs on the kitchen counter that I use first and then store the rest in the fridge, topsy-turvy. Go figure.
    End Note: If you are collecting eggs for hatching, then storing them pointed end down until you are ready to incubate them is very important. Keeping the yolk and air sac in place and intact is very important for optimal hatchability.
    References:
  • The Healthy, Older Horse

    Written By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

    Let me tell you about Bugsy. He was an Appendix Quarter Horse I rescued a few years ago. When he came to me, he was significantly underweight, suffered from an old stifle injury, and had a distrustful attitude. A few months later, he’d filled out, was running up and down hills with ease, and showed the curiosity and warmth of a youngster. How old was he? 25. Not old by today’s standards and yet, definitely up there. What made the difference? Nutrition played a big part in his improvement.

    Advances in veterinary medicine and greater attention to nutrition have made it possible, and even probable, that your horse will live well into his 30s and even the 40s or older. Individuality plays as much a role in the way horses age as it does for us. There are fairly predictable changes, however, that go along with growing old, no matter at what age they become noticeable. Some horses have trouble gaining weight, others become too fat. Teeth wear down, making chewing difficult; some may even lose teeth. Most horses experience a decline in immune function and get sick more easily or develop allergies. Muscle mass may diminish and joints can become stiff. Digestion and absorption efficiency declines.

    All these changes come about gradually, but as your horse starts to show signs of aging, the diet you’ve been feeding may now be obsolete. It may be time adjust it to meet your horse’s needs.

    While the scope of this article is limited, you’ll find more detailed information in my book, Feed Your Horse Like A Horse, as well as in the Spotlight on Equine Nutrition series book, The Aging Horse. Here are some highlights…

    There are two major changes to consider:

    1. Saliva production diminishes. A senior-friendly diet takes into account your horse’s reduced saliva production, which makes dry food difficult to chew and nearly impossible to swallow.  This natural aspect of aging is easy to manage by simply moistening your horse’s feed; he’ll appreciate having his meal a little on the mushy side. And be sure there is water close by.
    2. Digestion efficiency is not what it once was. This leads to diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss. It starts in the small intestine where your horse produces fewer digestive enzymes, leading to malnutrition simply because his tissues never receive the nutrients from his meal. Plus, undigested food enters the hindgut where it is either fermented (which can lead to colic or laminitis) or ends up in the feces.

    To improve the diet, follow these guidelines:

    • Choose senior feeds. Senior feeds are pre-cooked and extruded (formed into kibbles) that are easy to chew and digest. Many senior feeds add digestive enzymes to their formulas to further assist with digestion. They also contain vitamins and minerals, but keep in mind that the only way your horse will get enough of these nutrients is if you feed the recommended amount.
    • Or choose beet pulp or hay pellets.  Moisten these feeds into a mush. You’ll want to add a digestive enzyme supplement, along with proper vitamin/mineral supplementation.
    • Feed the hindgut microbial population. These microbes are responsible for digesting fibrous portion of the diet, providing your horse with calories. They are also necessary for B-vitamin production and maintaining a healthy immune function. Their numbers can significantly diminish due to several causes, such as stomach acid reaching the hindgut because of an empty stomach or inadequate saliva production (saliva neutralizes acid), pain and mental stress, illness, or administering antibiotics. Pro- and prebiotics are often added to senior feeds or supplements designed for aging horses.
    • Include a source of omega 3s. They support immune function, reduce the inflammation of aging joints and muscles, regulate blood insulin levels, promote healthy skin and hooves, and improve attitude. Stabilized flaxseed meal (that has added calcium to correct for high phosphorus levels) and chia seeds are excellent sources of omega 3s. They are well tolerated and easy to feed.
    • Supplement vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production (protein found in bones, joints, and blood vessels). It is also a potent antioxidant and natural antihistamine. When young, your horse was capable of producing his own vitamin C. Now that he’s getting older, he’s losing that ability. He’ll get ample vitamin C from fresh pasture, as long as it is lush; but hay has virtually no vitamin C.
    • Supplement vitamin D during winter or when stalled. Your horse can produce vitamin D from sunlight but during the winter months or if your horse is not exposed to at least 8 hours of sunlight each day, be sure there is enough vitamin D in your commercial feed or supplement. This vitamin (along with vitamin C) will help keep your horse’s bones, muscles, and teeth in top shape.
    • Avoid high starch feeds. Cereal grains (oats, corn, barley, etc.) and feeds made from cereal grains should be eliminated from the diet. As horses age, they are more inclined to become insulin resistant and may start to exhibit signs of equine Cushing’s disease.

