Over the past several years as the number of metabolic horses has increased to almost epidemic proportions, I have been diligently studying, testing, and experimenting with plants and foods to see what can help bring balance to the metabolic horse’s system.
Every time a new supplement comes out for insulin resistant or Cushings horses, I immediately go read the labeled ingredients. Sometimes I think to myself, “Hmm, I need to do some research on that ingredient,” or often, when I’m familiar with the ingredient, ask myself, “Why would a company include that?”
Of course the basics for maintaining a healthy horse with metabolic issues, or one that could become metabolic begins with food and lifestyle.
Injuries to ligaments and tendons in horses are common. And while we cannot totally prevent these issues from happening, we can be proactive in nutritionally supporting the connective tissue. If an injury does occur, there are methods of treatment, modalities, and nutritional support that can help the connective tissues heal.
Function and structure of connective tissue:
Tendons join muscle to bone, while ligaments join bone to bone. Both ligaments and tendons in horses have the same basic structure and are made from the same basic tissue. Most tendons are designed as flexor or extensor. Flexor tendons allow a joint to bend, and extensor tendons allow a joint to extend.
Ligaments are the stabilizing structures that help hold bones together and stop them from over-flexing or over-rotating.
[Thanks to Anna Eller for Allie’s story…]
Allie is a 13-year-old shire appendix quarter horse cross mare. She is my husband’s pleasure-horse but doesn’t get very consistent work. She is a very easy keeper and started to get a little cresty in the neck, as well as fat deposits over her tailhead. She has been barefoot her whole life, and has never had any health concerns.
Due to the fat deposits, our vet recommended that we test her for insulin resistance. In January 2015, we drew blood and then gave her 90ml of light Kyro syrup and redrew blood an hour later. The results were staggering. Normal insulin levels are 5-20 u/ml and Allie was 108.7 before the Kayro syrup. After the sugar spike, she was greater than 150 (the test only goes up to 150, so she was off the charts).
BioStar’s Tigger Montague gives a full rundown on the best stress herbs for horses…
Holy basil and ashwagandha are Ayurvedic herbs from India that have been used for 5000 years for stress relief, particularly cortisol reduction. Cortisol is a natural hormone released in response to stress, which normally settles back to base levels. The danger is when there is chronic, long term stress, which can cause ulcers, metabolic imbalances, and liver imbalances.
Individual horses manifest stress differently, some internalize their stress and some act out. Holy basil helps mainly with cortisol reduction. Ashwagandha helps with serotonin in the brain, to help promote overall well-being.
Listen to this Kim Baker Radio Show spotlight on Horses in The Morning, where our own Tigger Montague explains these stress herbs for horses, and stress in detail.
Hear Tigger’s expert advice starting at 00:36:42:
Also on the show: Celeste gets a reading for her horse Reily, and Connie Thompson talks about helping your relationship with her Horse Apple theories.