Steaming’s Effect Horse Hay

Steaming’s Effect Horse Hay Studied
By Casie Bazay, BS, NBCAAM

Soaking hay in water is a common practice used to reduce dust and non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) levels for horses with respiratory or metabolic conditions. But soaking can leach essential nutrients, such as phosphorus and magnesium, from hay and be labor-intensive.

In the last few years hay steaming has gained popularity as a soaking alternative, but how does it compare to soaking? University of Minnesota researchers, who recently studied soaking’s effect on hay, set out to answer that question.

“We had been receiving many questions from horse owners and professionals about the effectiveness of steaming on forage quality and no data (that we could find) existed,” explained Krishona Martinson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science.

The group set out to evaluate steaming’s effects on four factors:

Nutritive values, including dry mater (DM), crude protein, water soluble carbohydrates (WSC), ethanol soluble carbohydrates (ESC), calcium, and phosphorus among others;
Mold concentrations;
Airborne dust particles (TSP, or total suspended particulates); and
Horses’ voluntary dry matter (DM) intake.
Two hay producers harvested two lots of alfalfa-orchardgrass small-square bales at different moisture levels. The researchers randomly selected 40 bales from each lot and took core samples from 26 bales in each lot to analyze.

Then, the team classified the bales as having either low mold (LM) or medium mold (MM) concentrations. Researchers then selected 10 LM and 10 MM bales to steam for 90 minutes using The Professional Hay Steamer by Happy Horse Products, Ltd. Samples from the steamed bales were also analyzed.

Finally, the team fed six adult horses steamed and un-steamed LM and MM hay in a 10-day crossover design to measure the animals’ hay intake. Horses received both steamed and un-steamed hay from one lot simultaneously for a 2-hour period each day.

The team concluded that steaming hay:

Reduced the DM concentration for LM and MM hay, by 14 and 11%, respectively;
Reduced WSC by 12% and ESC by 31% in MM hay, but had no effect on WSC or ESC in LM hay;
Did not affect other measured nutritive values in MM or LM hay;
Reduced mold concentrations in by 99% in LM hay and 91% in MM hay; and
Considerably reduced TSP in MM hay (by 55%) but did not affect TSP in LM hay.
Additionally, the researchers found that steaming did not increase horses’ MM hay intake, but horses did consume more LM hay after steaming. Martinson explained this could be because steaming kills the mold, but doesn’t remove it: “If mold had an unpalatable flavor …. its mere presence, whether dead or alive, likely affected forage intake rates.”

Martinson said the main benefit of steaming appears to be the increase in consumption of good-quality hay. She added that “steamed hay might be useful for horses recovering from surgery, malnourished horses, older horses with poor teeth, or picky eaters.”

Martinson said soaking is likely “more affordable and a better solution when managing horses with respiratory issues or when the goal is leaching out NSC (for horse with laminitis, EMS, obesity) or potassium (for horses with HYPP).”

The study, “Effect of hay steaming on forage nutritive value and dry matter intake by horses,” was published in the December issue of Journal of Animal Science. 

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.

Effect of different head-neck positions on physical and psychological stress parameters in the ridden horse.

Effect of different head-neck positions on physical and psychological stress parameters in the ridden horse.

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2013 Dec 13;

Authors: Zebisch A, May A, Reese S, Gehlen H

Different head-neck positions (HNPs) are used in equestrian sports and are regarded as desirable for training and competition by riders, judges and trainers. Even though some studies have been indicative of hyperflexion having negative effects on horses, this unnatural position is frequently used. In the present study, the influence of different HNPs on physical and psychological stress parameters in the ridden horse was investigated. Heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV) and blood cortisol levels were measured in 18 horses. Low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) are power components in the frequency domain measurement of HRV which show the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Values were recorded at rest, while riding with a working HNP and while riding with hyperflexion of the horse’s head, neck and poll. In addition, rideability and behaviour during the different investigation stages were evaluated by the rider and by an observer. Neither the HR nor the HRV showed a significant difference between working HNP (HR = 105 ± 22/min; LF/HF = 3.89 ± 5.68; LF = 37.28 ± 10.77%) and hyperflexion (HR = 110 ± 18; LF/HF = 1.94 ± 2.21; LF = 38.39 ± 13.01%). Blood cortisol levels revealed a significant increase comparing working HNP (158 ± 60 nm) and hyperflexion (176 ± 64 nm, p = 0.01). The evaluation of rider and observer resulted in clear changes of rideability and behavioural changes for the worse in all parameters collected between a working HNP and hyperflexion. In conclusion, changes of the cortisol blood level as a physical parameter led to the assumption that hyperflexion of head, neck and poll effects a stress reaction in the horse, and observation of the behaviour illustrates adverse effects on the well-being of horses during hyperflexion.
PMID: 24329719 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

