Monthly Archives: April 2015

  • Black walnut

    Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, Lynn Hovda, DVM, Mike Murphy, DVM, PhD, and Patrick Weicherding, PhD, University of Minnesota

    Black Walnut Leaves - Photo courtesy of Paul Wray, Iowa State University Black Walnut Leaves - Photo courtesy of Paul Wray, Iowa State University
    Dark black walnut shavings surrounded by lighter colored pine shavings Dark black walnut shavings surrounded by lighter colored pine shavings


    Black walnut: Juglans nigra

    Lifecycle: Black walnut trees are perennials. Most seedlings germinate from nuts buried by squirrels. Black walnut trees mature in about 150 years, but may live for 250 years.

    Identification: Often a large tree with a massive, round, somewhat open, symmetrical canopy appearance. Leaves are composed of 11 to 13 leaflets that are long and toothed. The bark is dark brown to nearly black and deeply furrowed. Black walnut flowers generally appear in April through June. The large edible nut ripens in September or October, dropping shortly after the leaves fall. Black walnut shavings are much darker than light pine shavings (see photo).

    Distribution: Eastern half of the United States except the northern border; Massachusetts south to NW Florida, west to central Texas; north to SE South Dakota.

    Habitat: Prefers moist, well-drained soils, especially along streams and rivers; usually found scattered in mixed deciduous forests.

    Control: Black walnut shavings should not be used in horse bedding. Black walnut shavings are commonly associated with furniture manufacturers.

    Toxin: Experimentally, signs of toxicity usually occur after oral exposure to the black walnut heartwood (inner most wood), but toxicity after dermal exposure is commonly believed to occur as well. The chemical structure of the toxin is not known. Juglone was initially believed to be the toxin, but toxicity has not been reproduced with either oral or dermal dosing of juglone.

    When toxic: Use of black walnut shavings for bedding.

    Toxicity: Clinical signs may be observed within a few hours or horses bedded with as little as 20% fresh black walnut shavings made from either new or old wood.

    Signs and effects of toxicosis: Depression, limb edema (stocking up), warm hooves, acute laminitis (founder), stiff gait, and reluctance to move can be seen within a few hours of exposure. Flared nostrils, abdominal pain (colic), edema (swelling) of the neck and chest, elevated heart and respiratory rates, and high body temperature may be seen as the toxicity progresses. Laminitis may result in rotation of the coffin bone in severe cases.

    Treatment: Clinical signs often subside within hours of removing bedding containing black walnut shavings. A mild sedative and mineral oil may be useful in some cases. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone (Bute) or flunixin meglumine (Banamine) are often used. Adrenergic blockers such as prazosin, and calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine may be used in rare instances.

    Other information: Black walnut roots and leaves excrete a compound called juglone which inhibits the growth of other susceptible plant species growing nearby. This inhibition is referred to as allelopathy. See the oak fact sheet for a discussion of kidney effects that may occur from ingesting the outer green hulls of the nut.

    Thanks to the following fact sheet reviewers: Ron Genrick, Assurance Feeds and Harlan Anderson, DVM. Photos provided by Mike Murphy, DVM, University of Minnesota and Paul Wray, Iowa State University.

    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 >>>

  • Drought and frost concerns

    Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD; Lynn Hovda, DVM, MS; and Mike Murphy, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota

    sorghum-sudangrass sorghum-sudangrass
    Frost injured alfalfa (note yellowing on leaves) Frost injured alfalfa (note yellowing on leaves)
    Fall colored cherry leaf Fall colored cherry leaf
    Fall maple leaf color Fall maple leaf color


    Drought concerns

    Sorghum-sudangrass has good yield potential, especially in dry years, and can be used for pasture or hay. The crop is most commonly used during times of high temperatures and drought, usually as an emergency forage for cattle. Even though sorghum-sudangrass is not commonly grazed by horses or fed in horse quality hay, it might be fed during times of drought, especially when other forage is limited.

