Running Cool Blog

5 Health Problems Your Horse’s Coat Shows

Cameron Jensen - Monday, December 05, 2016

If your horse’s coat could talk, it would be able to tell you about some important health issues. Your horse’s coat health is directly influenced by their overall health and diet. In this article, we outline five common health issues indicated by poor coat health. 

1. Parasites

Any horse burdened by internal or external parasites will have a rough, dull coat. Internal parasites, like worms, compete for nutrients from your horse’s diet, depleting skin and coat health. Biting insects often leave scabs or blisters on the skin, leading to irritation and poor coat condition.

2. Fungal infections

While shedding is normal from Winter to Spring, large amounts of matting or clumping while shedding often signifies a fungal infection. One of the most common is rain scald, or rain rot, which appears in small crust-like scabs under your horse’s coat.

3. Sun and sweat exposure

Over-exposure to sun and sweat can also affect coat health, leaving it dull, irritated and overly sensitive. Sunburn, particularly in white and grey horses, is common if not avoided. Redness, peeling and severe skin damage all affect coat appearance.

4. Glandular problems

Underlying glandular issues can also affect your horse’s coat health. Excessive growth, coupled with coarse hair, may indicate cushing's disease. A healthy horse will have a smooth, glossy coat, while an unhealthy horse’s coat will often be dull and brittle.

5. Poor nutrition

Finally, a nutritionally balanced diet, with adequate vitamins, minerals and protein, will improve your horse’s coat and hoof health. Protein is one of the most important ingredients in the diet. The building block of tissue, its inclusion in horse feeds, like Running Cool, promotes re-building.

To learn more tips about feeding for improved coat health, click here.

 

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

 

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3 Tips for Feeding Your Horse During Summer

Cameron Jensen - Monday, November 28, 2016

During the Summer months, your horse’s workload may increase as you spend more time hacking, schooling or competing. As a result, their condition can change as well. In this article, we share three important tips for feeding your horse during Summer.

1. Adjust diet for loss of condition

In Summer, the warmer weather and longer days make it inviting to spend more time in the saddle, but it’s not only a higher workload that can lead to loss of condition. The quality of your horse’s pasture can also be affected, so additional vitamins and minerals are necessary.

Running Cool Barley/Soy Booster is our best seller for adding extra condition - achieving weight gain and providing increased energy. A fully extruded, high energy feed, like Barley/Soy Booster, contains the vitamins, minerals and protein your horse may not be receiving from pasture alone.

2. Monitor your horse’s water intake

It might surprise you, but water is often a forgotten element in the horse’s diet. Checking your horse’s water supply should be part of your daily routine, especially during Summer, to prevent the onset of health problems caused by dehydration.

Water should be offered to your horse before and after exercise. If you are away competing, your horse may refuse to drink foreign water. Adding some sweetener or making up a soaked feed can help to avoid dehydration. For more tips on keeping your horse hydrated, click here.

3. Provide your horse with salt

Finally, salt is an important part of every horse’s diet, not only those in moderate to high intensity work. There are a number of health problems associated with sodium deficiency, so you can offer salt to your horse in one of two ways.

Adding 25g of salt to your horse’s daily feed is perhaps the easiest way to add salt to the diet. Providing free access with a salt block is another alternative. Remember, electrolytes are still imperative after significant sweat loss to replenish sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium.

Any excess salt with be excreted in the urine, as long as your horse has unlimited access to fresh, clean drinking water.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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How to Keep Your Horse Hydrated During Summer

Cameron Jensen - Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Did you know the average horse can drink between 40 and 90 litres of water a day during hot and humid conditions? Keeping your horse hydrated is critical during Summer, especially following intense exercise. In this article, we explain how to keep your horse hydrated. 

Horses can lose up to 10 litres of sweat an hour in Summer. If not kept hydrated, this loss of water and electrolytes can lead to health problems, such as dehydration, tying up and colic. However, sweating is not the only sign of dehydration.

There are three quick tests you can do if you suspect your horse is dehydrated, including:

  • Capillary refill – Use a moderate finger pressure on your horse’s gum and watch how long it takes to refill. A dehydrated horse will have dry gums and a capillary refill time of more than three seconds.
  • Skin pinch – Using your thumb and forefinger, gently pinch a section of flesh on your horse’s neck. A dehydrated horse’s skin will remain tented for more than three seconds, rather than return to place instantly.
  • Urine check – Just like humans, more concentrated urine that’s darker in colour and more pungent in smell can indicate dehydration.