2013 NCHA World Championship Futurity Pays Millions

The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, known as one of the world’s richest equine events, wrapped up the 2013 show on Sat., Dec. 14, sending hundreds home with hefty rewards in titles, cash and prizes.  Clay Johnson of Stephenville, Texas, took home the prestigious Open Championship title worth $200,000 when he rode Dual Smart Kitty to a 224.5 for owners Rusty and Shelley Simpson, Nemo, Texas.

In conjunction with the much-anticipated event was the Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales, which came just $47 short of reaching an all-time record when the average landed at $21,323. A Smooth Satin Doll garnered $210,000 at the new Select Yearling Sale & Gala to serve as the high seller of the event for consigner Tommy Manion of Aubrey, Texas.

The Best of the West shopping, numerous events, such as parties, live music and the NCHA Then & Now forum that discussed how the NCHA judging system has evolved throughout the years, kept competitors and spectators entertained throughout the duration of the 21-day event. There were hundreds of international visitors who attended this year’s Futurity, and thousands flocked from within the United States to watch the equine action unfold.

The Open division saw a blast of 608 entries and paid out a total of $2.1 million, bringing the show total to more than 1,900 entries, which was a increase of 97 entries compared to the 2012 event. T.J. Good, who was also competing for the first time in the Open finals, finished as the Reserve Open Champion aboard Stunned, owned by Jackson Land and Cattle, with a 222.5 for $110,159.

The John Deere Open crowned Wayne Robinson, Millsap, Texas, and Cat Sheree, a mare owned by Bill Paxton, Tallulah, La., as Champions, sending the pair home with $24,563. The two advanced in a field of 247 to make the 20-horse finals. In the Non-Pro, seasoned competitor Craig Crumpler of Wichita Falls, Texas, rode Junie Wood to a 220.5 to seal the title and earn $56,825. Kelle Chartier, Cottrellville, Mo., marked a 219 on Thankyamuch to earn Reserve honors and $54,067.

This year’s Non-Pro Futurity welcomed more than 300 entries and reached a total payout of more than $1 million. In the Limited Non-Pro, 14-year-old Sheridan Clark, daughter of trainer Jason Clark and non-pro competitor Becky Clark, posted a 220 to take home $11,601 aboard Meradas Puddy Cat among 164 entries.

New to the NCHA Futurity, the Unlimited Amateur division welcomed 186 participants. Kayla Norris, Hattiesburg, Miss., and her gelding, CD Kual Gun, topped the competition with a 219 to earn $3,402. The Amateur division paid Marco Sacchetti of Italy $4,793 for his win aboard Puddy Lil Puppy with a 219. Combined, the two Amateur divisions catered to nearly 380 entries.

The NCHA World Championship Futurity will take to the airwaves on rural America’s most important network, RFD-TV, Dec. 21 and 23. The $4 million competition for 3-year-old cutting horses will be made available to more than 61 million households across the United States.

The Futurity broadcast will include highlights from all divisions and the Open division in its entirety. The show will air just in time for holiday viewing Dec. 21 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern and again at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Monday, Dec. 23.

Risk factors associated with health disorders in sport and leisure horses in the Netherlands.

Risk factors associated with health disorders in sport and leisure horses in the Netherlands.

J Anim Sci. 2013 Dec 18;

Authors: Visser EK, Neijenhuis F, de Graaf-Roelfsema E, Wesselink HG, de Boer J, van Wijhe-Kiezebrink MC, Engel B, van Reenen CG