    If buying sorghum-sudangrass during a drought year, test the forage for cyanide and nitrate content before feeding it. Forage positive for cyanide should not be fed. Legume and grass hays may also be checked for nitrate concentration during a drought. Nitrates are normally found in forages, with most forages having between 100 (0.1%) to 1,000 (1%) ppm nitrate, even at maturity. Research has shown that feeding hay containing 1.5 to 2% nitrate to pregnant and non-pregnant mares resulted in clinically normal foals, even though higher than normal levels of nitrate were detected in blood samples. As a general rule, horses should not be fed hay containing more than 2% nitrate, because the safety of such forage has not been researched in horses. See nitrate accumulators for additional information on nitrate.

    Sorghum, sudangrass and surghum-sudan hybrids, along with Johnsongrass, have also been implicated in cases of cystitis (urinary bladder inflammation), and abortion. Mares affected by cystitis may also accumulate a yellowish, sticky, granular fluid accumulates in the bladder. Death may also result from kidney damage. These grasses may also develop toxic levels of cyanide, also called prussic acid, under drought and/or frost conditions.

    Frost concerns

    Some deciduous leaves can be deadly after a frost or after they have wilted due to broken branches, fall leaf shed or storm damage. Leaves of greatest concern for horses are wilted maple and prunus species, including chokecherry, ornamental almond, and cherry trees. Identify all such seasonally toxic trees on your property, and keep horses from their fallen or frost damaged leaves for at least 30 days. Even though these leaves are not commonly eaten, horses can accidentally ingest them, especially if hungry or bored. Cyanide toxicity can also be an issue after frost.

    There are no reports of toxicity of horses grazing frost damaged alfalfa or clover. Cattle, however, are prone to bloat if they are allowed to graze bloat-causing legumes (i.e., clovers and alfalfa), and can be more at risk when there is moisture on these legumes (i.e., dew, frost, and/or rain). Frost damaged alfalfa and clovers can have higher concentrations of sugars, leading to an increase in potential for founder and colic. To reduce the chance of adverse health effects, it is recommended that horse owners wait up to a week before turning horses back onto a pasture after a killing frost.

    Thanks to the following fact sheet reviewers: Ron Genrick, Assurance Feeds and Harlan Anderson, DVM. Photos provided by Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota Strand Memorial Herbarium.

    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 >>>

  • Horse behavior and stable vices

    Written By: Julie Christie, M.Sc. Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester, MN*

    Horses have evolved to socialize, move around, and spend about two thirds of their time grazing. Modern horse management systems do not always allow horses to exhibit these normal behaviors and sometimes problem behaviors can arise as a result. ­ ese problems include cribbing, weaving, stall/fence walking, and separation anxiety. Behavior problems are especially troublesome if the horse spends a majority of their time performing the behavior, or if the behavior could be harmful to someone.

    Four keys to avoiding unwanted behavior

    1. Time spend indoors

    Efforts should be made to reduce the amount of time spent in a stall by allowing the horse plenty of turnout and exercise. A stall is not a natural environment for a horse. When given the choice of being in a paddock or in a stall, horses will often choose a paddock, even if there is inclement weather. More information on pasture management is available in the following fact sheet: "Managing Established Horse Pastures" (publication #08460).

    2. Keep horses in herds, not alone

    Horses are naturally social animals and have evolved to live in herds. A herd size of 4-10 same sex horses work best; with the obvious exception being stallions. Constantly changing the herd can be stressful for horses (e.g. adding new horses) and should be minimized if possible. If it is not possible to keep a horse in a herd, try introducing the horse to another animal, such as a goat, donkey, or sheep. If a horse is kept with any of these species, check with a veterinarian to see if any changes are warranted to the horse's vaccination or health plan.

    3. Diet

    It is recommended to keep horses on a high forage diet while at the same time meeting their nutritional needs. Horses should be fed based on age, bodyweight, and activity. When horses do not receive adequate long-stemmed forage (hay or pasture), they can develop behaviors such as wood chewing, wind sucking, or cribbing. Limited amounts of forage or large amounts of grain can also increase the risk of colic. When pasture grazing is not an option, providing several (three to four) small meals per day is preferred over a fewer larger meals. ­ is increases the time the horse spends eating and simulates grazing. More information on nutrition is available in the following three fact sheets: "10 ­ things Everyone Should Know About Nutrition for the Mature Horse" (publication #08548), Nutrition of the Weanling and Yearling Horse (publication #08456) and Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition of the Horse (publication #08541).

