The Horse

NOV 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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72 November 2018 The Horse | solutions at Purina Animal Nutrition, in Gray Summit, Missouri. That includes general feeding recommendations. Although feeding instructions are not comprehensive, says Young, they do carry the message to feed as a reward or treat to adult horses, and ingredients are also listed on the packaging. Timing of Treats Whatever food items they prefer, Fos- ter says to consider your horses' natural feeding cycle when selecting treats. Because by nature they eat all day, she says, it is not necessary to provide what she calls "high-value" food as part of their training. "Many horses are just as motivated with chaff or hay as something less high- value and … something that they have to take time to chew," Foster says. "There's a certain satisfaction (for horses) in chewing." She also suggests owners discourage begging or other unwanted behaviors simply by refraining from feeding treats by hand. "Instead, put the food into a bucket and offer it," she says. In addition, Foster suggests owners reward horses after an extensive groom- ing session in a way that does not include feeding a treat. "For example, when you give a horse a bath, you can reward him instead by letting him graze for 5 or 10 minutes," she says. "If the bath ends with a positive experience, the horse's memory of it will be more positive, as well." If you do feed special foods or com- mercial treats that are rich and high in calories, Foster recommends changing the kind of reward you use for training to one that's lower-value than what you offer in other situations. Finally, horse lovers should practice good treat-feeding protocol by always obtaining owners' permission before feed- ing their horses treats—or anything else, for that matter. That means refraining from passing out treats to every horse in the barn. "First of all, horses in a boarding barn know that they will get treats from a certain person, and they will come to demand it by popping out of a corner, calling, or even kicking the wall of a stall," Foster says. "Also, you never know if a horse is on a special diet or has special health issues and should not be fed any treats in the first place." Take-Home Message Ultimately, Staniar believes owners should learn what comprises the bulk of their horses' diets before deciding how treats figure into their dietary scheme. "The order is—in addition to water— forage, grain or feed, and supplements," he says. "So pay attention to the largest portion of your horse's diet and know about the quality and quantity of the hay you're feeding and the quality of the pasture (your horse is on), then pay attention to supplements they get, including treats." At the same time, Foster believes owners should understand their own reasons for adding treats to their horses' diets. "Remember, horses don't need treats— in fact some people don't feed their horses treats at all," Foster says. "But many of us want to give our horses treats partly because we associate food with building and maintaining relationships, and that's okay. Just be sure that when you do feed treats to your horse, to do it mindfully." h NUTRITION PAM MACKENZIE Feeding horses treats at the wrong time can unintentionally reinforce undesirable behaviors such as pawing, begging, and nosing human pockets. PROVEN PROTECTION FOR LEAKY GUT © Kemin Industries, Inc. and its group of companies 2018. All rights reserved. ®™ Trademarks of Kemin Industries, Inc., U.S.A. Learn More at

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