Tag Archives: hay

Horses and Genetically Modified foods – A recipe for survival or extinction?

I have received a lot of emails about GM feeds, so I compiled a post that describes the basic information you need to know about GM in horse feeds, and the potential issues and dangers around them. I also post any new issues at the bottom of this page.

GMO – Genetically modified organisms are mankind’s way of producing desired effects within a plant/animal that nature either has not done yet, or cannot do. GM plants are created in a lab by scientists, that alter the DNA of the plant by adding a foreign gene into the plant’s DNA (one example was the flounder fish gene in tomatoes). It’s not an exact science, in the aspect that it works first time, every time. It can take years to perfect, adding millions to the cost of the experiment. The most common alteration to the plants horses eat (corn, sugar) is the addition of Bt bacteria, which alters the plant to resist the intense continual spraying of pesticides on the plants without killing them. It also allows any insects that come into contact with that plant to die from trying to eat it.

Think about this for a second, and then continue reading.

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Horses and Genetically Modified forages: Are we Moving Our Horses Toward Extinction?

Hello everyone. I rarely speak about “issues” in the horse world, but this is too big and too important to walk away from.

Our horse’s forages: alfalfa and hay – are in potential peril, and within a few years may be gone forever. Here’s the story:

All Alfalfa and Wheat may be Genetically Modified in North America in the next few years

GE corporations (Monsanto & others) are working hard to push their untested GMO alfalfa and wheat crops in the US and Canada. The US already has 5332 acres of RoundUp Ready alfalfa (since 2004). There is no wheat yet anywhere. Because the alfalfa was grown before it was approved, it was halted and is undergoing additional testing and environmental studies. No human or horse studies have been done to prove this is safe. No long term studies are ever done on any GMO foods. Many independent tests show serious health issues (Genetic Roulette).

Horses have evolved over thousands of years, naturally

Horses are sensitive to their environments and their feeds: any horse owner who has any level of awareness of their animal understands this. Their bodies have evolved slowly over time to adjust to changing plant types and feeds. However, along came man, and believed that he/she could do better than Mother Nature. As we asked more of our horse, we began to alter the feeds we give them.

The horse, though, has evolved for years, slowly, methodically, and if you look at the timeline to how many years we have been changing his natural diet, it’s really not that long (20-30 years). It has been a dramatic ride for the horse: from field to stalls: from hay to concentrates and feeds he would never find in the wild (soy, corn, heavy oils).

It’s not working. Horses are getting fatty liver diseases, insulin resistance, heart attacks, cancers and the same type of health issues humans have (that eat high fat and carb diets). And now there’s another issue to add to the mix: genetic modification. Thirty years ago this was unheard of. Last year 6 horses under the age of 10 died from cancer in my area.

What is Genetically Modified foods and why should you be concerned for your horse?

Genetic modification has many levels of concern attached to it, from health to environment and corporate control. We’ll take a look at each one so you have a good general knowledge of the problems horse owners may face.

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Calling all horse owners: stop GM Alfalfa!!

Please send this to every horse owner you know!

I’m involved in politics when it comes to horses. I am a food activist and have spent years studying and understanding food and how it impacts us and our horses. I lecture and speak all over the country on this, and I’m asking for your help.

I want our horses to be able to eat healthy, non-toxic foods and I want to be able to buy horse feeds without fear of this. However, those of you who feed sweet feed – you are feeding GMO, Genetically Modified Organisms. The corn 20 years ago is no longer the same. It has been genetically altered (DNA has been changed) and contains deadly bacteria (Bt), viruses, and pesticides/herbicides. While this may not matter to you, the rise in cancer and other serious health problems in young horses leave one suspect, especially when you didn’t even hear of a horse getting cancer 40 years ago. In 2009 in my area 6 died from cancer before the age of 10.

Please read through this and decide for yourself. I hope that you act and send your letters in today. Your horse will thank you for it by living a long, healthy life. We don’t want GM foods, not for us or our animals!

Appeal to farmers and consumers – Act now to stop GM alfalfa.

Send your comments to the US Department of Agriculture by February 16,
2010.