     

    A few words about weight…

    Many horses gain weight as they age. This has to do with his sluggish metabolic rate. If he has weight to lose, he doesn’t really need anything other than pasture and hay except for a small, low starch meal each day to serve as a carrier for supplements such as flaxseed meal, vitamin C, and a comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement. But never restrict forage — he needs to be able to graze all the time. Going for hours without eating will, ironically, prevent him from burning fat and he’ll remain heavy.

    The underweight horse can be very challenging.  First, try to determine the reason for weight loss. Worm infestation, ulcers, infections, liver or kidney disease, even cancer can cause weight loss. Pain and mental stress can also make it difficult for your horse to hold a normal weight. The most common reason for weight loss in older horses, however, is poor teeth. Soaked hay cubes or chopped forage, fed free-choice, will meet forage requirements. Extra calories can be provided in a variety of ways, but avoid cereal grains. Horses are more prone toward developing Cushing’s disease as they age and should be fed a low starch diet. Additional fat through flaxseed meal and rice bran are safer ways to help your horse gain weight without the risk of starch. Additional protein from alfalfa will boost protein quality to help maintain muscle mass, while adding extra calories. A good pre/probiotic will allow for more calorie production from the hindgut microbes.

     

    Other age-related problems

    • Joint and muscle deterioration. Most, if not all, horses over the age of 20 will develop arthritis to some degree. Stall confinement makes arthritis worse and makes muscles tight. Mild exercise helps lubricate stiff joints and builds up surrounding muscles. Even if you don’t ride your horse, the more pasture turnout he gets the better off he’ll be.
    • Tendons and ligaments lose elasticity over time and muscle mass starts to decline.  There are several nutrients that I find helpful in boosting joint and connective tissue strength and lean body mass. These are gamma oryzanol; branched chain amino acids; vitamins B6, C and E.

    Bottom line…

    Your horse’s genetic background combined with his health status throughout his growing and adult years will influence how well he ages. If he was fed well all his life, with attention paid toward filling in nutritional gaps, he will likely live longer and with fewer ailments.

    You are the best judge of how well your senior horse is aging. By keeping track of his weight, his eating habits, and his overall condition, you can make appropriate adjustments to his diet that will impact his health and overall quality of life.

     

    Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided attribution is given to Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. No editorial changes may be made without her permission. Dr. Getty appreciates being notified of any publication.

  • "Omega Fields Donates Omega Horseshine to Horses4Heros from Customer Support"

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to announce its new donation campaign for Horses4Heros that has started today and will go thru Christmas Day. When a customer purchases any 50 lb bag of Omega Horseshine (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-horseshine-29.html), Omega Grande (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-grande.html), Omega Antioxidant – Senior Care (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-antioxidant-77.html), or Omega Rice Bran (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-stabilized-rice-bran-50lb.html), Omega Fields will donate one (1) month supply of Omega Horseshine (4.5 lb bag) to Horses4Heros.
    Horses4Heros is the ONLY national non-profit that owns its own horses, including aged, donated and Feed Lot rescues and uses those horses every day in programs and activities that promote healing and hope among the men and women whose Call of Duty is to protect and serve!
    “During this Christmas season especially, we wanted to offer our customers a way to “give” to such a worthy cause when they make their horse supplement purchases with our company, said Sean Moriarty, Omega Fields President.
    Please visit Horses4Heros.org ( www.Horses4Heros.org) to learn more about their non-profit and additional ways to donate that will help our troops, vetrans and their families.

    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

  • "Omega Fields Spokesperson, Hallie Hanssen BFA World Championship Success"

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to congratulate and announce one of its spokespeople, Hallie Hanssen for a successful BFA World Championship in Oklahoma City, OK the week of December 7 – 12, 2015. Hallie placed 7th in the Futurity and 8th in the Super Stakes, earning $23,000. Hallie feeds Omega Fields Omega Horseshine (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-horseshine-29.html) and Omega SureGut (https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products/omega-suregut.html) to her futurity and derby barrel horses. “THANK YOU for keeping our horses looking and feeling great!” says Hanssen. Omega Fields president, Sean Moriarty comments, “We are so proud of Hallie’s continued success and are pleased to have her be such an influential spokesperson for our company and products.”
    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

    Contact: Allison Kuhl _ Director of Business Development, Omega Fields
    Images available upon request

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