Unlimited access to water

Your horse should have unlimited access to fresh, clean water at all times. Horses should be offered water before and after exercise, and when travelling. At shows, you may need to add a sweetener to the water to encourage your horse to drink or you may opt to bring a supply of water from home.

Replace lost electrolytes

During moderate to high intensity exercise, your horse will lose the vital minerals contained in sweat. If they’ve sweated profusely, you may need to feed an electrolyte replacer. Remember, electrolytes should only be given following sweating; any given prior will simply be excreted in urine.

Cool down after exercise

Cool your horse down with a cold water rinse following intense exercise. However, be sure to scrape off any excess water, otherwise heat will remain trapped and hosing will have the opposite effect. Simply cold water hose, scrape it off and repeat again if your horse sweated profusely.

Provide shade or shelter

Wherever your horse is – in the paddock or at a show – they should be able to rest in the shade or under a shelter to avoid the sun’s heat. Trees naturally provide the coolest environment out of the sun, but a man-made shelter will also suffice.

Feed white or pink Himalayan salt

Your horse should have access to a salt block. If you have any concerns about hanging a salt block in your horse’s paddock and stall, you can add 25g of salt to their daily feed. Sodium and chloride are the two minerals in salt which horses actively seek out.

What else do you do to keep your horse hydrated during Summer?

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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10 Summer Horse Care Tips

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Summer is one of the best seasons to have fun with our horses but, in Australia, the heat can be extreme - leading to dehydration and heat stress. In this article, we outline 10 tips for caring for your horse during Summer.

1. Avoid midday heat

Exercise your horse during the cooler parts of day, such as in the early morning or late afternoon. Better yet, if the temperature is high, exercise at night if you have access to well-lit riding facilities.

2. Provide shade

Ensure your horse has plenty of shade throughout the day. Man-made structures are fine, but trees provide the coolest source of shelter when the weather is warmest.

3. Check for over-heating

If your horse is rugged, check them regularly for signs of over-heating. A white cotton rug on a dark horse can keep them cooler, but the opposite may be true for a white or grey horse.

4. Offer fresh water

Your horse should have unlimited access to fresh, clean drinking water 24 hours a day. You should also offer water after exercise, and replace any lost electrolytes after high intensity work or competition.

5. Avoid sunburn

If you own a white or grey horse, you may need to apply sunscreen daily to protect from painful sunburn. A light-coloured fly sheet can also offer some protection.

6. Hang a salt block

Salt is an essential mineral that is lost when your horse sweats. Hang a salt block at a safe, low height in your horse’s stall and paddock.

7. Be aware of dehydration

If you suspect your horse is dehydrated, do the pinch test. Any longer than two seconds is a concern. You should also be well aware of your horse’s normal vital signs.

8. De-worm regularly

Many parasites thrive in warm, moist conditions. Speak with your veterinarian about a faecal egg count for your horse to ensure you’re combating the parasites present on your property.

9. Keep the insects off

No one likes flies during Summer! A light-coloured fly sheet and fly mask can help keep your horse more comfortable. You may also consider using a fly repellant daily if they’re a burden.

10. Warm up and warm down

Especially during Summer, always warm up and warm down your horse when exercising. A cold hosing and thorough sweat scrape are also important if your horse has sweated profusely.

What other tips would you add to your horse’s Summer care?

 

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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Horse Nutrition: 4 Common Reasons for Weight Loss

Cameron Jensen - Monday, November 07, 2016

Unless your horse is an easy keeper, you’ll need to take an active role in maintaining their body weight and condition with correct feeding and careful management. However, in order to do this, you must first understand what causes weight loss in horses. In this article, we share the four most common reasons why horses lose weight that aren’t directly related to diet.

1. Poor dentition 

If your horse is losing weight unexpectedly, the first thing you should check is their teeth. Poor dentition leads to oral disease and sharp enamel points; both of which make chewing difficult, if not painful, for your horse.

The horse has evolved to eat course roughage that requires grinding by the upper and lower cheek teeth. If your horse has difficulty chewing, proper digestion is impeded, which limits the energy and nutrients they receive.

2. Ineffective parasite control

Horses and worms can live in relative harmony. However, if your horse has a high worm burden, this can lead to ill-health and weight loss as they damage your horse’s intestinal lining and even compete for nutrients.

It’s critical you ensure your horse is being treated for the parasites present on your property, otherwise worming is simply ineffective. The best way to do this is to conduct a faecal egg count upon worming, followed by a faecal egg count reduction test.

