Behavioural Issues

Stress-in-Horses-Why-it-isn’t-always-obvious

Stress in Horses: Why it isn’t always obvious

When we think of the term ‘stress’, we often think of horses that pace the fence line, shy at non-existent monsters (!), call out incessantly when their paddock mate leaves and seem to poo cow pat like manure as soon as we saddle them. Whilst all these behaviours are clear outward signs of stress, it …

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Soy-The-Good-The-Bad-The-Confusing-Optim-Equine

Soy: The Good, Bad and Confusing!

If there’s any horse feed that can cause heated debate about whether or not it is suitable and even valuable for horses- then soy may well take the cake. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on soy bean meal and feeds containing processed soy- not soy oil or soy bean hulls- as …

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Ulcers in Horses: The importance of understanding how medications work

Ulcers in Horses: The importance of understanding how medications work

There’s much interest in ulcers in horses and for very good reason. Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) affects 60-90% of adult horses and 25-50% of foals and weanlings. The condition collectively refers to sores or erosions that develop in portions of the horse’s sensitive stomach lining. EGUS is largely a man-made disease: common feeding practices,  …

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Why-Do-Horses-Wind-Suck-And-Cribb-Bite-Optim-Equine

Why do horses wind suck and crib bite?

Wind sucking or crib biting in horses is most likely to first occur in association with boredom and lack of forage/grazing. Most people are well aware that a diet high in long-stem fibre plays an essential role from a physiological and digestive standpoint in the horse. However, what is often overlooked is the crucial role constantly …

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An Holistic Approach to Mare Behaviour

For those of you who ride mares and/or fillies you may have noticed somewhat erratic changes in her mood and behaviour during spring. The mare who was steadfast and easy going over the winter months may have at times started to become irritable, anxious, ‘girthy’, aggressive and painful or sensitive around her flanks. Gait abnormalities …

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Calming Supplements: Use in the Horse-Optim-Equine

Calming Supplements: Use in the Horse

One of the most often talked about and popular types of supplements on the market are those used with the intention of helping to ‘calm’ the horse. The quality of these supplements and ingredients contained within them vary greatly. Many contain nutritional and/or herbal constituents such as: magnesium, tryptophan, B group vitamins, chamomile and valerian. …

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Wind-sucking,-Crib-biting,-Cribbing-The-role-of-Antioxidants,-including-Selenium

Wind-sucking, Crib-biting, Cribbing: The role of Antioxidants, including Selenium

Wind-sucking/ crib-biting/ cribbing is a compulsive, repetitive behaviour in horses. It is the most prevalent stereotypy in the equine and is characterised by grasping a fixed object with the incisor teeth and aspirating air with an audible grunt. The habit can negatively effect a wide range of horse health parameters, resulting in conditions such as …

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Nutrient-Synergy-Magnesium-and-Vitamin-D-Optim-Equine

Nutrient Synergy: Magnesium and Vitamin D

Magnesium is one of the most commonly self-prescribed nutrients by many horse owners, breeders and riders. This mineral plays an essential role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions within the body. When prescribing magnesium, to derive optimal therapeutic benefit, it is essential to know the bioavailability of different forms of magnesium and its interactions (both …

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Lignophagia-Why-Do-Some-Horses-Chew-Wood-Optim-Equine

Lignophagia: Why Do Some Horses Chew Wood?

Lignophagia (or chewing wood) is an all-too common behaviour observed in horses. Whilst it can be both practical and tempting to lather stable boards and fence posts with products to discourage this, it is wise to also consider and address the possible reason(s) for this undesirable chewing in the first place… From a dietary perspective, …

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Regumate-Altrenogest-and-Difficult-Mares-&-Fillies-What-Are-The-Alternatives-Optim-Equine

Regumate / Altrenogest and Difficult Mares & Fillies: What Are The Alternatives?

With the rulings of Regumate/Altrenogest use in racing coming under the spotlight around the globe, now is an opportune time to address nutritional and management factors which can contribute to undesirable behaviour in mares and fillies. Whilst no nutritional supplement will prevent estrus in the mare/filly: signs, symptoms and behaviour may be able to be …

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Why-Can-such-an-Average-Horse-Achieve-at-the-Highest-Level

Why Can such an ‘Average’ Horse Achieve at the ‘Highest” Level?

Good horse people know that in many equestrian disciplines, success depends on an optimal partnership between horse and rider, rather than excellent individuals (either horse or rider alone).There is a small amount of research which demonstrates that a rider’s emotional state can directly influence that of the horse. Horses are known to react differently when …

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