Horses are used for a wide variety of purposes from being used for recreational purposes to competing at an international level. With these different uses, horses have to adapt to numerous challenges and changes in their environment, which can be a challenge itself in continuously safeguarding their welfare. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of health disorders with clinical examination and identify possible risk factors of health disorders affecting horse welfare in professional husbandry systems in the Netherlands. With the use of fixed protocols for recording health aspects in horses, 150 horse farms voluntarily participating in the study were assessed by trained assessors. On each farm 20 horses were clinically examined, in total almost 3000 animals. This study recorded on basis of the clinical examinations: the respiratory system (i.e. abnormal breathing (1%), coughing (1%), nasal discharge (1.9%)), body condition (i.e. 18.8% fat body condition and 6.4% poor body condition), locomotion (14.5% exhibited irregularity of locomotion and 4.8% were lame), back palpation (a light response 22.6% and moderate to severe response 8.4%), mouth (i.e. irregularities on mouth corners (3.4 %) and bars (3.4 %)), and ocular discharge (12%). Risk factor analysis, stepwise using mixed model regression, demonstrated several risk factors for health aspects. Horses used for instruction (riding lessons) were almost two times more at risk to develop moderate to severe back pain compared to horses used for recreation (OR = 0.54) or for competition (OR = 0.61). Horses used for instruction (riding school lessons), breeding or recreation all had a higher risk for irregular locomotion or lameness compared to competition horses (OR = 0.42, OR = 0.55, OR = 2.14 respectively). Horses used for recreation were more prone to have a higher Body Condition Score compared to horses used for breeding (OR = 3.07) and instruction (OR = 2.06). The prevalences of health problems and the identified risk factors are valid for the horses in the present study in which farms voluntarily participated. Furthermore, the results may provide the basis for horse welfare and health programs on farm and horse industry levels. With the development of a valid welfare monitoring system for the horse industry, the welfare of horses can be increased through improving awareness and stimulating changes in management.
PMID: 24352963

Arcese Quarter Horses USA Surpasses Two Million

Arcese Quarter Horses USA Surpasses Two Million

Quarter Horse News / by (Press Release)

Eleuterio Arcese
The reining world is accustomed to seeing milestones shattered during the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show (NAAC). This year’s event proved no different with an NRHA first going into the record books: Arcese Quarter Horses USA became NRHA’s first Two Million Dollar Owner. The operation, based in Weatherford, Texas, officially has $2,007,400 in earnings.

ARC Walla Dun Did It and NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani added more than $35,000 to Arcese’s total with a go-round placing and a top ten finish in the Level (L) 4 Open Finals. To make the accomplishment that much sweeter, the stallion was sired by their very own Walla Walla Whiz.

Eleuterio Arcese, of Arcese Quarter Horses USA, has worked to promote the sport of Reining in Europe for more than twenty years through his involvement with NRHA, the Italian Reining Horse Association, and the Italian Quarter Horse Association. The NRHA Hall of Fame member has been host to multiple reining clinics and sponsored major NRHA and AQHA reining events in Europe. As an avid breeder of performance horses, Arcese has influenced breeding programs at his facilities in Italy as well as in the United States.

Outstanding reining horses owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA include 2007 NRHA Futurity, 2008 NRBC and 2008 NRHA Derby Champion Wimpys Little Chic, plus the likes of Americasnextgunmodel, Gunnatrashya, Walla Walla Whiz, Custom Mahogany, Electrical Flash, Whizs Chic A Dee, Yankee Gun, Saturdaynight Custom and Custom Lena. Eleuterio, along with his children Leonardo, Paola and Matteo, have created a reining legacy in Arcese Quarter Horses USA.

Evaluation of the safety of a combination of oral administration of phenylbutazone and firocoxib in horses.

Evaluation of the safety of a combination of oral administration of phenylbutazone and firocoxib in horses.

J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Dec 20;

Authors: Kivett L, Taintor J, Wright J

Simultaneous administration of a nonselective COX inhibitor and a COX-2 specific NSAID has not been previously reported in horses. The goal of this study was to determine the safety of a 10-day dosage regimen of phenylbutazone and firocoxib, both at their standard dosages, in horses. Six horses were administered 2.2 mg/kg of phenylbutazone and 0.1 mg/kg of firocoxib by mouth, daily for 10 days. Horses were assessed daily for changes in behavior, appetite, fecal consistency, signs of abdominal pain, and oral mucous membrane ulceration. Horses were assessed prior to and on the last day of treatment for changes in serum creatinine, albumin, total protein, and urine-specific gravity. Horses underwent endoscopic examination of the esophagus, stomach, and pylorus prior to and 24 hours after the last treatment. A significant change in serum creatinine and total protein was observed on day 10 of treatment. No other significant findings were noted during the experiment. Results indicated that co-administration of phenylbutazone and firocoxib may cause renal disease.
PMID: 24354928

Equinosis Gait Evaluation System

Rogue Equine Hospital is pleased to introduce the Equinosis® Gait Evaluation System.  It is the culmination of almost 20 years of research on gait analysis at the University of Missouri’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering with the support of the E. Paige Laurie Endowed Program in Equine Lameness. The system objectively detects and quantifies body movement asymmetry in a horse using small, wireless, body-mounted inertial sensors and a hand-held tablet PC. Instrumentation of the horse is quick, easy, and completely non-invasive. Data collection is in real time and veterinarians are free to perform their usual lameness evaluation routine without distraction.

see more at: or call the office @ 541.826.9001.