3. Stress

Just like us, our horses experience stress. This can stem from a number of reasons, including social if they are housed separate from other horses and workload if they are kept in moderate to high intensity work.

To alleviate stress, you should consider changing some of the ways you manage your horse. It’s crucial your horse has access to the three F’s - friends, forage and freedom. Paddock mates, unlimited access to forage and regular turnout lead to happier, healthier horses.

4. Disease or illness

Finally, disease and illness can drastically reduce your horse’s appetite or affect nutrient absorption. You should check your horse’s vital signs regularly and watch their behaviour, so you can easily identify when something isn’t quite right.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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Why Choose a Fully Extruded Horse Feed

Cameron Jensen - Monday, October 31, 2016

The extrusion process, which we use at Running Cool, increases the digestibility of grain more than any other method of processing. By choosing an extruded horse feed, your horse receives increased vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and amino acids in their diet. But, there are even more benefits to choosing a fully extruded horse feed, like Running Cool. Here’s six reasons to choose Running Cool…

1. Improved starch digestibility 

During the extrusion process, heat and pressure cause the starch granules to be gelatinised. Gelatinisation has far-reaching benefits for your horse. Most important, it reduces the potential for digestive upsets, like laminitis and acidosis, as starch is easily digested in the small intestine.

2. Improved protein digestibility

Protein is a vital ingredient in your horse’s diet as it aids repair, recovery and rebuilding of muscles and tissues. The extrusion the process helps to improve the protease enzymes in your horse’s body to more efficiently digest and use the quality protein available.

3. Extruded feeds are highly palatable

Many horses love the smell and feel of extruded horse feed. The steam extrusion process gives the feed a sweet, nutty, cooked aroma, while improving the digestibility of the feed’s nutrients. This is ideal for young, growing horses and older horses where digestive efficiency may be lower.

4. Extruded feeds are dust-free

Ideal for horses that are sensitive to respiratory conditions, the steam extrusion process reduces the presence of dust. In addition, the high temperatures drastically reduce the potential for harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, leaving each mouthful consistent, balanced and nutritious.

5. Extruded feeds are softer and reduce teeth wear

Steam extrusion helps to soften the horse feed, which supports tooth condition and reduces teeth wear. However, all horses should receive a dental examination at least once annually. Senior horses or those with poor dentition may require twice yearly check-ups.

6. Extruded feeds take longer to eat

Finally, extruded feeds, like Running Cool, have a lower bulk density than conventional feeds, such as pellets and sweet feeds. This produces more saliva while eating, which reduces the potential for digestive upsets, like colic and ulcers, and the potential for choking.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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How to Store Bagged Horse Feed

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Feeding spoiled horse feed can have devastating consequences. In this article, we share some useful tips for safe feed storage to ensure your horse receives the full benefits from fresh commercial horse feeds.

1. Keep horse feed out of the elements

To ensure bagged horse feed remains fresh, safe and nutritious, store all horse feed in a shed, tack room or enclosed storage area, out of reach of horses and protected from direct sunlight, high temperatures and damp conditions.

It’s also best to keep bagged horse feed off the ground. Using pallets or pest-proof containers, your horse feed will remain free from moisture, and hopefully safe from insects and rodents. If a rodent chews through the container, discard all horse feed and start over with a more robust container.

2. Don’t mix new and old horse feed

If placing bagged horse feed into a pre-used storage container, ensure it has been properly cleaned. Old, mouldy horse feed will taint your new feed, potentially harming your horse. Likewise, a proper rinse will help rid the container of any hidden nasties, such as dead insects or rodents.

In addition, try to use up your horse feed within 45-60 days of purchase. If, at any time, the feed looks or smells unusual, or your horse refuses to eat it, be cautious and consult the manufacturer about how fresh the feed is before disposing of it or requesting a refund.

3. Learn to recognise signs of spoiled horse feed

When inspecting bagged horse feed and hay, the common signs of spoiled feed are:

  • Changes in texture
  • Changes in colour
  • Presence of dust
  • Fruity or rancid smell
  • Insects, including droppings
  • Animal droppings

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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How to Safely Change Your Horse's Diet

Cameron Jensen - Monday, October 17, 2016

Many horse owners understand that sudden changes in diet can lead to health problems, like colic. In this article, we share some helpful guidelines to ensure dietary changes are made correctly to prevent these issues.

The horse has the most poorly designed digestive system out of any animal, making them highly susceptible to health problems linked to diet and dietary changes, including colic and laminitis.

As such, when making any changes to your horse’s diet - grain, hay or pasture - it’s critical that you make these changes gradually to give the microbial population in your horse’s hindgut sufficient time to adjust.