Its not yet legal for Monsanto to sell its GM alfalfa seeds in Canada
but a US injunction on planting in that country could soon be
overturned. If GM alfalfa is planted in the US, it will quickly
contaminate our food system as well as Canadian alfalfa crops. It will
also lead to the legalization of GM alfalfa in Canada (Canada approved
Monsanto’s GM Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005 but it still needs variety
registration as a last step before commercialization here).
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How can a small barn helper make horse chores easier?

Question: Hello April, I’m a horse girl and I always love being at the barn. I am working at my barn doing everything from helping the kids, dealing with the horses and doing all those fun barn chores :) I am hoping you could give me a few tips on the areas I would like to improve on.

I am 14 and I have been riding for about 5 yrs now. I have been told I have a riders body, which does make me proud, but I don’t have what you might call farmers muscles. I am very slim and about 5’3, so when I have to bring in the stronger more difficult horses or do hard barn chores, it can get a little difficult for my little arms.

I usually hay the horses, so I have to pull off the flakes and get them into the wheelbarrows. My huge problem is trying to rip the hay if the horses on need a half flake. I try folding the hay this way and that and putting all my weight on it but I still end up getting more hay on the floor and myself than in the stall. Do you know any techniques of tearing the hay or anything that might help ?

Also do you have any tips on keeping control over the larger more spirited horses? I am usually pretty confident while bringing in, but if I have the big ones and they are being difficult or they don’t want to stop, I’m pretty sure they will drag me with them.

Thank you for your time! I hope I can have less days of hay problems! :)

Answer from April Reeves: While you may not feel like this right now, the toughest girls are your size. It’s just a matter of time and more hay lifting and you’ll be the fittest, strongest girl in your area! The other really great thing about being strong when you’re young – muscle has memory, and when you get older you can get it back fairly quickly. Once you have it you don’t lose it.

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How do I feed my yearling Arabian filly correctly?

Question: I have a yearling Arabian filly that I want to feed correctly. I have gone through countless pages of books, online websites, and opinions from feed stores, friends, trainers, and breeders. EVERYONE is an ‘expert’ – no one has a consistent opinion and I’m getting frustrated.

What I DO know, is that she is doing really well on her Orchard/Alfalfa (30% alfalfa or less) and now that she’s a yearling I want to drop her protein from 16% to 14%. She gets 2 qt/day of the grain. She’s ok on the feed I was giving her, but I DON”T like how sweet it was. She has free access to the hay, and I want to put her on something that she will truly benefit from as far as her graining. I saw in another post your comments on Arabians and sweet feed and its effects on their coat and system.

What are your opinions on feeding the Growing Arabian Yearling? Do you think their tendency to take a little longer to mature physically should change the “regular” young horses diet? In what way?

Answer from April Reeves: When it comes to feeding first ask 2 things:

1. Are there foodstuffs in the product that a horse would not find in the wild (molasses, sugars, especially refined, corn, soy, oils)?

2. Do the feeds you purchase (concentrates) have studies done by the manufacturer themselves? Many companies are jumping on the ‘trends’ bandwagon, meaning they build what horse owners want. Problem is, not all horse owners have a clue as to what their horses actually ‘need’. We tend to overfeed our horses, pumping them with chemicals, diets and concentrates that they really don’t need and their liver and kidneys sure don’t! I’m always questioning the motives behind a feed company’s choice of ingredients. Many are in it for the quick dollar, not the simple science of the horse.

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Make money with your horse manure

By April Reeves

There are so many ways to make additional incomes with equine facilities, I could write a book!

I use to make income from my horse facilities from sources other than the training and boarding. In fact, there was a time in Alberta where I made more ‘profit’ from the business of manure than the horses. Horses come with heavy expenses.

Recycling Manure for Money

I sold all my manure (and then some). How I started:

I created 3 large compost areas (I made them bigger each year). Check your local bylaws for info.

I put mostly manure, with very little shavings or wood fibre. Try to avoid hays. Keep another compost for hay and shavings for yourself.

I made sure they were always wet.

Each bin represented one months worth of manure.

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Why are horses aggressive at feeding and what can you do about it?

Hand feeding a horse hayQuestion: My horse is mean at feeding time. She pins her ears back and lunges at the hay in my hands. Yesterday she bit me. I can’t even put grain in her stall any more without her attacking me. Help.

Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: First, let’s understand the psychology behind why a horse reacts this way.

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