    4. Training

    When training a horse (or selecting a trainer), choose a training method that favors positive training methods rather than abuse or force. ­ ere are many horse training methods available. It is the responsibility of the owner to choose a method that has the best interest of both the horse and the owner in mind. Training methods that utilize negative reinforcement can lead to many undesirable behaviors such as bolting and rearing.

    Managing existing behavior issues

    Figure 1: New research shows that mirrors may help decrease the incidence of weaving. Figure 1: New research shows that mirrors may help decrease the incidence of weaving.
    Figure 2. Horse rearing Figure 2. Horse rearing
    Figure 3. Nose nets can reduce headshaking when the horse is ridden Figure 3. Nose nets can reduce headshaking when the horse is ridden
    Figure 4. Wood chewing can cause tooth wear and the ingestion of splinters Figure 4. Wood chewing can cause tooth wear and the ingestion of splinters


    Horses sometimes develop an unwanted behavior problem from a previous life experience and do not improve the behavior, even if the environment, training method, and diet are ideal. While these behaviors may never stop, below are some suggestions on how unwanted behaviors can be managed.

    Cribbing and windsucking

    Cribbing is a repetitive behavior where the horse places its upper incisors against a horizontal surface, arches its neck, and pulls backwards with its body while making a grunting sound. Windsucking is similar to cribbing, but is done without the horse grasping an object with its teeth. Cribbing horses sometimes have lower gastric pH than normal horses, produce less saliva, have slower oro-cecal transit times and have a greater incidence of stomach ulcers than non-cribbing horses. There is a strong correlation between diet and cribbing (and windsucking). Increasing the amount of long-stemmed forage (hay or pasture) available, reducing the amount of grain in the diet, offering multiple types of forage (such as adding hay cubes), and increasing the number of meals per day are possible solutions for a horse that cribs.

    Commercially available crib collars may reduce the frequency of cribbing, but are not intended to solve the cause of cribbing. ­ e use of crib collars may cause an elevation in stress hormones when compared to the stress hormones in a horse that is allowed to crib.


    Weaving is a side to side movement of the horse's head and neck which is sometimes accompanied by a lifting and lowering of the feet. Weaving is often caused by the stress of being separated from the herd or being confined to a stall. To reduce the amount of time that a horse spends weaving, increase the time spent out of the stall (i.e. in a paddock or pasture) and allow the horse to see neighboring horses when in the stall. If the horse must be confined to the stall, research has shown that installing a mirror (the mirror must be nonbreakable) will reduce the time spent weaving.

    Separation anxiety

    Separation anxiety is when a horse gets stressed (nervous) when separated from other horses. ­ e horse might neigh or scream, and be difficult to handle. When dealing with a horse with separation anxiety, try separating the horse gradually. For example, lead the horse around the pasture before leading them out of the pasture, or take the horse away and bring it back to the pasture repetitively. If you notice a loss of weight in the horse, call your veterinarian.


    Bucking is a normal behavior for horses in a herd. It is used to establish a pecking order. When being ridden, horses may buck because of discomfort in their back from poor saddle fit, an unbalanced rider, or frustration from not being able to move where they want to go. If you have a horse that bucks, make sure that it is not from physical discomfort before assuming it is a behavioral issue. Work with a reputable saddle fitter to help rule out poor saddle fit and a veterinarian to rule out injury.


    Rearing is a normal play behavior in a herd, but can be quite dangerous when done in the presence of a human. Rearing is often triggered by something specific, such as rein pressure or not wanting to go near a frightening object. If a horse rears, identify the trigger and fi nd a way to work around it safely. A calm and quiet approach is ideal because rearing is generally caused by fear or pain. Responding with negative reinforcement could make the behavior worse. Training the horse to go forward on cue is important in reducing the reoccurrence of rearing.