Rapid dietary changes lead to the death of good bacteria, resulting in health problems, like a severe bout of colic. The rule of thumb with dietary changes is to gradually introduce the new feed, hay or pasture over a period of 1-2 weeks.

Let’s show you how to do this…

Grain

If you’re changing the commercial feed your horse consumes - for example, for an increased workload - you should replace approximately 25% of their current feed with their new feed every other day.

However, if you’re using Running Cool, you can transition between all of our feeds in one day with no issue. All of our commercial feeds are formulated to be the same size, shape and texture, and designed so horses can change from high energy feeds to maintenance feeds with ease.

Many competitive riders, choose Sport during show season, then change to Barley/Soy when spelling their horses; likewise, breeders are able to successfully breed and compete their stallions or mares at different times of year. Best of all, neither are hit with a dramatic increase in feed cost.

Hay

While there are no published studies on changing hay types or amounts, you should follow a similar plan as above. Replace approximately 25% of their current hay with their new hay every other day.

Pasture

Particularly in Spring, turnout time should be increased gradually, starting with one hour per day in the early morning and increasing with half hour increments. Any horse that has been fed hay during Winter will need to be carefully managed during this transition.

To find out more about pasture management during Spring, click here.

If you notice a change in your horse’s manure output, such as diarrhoea, when making dietary changes, it’s best to consult a qualified equine nutritionist or veterinarian for advice.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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Horse Nutrition: Building Topline with Protein

Cameron Jensen - Monday, October 10, 2016

A healthy topline of prime muscle is what many horse owners strive for. In order to build muscle for topline, you must first understand how correct nutrition plays a central role. In this article, we explain how protein helps to create that perfect topline.

While regular exercise conditions muscles, correct nutrition that supplies your horse with amino acids, the building blocks of the body, actually builds muscles. As such, exercise alone will not produce the muscles for a healthy topline; nutrition is vital.

Just like in humans, amino acids aren’t produced by the body and must be provided with correct nutrition. Amino acids make up protein, which is needed for muscle repair, recovery and rebuilding.

There are 10 essential amino acids that are needed to build strong muscle, including:

  • Lysine
  • Threonine
  • Methionine
  • Valine
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Tryptophan
  • Arginine
  • Histidine

Lysine, in particular, supports young horse development. Commercial horse feeds, such as Running Cool Sport, and forage should be paired to provide your growing horse with protein, vitamins and minerals. Remember, forage is not only a filler, but also a source of protein.

For horses in moderate to high intensity work, their needs for protein increase substantially beyond a maintenance diet. Scientific studies show amino acids are utilised at a higher rate when fed within 45 minutes following exercise, after your horse has cooled down.

As your horse ages, their ability to synthesise protein will decrease. Their diet should focus less on protein and more on digestible fibre sources that are easy to chew. However, with age, body condition should continue to be a priority for your horse’s overall health and vitality.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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Caring for the Senior Horse

Cameron Jensen - Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Proactive management of your senior horse can keep them thriving well into their golden years. In this article, we discuss how you can implement a complete management plan to support your senior horse’s health and wellbeing.

Today, horses are living well into their 20’s and 30’s due to advancements in nutrition and veterinary care. While ageing is a natural process, a proactive approach to your horse’s management is vital to ensure serious problems are simply mistaken for ‘getting older’.

Nutrition

As the digestive system becomes less efficient, your senior horse feed requires a palatable dust-free feed that’s high in fibre, easy to chew and full of readily available nutrients, particularly protein, calcium and phosphorous.

For some, you may need to wet the feed to create a mash or slurry. Horses that are considered ‘nutritionally senior’ can’t maintain body condition on forage sources alone, however these should still be integrated into their overall diet.

Veterinary care

Routine dental and hoof care are of prime importance to the senior horse. A yearly dental check-up - or twice yearly if your horse is over 20 - will correct and prevent any problems. Likewise, regular trimming will protect your horse from lameness or injury.

An effective de-worming and vaccination schedule should also be kept for your senior horse. In addition, biting insects and parasites should be controlled with protective rugging and pasture management, including regularly removing manure.

Daily management

You should check your horse daily to ensure they have access to fresh, clean water and watch their behaviour for any unusual changes. Your senior horse should be kept in a paddock free of hazards, with suitable shelter to protect them from the elements.

Frequent grooming will promote skin health and give you an opportunity to look for any lumps or bumps that should be examined by your veterinarian. Contact with other horses and light exercise will also keep your senior horse active and mobile.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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