Manuka Honey and Wound Care

Manuka Honey and Wound Care
by Nancy Loving

With increasing emphasis by horse owners on approaching their horses’ health issues through more “holistic” and “natural” strategies, one such “natural” and relatively inexpensive treatment might include the use of honey for wound care. As a veterinarian you need to understand the physical and financial aspects of potentially using this option.

Honey application to cutaneous wounds is far from a “new” treatment; honey has been used since Egyptian times dating as far back as 2,000 B.C. as a means of managing wounds and inhibiting bacterial infection.

Yet it is important to know that not all honey is created equal. Manuka honey, derived from floral sources Leptosperum spp in New Zealand and Australia, has specific antibacterial and antioxidant properties that are absent in other honeys. Manuka honey is reported to have osmotic and pH effects; for example, it creates a more acidic pH environment that counteracts the alkaline pH of an infected wound, which is helpful for wound contraction. By lowering wound pH, protease activity is decreased and fibroblast activity and oxygen release are increased, all of which facilitate wound healing.

In addition, while bacterial-generated biofilm is known to impair healing, manuka honey has potent anti-biofilm properties: methylglyoxal, the bactericidal component of manuka honey, kills biofilm-embedded bacteria.

With the resurgence of the use of honey for wound care, licensed, medical-grade manuka honey is commercially available in therapeutic wound dressings: Medihoney  (Derma Sciences) and Active Manuka Honey UMF 18+ (Manuka Honey USA). A medical-grade product is one that has been “sterilized by gamma irradiation and has a standardized antibacterial activity.”

Use of non-sterilized honey has the potential to contaminate a wound with aerobic bacteria or fungi, therefore it should not be used.

Application of medical-grade manuka honey on a wound has the potential to reduce both the duration and expense of systemic antibiotic treatment while achieving favorable therapeutic results for the patient and client.

“Nutritional Management of Insulin Resistance in Horses”

Nutritional Management of Insulin Resistance in Horses

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse

Managing Editor December 9, 2013 8:00

When it comes to caring for insulin-resistant (IR) horses, diet plays a very important role in managing insulin levels and preventing associated diseases such laminitis. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are key features of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and can also occur in horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (or equine Cushing’s disease). These animals often need to lose weight and consume fewer carbs.

To that end, Ray Geor, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor and researcher at Michigan State University’s department of large animal clinical sciences, shared best feeding practices for IR horses at the 2013 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, held Nov. 1-3 in West Palm Beach, Fla. He first discussed weight loss, then carbohydrate consumption.

Managing Obesity

Geor explained that dietary restriction and exercise are two key components to curbing obesity in IR horses. “Dietary restriction is not rocket science,” he said. “But it requires owner/trainer compliance and patience and sticking to the program (to be successful). Diet changes are likely a lifelong pursuit, especially for horses with EMS that are easy keepers and have a tendency to become obese.”

Geor recommended owners of affected horses institute a weight loss program with the goal of improving the animal’s metabolism to reduce his risk of developing associated laminitis. He offered the following guidelines for developing a program:

Base your horse’s diet on forage or a forage substitute, and eliminate grain and calorie-dense feeds (e.g., sweet feeds) if possible. – Feed a lower-quality, low-energy forage, such as late-maturity hay, at between 60 and 80% of your horse’s daily energy requirements based on his body weight.
When feeding a low-quality forage, add a ration balancer to help your horse meet his vitamin E, copper, zinc, and other requirements. “Alternatively, forage-based, low-calorie feeds that contain added vitamins and minerals are now available commercially,” Geor said. “This type of feed offers convenience and may be used as a substitute for hay or fed as a component of the ration along with hay.”
Although all weight loss programs need to be individually tailored, as a general guide start by restricting your horse’s daily dry matter intake (DMI) to 1.5% of his body weight in total feed. The rate of weight loss will vary between horses but in general at least six to eight weeks of dietary restriction is needed for noticeable weight loss to occur, Geor said. If your horse’s weight loss response is less than desired, you might need to restrict his DMI to 1.25% body weight. If he still doesn’t lose weight after another six to eight weeks, you can restrict his DMI even further to 1% body weight, but Geor recommended never feeding lower amounts than that for health and behavior reasons. “Hay feeders and slow feeders (e.g., hay nets with multiple small holes) are one way to extend your horse’s hay supply if you’re not feeding much,” he said.
Restrict or eliminate pasture grazing using a grazing muzzle or a drylot for turnout. “It should be noted that simply restricting the time allowed for grazing may not be an effective strategy for weight loss,” Geor cautioned. “Ponies have been observed to consume up to 1% of body weight within three hours of pasture turnout.”
And as with any diet changes, make feed changes gradually and avoiding withholding food from your horse for long periods. Divide rations into three to four small meals, and do not bed a dieting horse on straw or shavings to reduce the risk of him eating them and potentially suffering an impaction, Geor said.
Geor encouraged owners to use a number of simple tools to monitor their horses’ weight loss, including body condition scoring and measurements of girth and abdominal (‘belly’) circumference. “Body condition score is not always a sensitive indicator of weight loss,” he added. “However, girth and belly circumference measurements will decrease with weight loss, and I recommend recording these measurements at three- to four-week intervals.”

But once your horse meets his targeted weight and condition, you can’t just stop there: “Develop and continually update an appropriate weight maintenance program,” Geor said. “It should include monthly assessment of body weight and BCS to ensure that the feeding program is appropriate for the current level of physical activity and other environmental influences on energy requirements.”

Controlling Carbohydrates

Veterinarians and researchers have long associated laminitis with increased nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) intake—especially in pastured horses. And because NSCs can contribute to exaggerated insulin responses, it’s particularly important to restrict their intake in IR horses.

Geor offered suggestions for controlling NSC intake:

Feed a forage-based diet with a low NSC content (less than 12%). “Soaking hay can help lower NSC levels, but it’s not a panacea,” he said.
Eliminate grain and sweet feed (both high in NSCs) from the diet.
Restrict or eliminate pasture access. At certain times of year (e.g., during spring and early summer growth periods, after summer or fall rains, or after drought or frost) pasture forages’ NSC content is quite high, so Geor advised keeping IR horses off pasture during these periods to reduce the risk of developing laminitis. He said a grazing muzzle might be the best way to safely restrict grass consumption (studies show it can decrease pasture intake by about 80%), as simply providing a smaller space to graze can lead to an overgrazed area, which will still have high NSC content due to stress. Also, “beware the ‘Hoover’ pony,” Geor said. “They can adapt and consume around 40% of their daily DMI in just two to three hours.”
In conclusion, Geor said correcting obesity and restricting NSCs are not a cure for insulin resistance but these strategies can help to prevent laminitis in affected horses.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.

Diagnoses, clinical pathology findings, and treatment outcome of geriatric horses: 345 cases (2006-2010).

Diagnoses, clinical pathology findings, and treatment outcome of geriatric horses: 345 cases (2006-2010).

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013 Dec 15;243(12):1762-8

Authors: Silva AG, Furr MO

Objective-To compare clinical, clinical pathology, and outcome variables between geriatric and nongeriatric horses. Design-Retrospective case-control study. Animals-690 horses (345 horses ≥ 20 years old and 345 horses > 1 and < 20 years old) examined at a referral hospital. Procedures-Medical records were examined, and data collected included horse description, diagnosis, outcome, and CBC and serum biochemical analysis results. Cases were horses ≥ 20 years old, and controls were horses > 1 and < 20 years old. Results-Mean ± SD age was 23.9 ± 4.6 years for cases and 9.2 ± 3.6 years for controls. Arabian and pony breeds were significantly overrepresented in the geriatric group, compared with the control group. Diagnoses related to the digestive system, musculoskeletal system, and respiratory system were most common in this hospital population overall (cases and controls). Colic was the most common health problem overall. Digestive system disorders were significantly more prevalent among cases. Short-term survival rates for most categories of colic were no different for cases than for controls, with the exception of the category idiopathic colic. Considering all conditions, cases were significantly more likely to be nonsurvivors than were controls. Minor differences in serum biochemical results were found in some disease subcategories. Geriatric horses with colic were not more commonly euthanized than were adult nongeriatric horses. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Results indicated that in this population of horses in a referral hospital, age was associated with the prevalence of specific disease conditions. Few differences between cases and controls were found in serum biochemical values. PMID: 24299549 [PubMed - in process]