    Head shaking

    Headshaking is when the horse repetitively shakes its head for no obvious reason. ­ ere are many potential causes for headshaking, such as nerve pain, ear mites, dental problems, allergies, or disease. One change that may reduce headshaking is to keep the horse away from fl ies and out of the sun (another common trigger). ­ ere are commercially available nose nets for reducing headshaking while riding. ­ ese are thought to be helpful in alleviating nerve pain, and have been proven to reduce the incidence of headshaking.

    Wood chewing

    Wood chewing is a common behavior in horses. Chewing the wood on stalls or fence posts can be frustrating for the horse owner and may cause further problems if the horse swallows splinters or wears their teeth down in the process. Horses who spend abnormal amounts of time chewing wood may be suffering from an unbalanced diet, specifically inadequate forage intake. Increasing the amount of long-stemmed forage (hay or pasture) available, reducing the amount of grain in the diet, offering multiple types of forage (such as adding hay cubes), and feeding more, small meals per day are possible solutions for a horse that chews wood. If a horse will not stop chewing wood, try covering the surface with a material that will not splinter or wear the teeth down (i.e. rubber).

    Editors: Harlan Anderson, DVM; Ron DelVecchio, PhD, University of Minnesota - Crookston; Sue Kelly, Nutrena; Brenda Postels, Betsy Gilkerson Wieland, Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota Extension; Missie Schwartz, MN Horse Council and Tucker Road Stables; and Jenifer Nadeau, PhD, University of Connecticut

    Photo Credits: Figures 1 and 3, Julie Christie, Rochester Community and Technical College; Figure 2, Mark MacDonald; and Figure 4, Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota Extension.

    *Julie is an instructor at Rochester Community and Technical College and received her master degree in Equine Welfare from the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. ­ e University of Minnesota is pleased to have Julie write this fact sheet.


    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 >>>

  • Myth: A Shiny Horse is a Healthy Horse

    Written by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

    Fat from any source will make your horse shiny. A fatty substance called sebum, secreted from the sebaceous glands in your horse’s skin, increases when the diet is higher in fat. It coats the hair, making it reflect the sun’s rays. But any fat will do; the type of dietary fat doesn’t matter when it comes to making the hair coat shine. But it sure does matter when it comes to your horse’s health.

    The converse is true – A healthy horse is a shiny horse... As long as he’s shiny for the right reason – because you are feeding the right type of fat!

    With so many feeds and supplements available, where do you start?

    Start with what comes naturally

    Fresh grass contains 2-3% unsaturated fat consisting of a variety of fatty acids that vary in their chemical profile. There are two specific essential fatty acids that the horse’s body cannot produce and therefore must be in his diet: The omega 3 known as alpha linolenic acid (ALA), and the omega 6 known as linoleic acid. Grasses contain both of these in a 4:1 ratio of ALA to linoleic acid. Most commercially prepared horse diets, however, have an inverted ratio of these two fatty acids because high omega 6 fat sources (such as soybean and corn oils) are added to boost the fat concentration. When the omega 6 content exceeds the omega 3 content, you are asking for trouble.

    Linoleic acid leads to inflammation

    While some linoleic acid is important, too much can exacerbate your horse’s inflammatory response. Horses who are in training, working, or performing produce inflammation in their joints and muscles that can worsen when high amounts of linoleic acid are present. The aging joints of older horses are more painful when this omega 6 fatty acid is fed in large amounts. And inflammation leads to oxidative stress, which can damage all tissues throughout the body.

    ALA reduces inflammation

    Omega 3s block the formation of inflammatory molecules that are readily formed from omega 6s. Take a close look at the fat sources you are feeding to confirm that enough omega 3s are in the diet. Read the ingredients and note the concentrations. Manufacturers of products that are high in soybean oil, for example, will often tout that the product contains omega 3s. This is true, but misleading. Soybean oil does contain about 7% omega 3s. But what they don’t tell you is that 50% of the fatty acids in soybean oil are from linoleic acid (omega 6). Coconut oil is popular, but it has no omega 3s. Therefore, if you feed this as your only source of fat, your horse will become deficient in this essential fatty acid. He’ll be very shiny, but he will be unhealthy. Coconut oil is more than 90% saturated, with a smidgen of linoleic acid. The saturated fatty acids exist mostly as medium chain triglycerides, which is controversial because these types of fatty acids do not exist in grasses. The table below provides a better understanding of oils and oily feeds:


