We all know how important nutrition is, but getting the right stuff in your horses bucket, doesn't always mean that the right stuff is getting into the blood stream. If the digestion isn't working as well as it could be, then the effort of feeding the right stuff is wasted. Getting the digestion right can end up saving you a fortune as well as improving the health of your horse. You can't tell me that isn't cool!
1. Does your horse have a bloated belly or a tucked up look either because they are tucked up or because they're just very narrow at the back of the barrel?
2. Is their poo 'unhealthy'?
3. Can you see 'stress lines' around the flank or across the barrel?
4. Does your horse need more feed and/or supplements than seems normal?
5. Are you overdue wormers or worm counting?
Unhealthy poo is anything that's runny and green or very hard, normal poo with liquid coming out, smelly, either acidic, or a strong rotting smell all counts as unhealthy. If there's any undigested bits of food (large fiberous lumps or grain) in the poo, that's also unhealthy.
I'm not expecting poo to smell of roses and taste like chocolate or anything like that, but remember, it's inside your horse. It's what their digestive system is producing, and in part, what their blood stream is absorbing, if it smells like it's rotting – well it is, food shouldn't rot before if comes out.
For an example of stress lines, check the resources
You horse being a 'poor doer' might just not be 'supermodel genes', it may mean that the digestive system isn't as effective as it could be. Great if you want to be a supermodel, but not so great if you're buying the food...
Worms can cause a lot of trouble and even kill a horse. Don't assume your herbal wormers are working, make sure you check with worm counts.
I'm all for keeping chemicals to a minimum, but make sure, if you're limiting wormers or using natural methods that you're checking up. Nature is a wonderful and powerful thing, don't be afraid to check up on it with a bit of science though.
After all, worms are natural, as are the digestive problems that they cause, and death. Lets keep things natural, but weighted in favour of our horses, not the worms.
For each 'YES' answer score 2 points.
If your score is 0:
YAY!!! Looks like there's no major problems to worry about.
If your score is 1-3:
Things are fairly good, there's no need to panic but there's room for a little improvement.
If your score is 4-6:
There's a few problems in this area. Something is out of balance and the whole system is beginning to show the strain. Doing a few of the other health checks may help you identify other areas that are feeling the pressure. If your score surprised you, it may be worth seeking further help and advice.
If your score is 7-10:
There are significant problems in this area. I strongly recommend you take action. Getting help from a professional with a proven track record may be necessary to get things back on track simply and quickly. It's likely that other systems are struggling under the strain as well so I'd recommend you do some of the other health checks too.