I received a lovely surprise package in the post the other day! There was a horseshoe made out of chocolate and a bucket of sweets along with a gift card. It was also packaged really nicely! On the gift card it said "This plucky little pony can't wait to show you what he can do. On March 1st he'll do just that." "#danceponydance". It also mentions the Shetland Isles and has a photo of a pony's legs so I also thinking it must be something to do with a Shetland pony! It must be a new website for something, it's also something to do with 3, the mobile phone network!
Here are some photos!
I love the horseshoe, it looks really realistic! I need to found out where I can buy one if they don't sell them on the website! We will have to wait and see what it's all about.
Here is a message from the British Horse Society from earlier in the week. An easy post for me to publish while I am busy but also still very important that people recognise the symptoms. I might write next weeks Science Sunday post on this virus to give more information.
"You may have seen the recent news stories concerning an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV 1) in Gloucestershire. Two horses have been shown to have the neurological form of the disease and one the respiratory form. It appears that others are also showing signs but have yet to be definitively diagnosed. Although not a legally notifiable condition, EHV 1 is contagious and does have the potential to be quite a serious disease. Indeed, the neurological form can lead to paralysis. In most cases, EHV 1 is spread via respiratory transmission so wherever horses are brought together from different yards there is the possibility for the disease to spread if one of the horses present is affected. For this reason the Heythrop have very responsibly suspended hunting for a week. It is important to be aware that the risk of your horse contracting EHV 1 is very small and there is certainly no need to panic. However, as with any disease, spotting it early is the best thing for your horse so the BHS felt it would be useful to provide a short refresher on EHV 1 and its signs. Although aimed at a different disease (Strangles) our STEPS leaflet provides lots of useful information about quarantining and isolating horses. Many of the clinical signs of EHV 1 can be confused with other diseases. A high temperature is a key indicator and it is essential to monitor the temperature of ‘at risk’ horses. Affected horses will tend to be disinterested and off their food, as well as showing typical respiratory disease signs such as coughing and a nasal discharge. If a horse is affected by the neurological form of the disease you may see some incoordination or just general ‘wobbliness’. Should you have any concerns at all that your horse may be affected please contact your vet immediately. The BHS is part of the group that produces the HBLB Codes of Practice. There is much helpful information about EHV in the Codes which you can access here.
If anyone has any further concerns about EHV or would like more information, please contact our BHS Welfare Team on 02476 840517 or email email@example.com"
Horses with their unique and lengthy digestive tracts are known as non-ruminant, hindgut herbivores – meaning that like humans, they only have one stomach. Horses have to digest large amounts of cellulose from plant fibre – much more than humans – so they have an organ called a cecum that’s part of the large intestine, which has the function of aiding digestion with microbes.
The microbes ferment in the hindgut of the horse and produce various fatty acids. These fatty acids are an important source of nutrients for the horse.
Horses cannot be sick, other than to regurgitate food from the oesophagus. They also have a very complex large intestine. Colic, as you may very well know, is an illness that startlingly can kill your horse. This means that getting your horse’s diet correct is all the more important.
What should my horse eat?All the goodness a horse requires should come from its feed. Assuming your horse is not overweight or underweight, a good diet will consist of good pasture grass and hay, which they can quite happily exist on.
Hay will fall into two categories: legumes and grasses. Legumes will provide the horse with more nutrients than the grasses, whereas the grasses will provide the horse with more of its fibre dietary needs.
Depending upon a horse’s workload, it may be beneficial to give the horse grain for a little extra protein and energy. A horse that grazes most of the day and is ridden only occasionally will probably not need grain, but a horse that is very active and athletic certainly will benefit from a grain supplement.
Your equine friend should also have access to a salt lick, which will provide your horse with its essential electrolytes and other trace elements.
Don’t forget, your animal needs a fresh supply of safe drinking water too.
Benefits of salt licksSalt is quite a difficult substance to come by naturally when a horse is domesticated. A horse needs the salt for the same reasons we do; it helps to maintain electrolyte levels, which is essential for certain functions of the body, right down to the cellular level.
It’s also beneficial because it will help keep the horse drinking plenty of water. If they drink plenty of water, it could reduce the chances of them getting colic.
So as you can see, it’s good to let your horse have easy access to a salt lick. One of the most popular varieties is Himalayan salt.
How beneficial is Himalayan salt for horses?Himalayan salt was created around 250 million years ago when the ancient seas in that area of the world dried up. Along with the salt crystals that formed from the fertile waters of the ocean were a percentage of other minerals containing various essential elements – a total of 84 different elements and minerals.
This means that Himalayan licking salt contains many more minerals than just the sodium and chlorine ions your horse would get from normal salt.
Over the eons, geological pressures compressed and transformed the minerals and the salt together into what we mine today.
Mined from the world’s second largest salt mines at Khewra in Pakistan at the foot of the Himalayas, Himalayan rock salt is renowned the world over for being a healthy alternative for humans as much as it is for horses.
It’s very important to make sure you get your horse’s diet right; to make sure it’s not overfed, underfed, has the correct amount of minerals and vitamins, and gets enough fresh, clean water.
Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a little more insight into the dietary requirements of your horse.
Robert is from the Wirral, UK, and works for The Darlington Group in Eastham. Also known as ‘Darlies’, Darlingtons has been selling salt licks for years and now offers them in its online shop too. You can visit the Darlies website at: http://www.darlies.co.uk/.