    Approximate Fatty Acid Percentage in Oils and Oily Feeds
    Oils/Feeds Saturated Monounsaturated (Omega 9i) Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3ii)
    Coconut oil 91 6 3 0
    Canola oil 7 54 30 7
    Chia seeds 10 7 19 55
    Corn oil 17 24 59 0
    Flaxseeds 9 19 14 58
    Hempseedsiii 10 12 57 18
    Olive oil 16 75 8 1
    Rice bran 17 48 35 1
    Sunflower seeds 12 16 71 1
    Soybean oil 15 26 50 7
    Wheat germ 18 25 50 5


    Hay has virtually no fatty acid content

    Once fresh grass is cut, dried and stored, the naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids are destroyed by oxygen. If hay is the predominant forage source for your horse, it is critical that you add a fat source that offers more omega 3s than omega 6s. Ground flaxseed or chia seeds are best for omega 3s. When supplementing, limit the amount fed to no more than 1/2 cup per 400 lbs of body weight (120 ml per 180 kg of body weight). The dosage for flaxseed oil should be 1.5 tablespoons per 400 lbs of body weight (22.5 ml per 180 kg body weight).

    Not all equines are the same

    Equines such as ponies, minis, donkeys, and mules cannot tolerate as much fat as horses. They require some fat, but generally 1/3 to 1/2 the amount given to horses, proportionate to their weight.

    Bottom line

    Read the ingredient label on any feed or supplement designed to add more fat to your horse’s diet. The ingredients may be imbalanced. While it will make your horse shine, it may do nothing to contribute to overall health and worse, may actually increase inflammation.


    iOmega 9s are another classification of fatty acids that do not promote inflammation and may protect the heart and blood vessels. iiFish oils are also high in omega 3s. However, ALA from plants is converted to the longer chain omega 3s found in fish oils. iiiHempseeds also contain the beneficial omega 6 fatty acid known as Gamma Linolenic Acid, which reduces inflammation.

    Permission to reprint this article  is granted, provided by Dr. Getty.

    Dr. Getty provides a world of useful information for the horseperson at Sign up for her informative, free monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; search her nutrition forum; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. And for the growing community of horse owners and managers who allow their horses free choice forage feeding, Dr. Getty has set up a special forum as a place for support, celebrations, congratulations, and idea sharing. Share your experiences at Reach Dr. Getty directly at

  • Omega Fields Spokesperson, Hallie Hanssen VGBRA Futurity & Stallion Incentive Success

    Newton, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to congratulate and announce one of its spokespeople, Hallie Hanssen for a successful VBGRA Futurity & Stallion Incentive, April 11th weekend. Hallie and Overthemoonforaguy, owned by Jayme Robision were Reserve Champions including  winning the 1st Go in the Futurity & Stallion Incentive. They also placed 3rd in the 1D Sat. Open, earning over $13,000 over the weekend. Hallie and French Streakin Izzy owned by Tom and Barb Westover were 4th in the futurity averaged and 2nd in the 2nd Go earning over $11,000.  Hallie uses Omega Fields Omega Horseshine and Omega SureGut on 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® is recognized as a minority-owned business. Its 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, goat, 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 Is A Proud Sponsor of Horsemanship Radio

    Horsemanship Radio Interviews Internationally Renowned Trainers

    January 31, 2015 Solvang, California: The Horsemanship Radio Show is an online radio show dedicated to the exploration of good horsemanship throughout the world. Recent guests have included William Reynolds, Equine Media Influencer, Greg M. Simon, Prix de West Chairman, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Chris Morris, Monty Roberts Certified Instructor, England, Christiane Schwagrzinna, Equine Alternative Therapy, Germany, Angie Sheer, Equine Alternative Therapy for Veterans, Dr. Sue Cain, author of Horse Sense for Leaders, and Alan T. Hill of Back Country Horse Association (BCHA).

    Since launching in the fall of 2013, Monty Roberts, Joel Baker, Charlotte Bredahl, Dr. Robert Miller, Ada Gates, Joe Camp, Phillip Ralls, Carrie Scrima, Sean McCarthy, Sandy Collier, Mark Herthel, Julie Malick, Leigh Wills and Ann Lindberg have all contributed their knowledge of horsemanship. Title sponsored by Index Fund Advisors with show sponsors and Hosted by Debbie Roberts Loucks (Monty Roberts' daughter) the show includes segments, tips and interviews exploring good horsemanship. is the fastest growing program on the Horse Radio Network which dominates horse programming podcasting in the United States. A podcast is nothing more than a radio show online. The advantage over regular radio is the many choices of how and when to listen to the shows. With podcasts people can listen on the website using the players in each show listings or by downloading the free app and listen on their ’smart’ phones. The shows are found in iTunes for free. It is all about choices. People listen while cleaning stalls, on a trail ride, or driving to a horse show.

    Monty Roberts offered that “The time had come for the cross-discipline concepts of non-violent training be shared on the airwaves." He added that he supports the efforts of the Horse Radio Network and Horsemanship Radio.

    Glenn Hebert of Horse Radio Network has been pleased with the response the show is getting and produces and shares air time on the show as well as his wife and partner Jenn Hebert, long time horsewomen herself.

    Host Debbie Roberts Loucks shared that 'Feel good about the direction horsemanship is going' is the byline of the show and promised encouraging trends in the industry to be espoused in every episode. The shows are aired the 15th and 30th of every month and can be found here: Or people can also search for the Horsemanship Radio on the Horse Radio Network here: or download the app here:

    People can find it free on iTunes:
    And Android:

    The New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts is available for interviews.
    MONTY ROBERTS first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world's championships in the show ring. Today, Monty's goal is to share his message that "Violence is never the answer." Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA "Founders" award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training.
    DEBBIE ROBERTS LOUCKS joined her parents, Monty and Pat Roberts, in 2002 to build Monty Roberts’ international training schedule and oversee their publishing, product development and licensing. Monty Roberts is the world renowned Horse Whisperer and New York Times Bestselling author of The Man Who Listens to Horses. Pat Roberts is an internationally acclaimed sculptress of horses. A graduate of UCLA, Debbie has extensive experience in marketing as well as new business development. Debbie’s life-long work with horses, as well as her commitment with Monty to advance his concepts, uniquely qualifies her to extend the MPRI brand into a global leadership organization which has impacted millions of individuals, companies, organizations, governments and industries. She is credited with developing the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is already being considered the most effective educational tool for horsemen on the web. Learn more about Debbie at
    Join-Up philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world, from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit . Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military highlighting the therapeutic effect that horses and Monty Roberts' Join-Up® have on PTSD. Roberts has teamed with The Corporate Learning Institute to help transfer the key learning’s from his work to the workplace.
    Photos available upon request

  • Omega Fields Announces Pat Parelli’s Endorsement of New Omega SureGut Probiotic/Prebiotic Digestive Health Product

    Newton, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to announce Pat Parelli’s ( endorsement of its new probiotic product “Omega SureGut” ( Pat Parelli was experiencing intestinal difficulties with a horse named “Freckles”, here is what Pat has to say about Omega SureGut; “Freckles came to Pat’s Performance Barn from a neighboring ranch in Colorado. He was 10 years old then and had been used as a ranch gelding. Freckles is a very well bred horse, he is by CD Olena (NCHA Futurity Champion, NCHA Horse of the Year, $14mio Sire) and out of a daughter of Freckles Playboy. When he first arrived at Pat’s Performance Barn, he smelled badly from his gut and had loose stool. After experimenting with several different supplements and feeds, we finally found a supplement that supports Freckles’ digestive system the best. Feeding SUREGUT has improved not only Freckles’ stool and has gotten rid of the bad smell but has also helped his overall condition and well-being. Over the past 2 years, Pat and his team developed Freckles through the Parelli Program and trained him for Cutting. Since then, Freckles has carried Pat and his protégée Elli to many successes in the cutting pen, earning $12,000 and playing a major role in Elli’s journey into the Top 15 of the NCHA 2,000 Limit Rider class.” We are thrilled to see these types of results from horses all over the country and especially from someone with the extensive horsemanship experience as Pat Parelli” said Moriarty – Omega Fields President.

    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® is recognized as a minority-owned business. Its 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, goat, 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, Inc. • (920) 550-4061 ext. 119 •,

  • Harvesting ditch hay

    Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, U of M

    Harvesting ditch hay (grass and legumes growing alongside the roadways) is a common practice, especially in western Minnesota. Ditch hay provides livestock owners with forage suitable for beef cattle, dairy heifers and horses. However, in recent years, there have been several cases of significant soybean injury as a result of manure applications from livestock fed ditch hay that was treated with picloram or clopyralid. This injury has reduced grain yields, and in some cases, resulted in total yield loss.

    Photo by Bruce Potter Photo by Bruce Potter

    Picloram (commonly sold as Tordon, Grazon, and Pathway) and clopyralid (commonly sold as Stinger, Curtail, and Transline) are used to control unwanted broadleaf weeds on cropland, rangeland, pastures, and along roadways. These herbicides are especially popular with local, county, and state highway departments because they control hard-to-kill noxious weeds like thistles and leafy spurge but do not kill beneficial or planted roadway grasses. Recently labeled herbicides containing the active ingredient aminopyralid (commonly sold as Milestone, Milestone VM, and ForeFront R&P) are beginning to replace picloram and clopyralid in many roadside treatment programs due to increased Canada thistle control with aminopyralid. Aminopyralid is in the same herbicide family as picloram and clopyralid, and poses the same potential to cause injury to broadleaf crops from contaminated manures. However, sensitive crop injury from aminopyralid contaminated manure has not yet been reported in Minnesota.

    When animals are fed ditch hay that has been treated with either picloram or clopyralid, these chemicals pass quickly through the animal without significant degradation and end up in the manure via the urine, usually within a day or two. Manure application to agricultural production fields is a beneficial and common practice. However, if sensitive crops (i.e. soybeans, lentils, peas, legumes, potatoes, tomatoes or peppers) are planted in fields where contaminated manure has been applied, injury or crop death can occur. Injured plants can exhibit twisting (epinasty), leaf cupping, and loss of apical dominance, resulting in short plants and abnormal side shoots.

    Labels of many products containing picloram and clopyralid list restrictions that ditch hay harvesters and feeders need to be aware of:

    1. Manure and urine containing these herbicides may cause injury to sensitive broadleaf plants
    2. Since plant material containing these products does not break down more rapidly in compost, treated plant material containing these products should not be used in or for compost
    3. Picloram and/or clopyralid contaminated manure and/or compost should not be spread on land used for growing susceptible crops. Contaminated manure may be spread onto fields that will be planted to grass crops (i.e. corn, small grains, or sorghum sudan forage).Both picloram and clopyralid are persistent and mobile in the soil, readily absorbed and translocated throughout the plant, and remain chemically stable and intact in plants. Both herbicides have been detected in the groundwater, but only picloram has been detected in Minnesota groundwater. Because of their persistence in the soil, products containing clopyralid and picloram often carry a crop rotation restriction of up to 18 months for sensitive broadleaf crops, or approximately two growing seasons in Minnesota. Researchers in other states who have dealt with treated ditch hay issues insist that relying solely on herbicide label restrictions is not enough to protect sensitive crops treated with contaminated manure or compost. They recommend soil analysis to detect clopyralid and picloram prior to planting sensitive crops. Composting or storing manure that contains clopyralid, picloram, and/or aminopyralid may not speed herbicide degradation, as these products do not break down quickly in compost. The concentration of these herbicides in relation to the organic matter can actually increase while the manure is initially stored or composted. Currently, it is believed that clopyralid can remain in manure, forage/feedstuffs or compost for several years. Therefore, composting contaminated manure is not a solution. However, you can spread contaminated manure/compost on fields that will be planted to a non-sensitive crop like corn, sorghum or small grains. Farmers need a permit to hay highway areas that MN Department of Transportation (MN DOT) owns. Permits are not needed on roadways where only an easement is owned by MN DOT. The permit is free, and by contacting MN DOT and obtaining the permit, the farmer will be notified of any cutting restrictions that are due to herbicide use, wildlife habitat designation and/or calendar date restrictions. For contact information regarding the permit, visit: Roadways owned by county and local governments have their own regulations, and farmers should contact their County or Township to obtain any cutting restriction information prior to harvest. References
    4. Anatek Labs Inc (208-883-2839) in Idaho and Morse Laboratories Inc (916-481-3141) in California will test forage and soil samples for the presence of clopyralid to 1 part per billion (ppb) and will screen for the presence of picloram. It is important to contact the companies for instructions on correctly sampling forage and soil for these tests.
    5. Better awareness and communication is needed between local, county, and state highway departments and farmers harvesting, feeding and selling ditch hay. If you are harvesting ditch hay, develop a working relationship with your county weed inspector or highway department to: 1) identify which herbicides are used in the roadside weed control program, 2) determine which roadsides are spot treated and if some areas have broadcast treatments, and 3) dates when roadsides will be treated. By working together with local, county, and state agencies, hay harvesters can reduce the risk of harvesting forages with unwanted herbicide residues. If the harvest and/or grazing restrictions for the herbicides are communicated to and followed by farmers harvesting ditch hay, the forage can be fed to livestock without contaminating manure.
    6. Even though these products cause injury to sensitive crops, there is no documented history of human or livestock toxicity by picloram or clopyralid.
    7. Herbicide labels for products containing picloram and clopyralid may have slightly different warnings or recommendations based on the product formulation and/or active ingredient concentration. Because of this, it is important to read and understand each herbicide label. Some examples of warning and recommendations for these products include: do not allow lactating dairy animals to graze treated areas within 7 days after application; meat animals should be withdrawn from treated fields at least 3 days before slaughter; do not harvest or cut the forage within 30 days after application; and do not plant sensitive broadleaf crops in treated areas until a sensitive bioassay shows that no detectable herbicide is present in the soil. Always refer to the label for specific restrictions and recommendations. If all directions on the herbicide label are carefully followed, sensitive crop injury from manure applications should not occur.
    1. Bezdicek, D., M. Fauci, D. Caldwell, and R. Finch. 2000. Compost Quality: New Threats from Persistent Herbicides. Agrichemical and Environmental News, October 2000, Issue No. 174.
    2. Cox, C. 1998. Picloram, Herbicide Fact Sheet. Journal of Pesticide Reform, 18:1 pages 13-20.
    3. Cox, C. 1998. Clopyralid, Herbicide Fact Sheet. Journal of Pesticide Reform, 18:4 pages 15-19.
    4. Reviewers: Jeff Gunsolus, PhD, and Carlyle Holen, PhD, University of Minnesota.

    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 >>>

  • Old Fort Days

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Hallie Hanssen Event

    Ft. Smith, AR

  • Omega Fields Announces Sponsorship of Horsemanship Radio

    Omega Fields Announces Sponsorship of Horsemanship Radio

    Newton, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. announces that it will be one of the sponsors of the Horsemanship Radio program ( featured on Horses In the Morning radio podcast (  Horsemanship Radio is hosted by Debbie Loucks, daughter of pioneer natural horseman, Monty Roberts.  Horsemanship Radio is aired on the 15th and 30th of each month and is downloaded over 10,000 times each month.

    Omega Fields ( has received a very strong personal testimony from Monty’s wife Pat, regarding her horse “Cadillac”.  She states, “That is the fastest turnaround I've ever watched in a horse that arrived in poor condition and looks so good already today. Cadillac's weight today is #1,087, which is a net weight gain of 149lbs since October 14, 2014 when he started on the Omega program. If you look back at the photos first taken, there is a 100% improvement. Note we will need more Omega ASAP to keep this horse on a program that is working superbly! I can't believe how fast he turned around the minute we put him on the Omega product. His eyes are clearer, his coat is shinier, but most of all he appears happy once again. Thank you Omega!”  “We are looking forward to a long lasting partnership with Monty, Pat & Debbie and Horsemanship Radio” said Sean Moriarty – Omega Fields President.  You can learn more about Monty Roberts’s natural horsemanship at; or

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