I am inclined to agree with the sugars on the grass and beet pulp theories raised here. Sugar wreaks havoc on horse bellies,me specially if they are prone to ulcers. My gelding has been having hind gut ulcer/colitis issues and I think the grass this summer totally aggravated his problems. It was brought up to me by a equine nutritionist, that a lot of horses with hind gut/ulcers problems are more susceptible to problems with sugars (fructans) in grass. Could you give soaked alfalfa pellets instead of the beet pulp and see how that goes? You could also try a hind gut buffer - KER makes one called Equishure and it has really helped my guy and I've heard many other people having success with it.
I wonder too about the soaked beet pulp. We are about 35 degrees here when feeding dinner and that wet beet pulp would be ice cold in a matter of seconds. It gives ME a stomach ache thinking about eating ice cold and wet beet pulp.
Triple Crown has some wonderful feeds with beet pulp in them and the probiotics. TC Senior can even be fed to young horses too. It's a great feed and no work with all this soaking.
Also ditto the person who mentioned water. Just make sure everything is squeaky clean. You may think your horse is drinking...and he's not. I always say if it's not clean enough for you to drink it, don't expect your horse to drink it.
And are you feeding a bale? Is he/she cleaning it all up between feedings? I'd also up the hay. Good luck with your horse!
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Another thing that nobody has mentioned is just basic scheduling - horses like to be on the same schedule every day. It's stressful for them when there is changes in their schedule.
I would pick a schedule and stick to it. Feed grain/beet pulp at the same time every morning. Feed her 3 flakes of hay at the same time 3 times a day. Turn her out and bring her in at the same time every day. Keeping horses on a schedule really reduces anxiety (and thus ulcers!) because they know what to expect and when to expect it.
I third putting the horse on a probiotic or just overall good product for the stomach. When I first got my horse 8 years ago he was sensitive to weather changes and sometimes would be finicky about eating. He just seemed NQR personality wise if there was a drastic change in weather which we chalked up to mild colic symptoms.
I shortly thereafter put him on GUT by Uckele which has both pre and pro biotics as well as quite a few other ulcer preventative ingredients and I have not had a problem since. He has been on GUT for 8 years and the only time he has been even mildly colicky was when I took him off for a short period. Needless to say I put him back on.
BTW, I am in the NE as well and can totally relate to the fluctuating weather!!
Last edited by LookinSouth; Dec. 3, 2012 at 02:00 PM.
For those of you who introduce a different schedule or different feed because of winter, have you considered that its not necessarily the beet pulp causing the problem but the fact that the horse has been introduced to a new diet in general?
If the horse is on pasture and no beet pulp all summer long, and then when winter and colder weather sets in, you introduce beet pulp, it may not necessarily be the beet pulp itself, so much as it may be the change in what they're eating, period. Since this diet change comes with cold weather, it may not be the weather itself that is the problem.
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The one thing that jumped out at me was how her colics have all been in the past month and you've "recently' started keeping her in at night. Is she in by herself? is she stressed being in all night? Does she pace in her stall? Does she eat her overnight hay? Drink any water? I'd be tempted to turn her back out at night like she was and see if that doesn't help your problem.
In regards to scheduling - she's definitely on a schedule, as I'm the one doing all feedings except for the afternoon one. So yes, very much scheduled, regular - and she gets the beet pulp at the same time.
I will definitely try a gradual transition to alfalfa pellets instead of the beet pulp to see if that makes a difference.
And, as for her being in at night - that was something started after the first colic, at the recommendation of my vet, due to some lameness issues she's been having. She's quite happy being inside - another horse stays in with her - and is content and relaxed (prior to my moving to this barn a year ago, she was always inside at night).
I'll definitely try something other than beet pulp - she's been on it for months, but maybe now it's bothering her? Worth a shot!
I agree with the sugars in the grass- Beet pulp has fans and Non-fans... I personally do not have experience with Pelleted Beet- so no comments there- though I have had horses ok with and others not ok with beet pulp (shreds and speedi beet)
I too have a horse that has history of colic. He would colic with ANY change... weather, environment, feed, etc...
I decided to put him on Yeast Cultures (after months of research)
He has had history of ulcers also, and this simple CHEAP ($20 for a 50 # bag) supplement has made a world of difference.. Coat, feet, stomach, poop quality, drinking etc. He is a TOTALLY different horse now. It has been 6 months since our last episode (when I started the YC) and I am thrilled. YC help with the absorption of nutrients from feed also, so his weight is just perfect.
Look into it.. it is marketed towards LIVESTOCK, but is safe in horses, canine and cattle...
Diamond V YC Original (YC for yeast culture)
I feed 1/4c. to 1/2c per feeding (2x day)
My mare has a history of fall weather change related colic. The princess doesn't enjoy cold water so she stops drinking. We've found a little something to flavor the water & warming it up helps that issue. I also get out there every evening when the weather is fluctuating and ride, even if it's only 20 minutes wandering around the farm. That way I can be sure she gets some activity between her last feeding of the day and the night in her stall. No colic episodes so far this year- knocking on wood now!
While not every low pressure system triggers gas colic in our horses, all our (infrequent) gas colics over the past few years have correlated with rapid drops in pressure. In otherwords, a lingering high pressure followed by a very fast moving low. I have not noted any correlation with temperature fluctuations.
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Tchuki - super interesting info about the yeast cultures! I've never heard of it before - but I'm bookmarking this thread because I think that will likely be something that I'll visit in the future. Thank you!
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Just for the record, I'm a HUGE fan of beet pulp! I just have always had to use the pelleted because I couldn't get the shreds w/o molasses and I have an IR horse. Not being sure what variety of BP the OP's horse was on, I mentioned the sugar component. Because especially with hind gut ulcers and such, any additional sugar can be problematic.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I also have to pipe in again because I too have heard great things about yeast. I do use Yea-Sacc, but have a friend that used Diamond V Yeast on her mare and it has done wonders. It's definitely more affordable than some other options.
And I just wanted to say good luck!! Colic SUCKS and I don't think there is anything worse to deal with. Hopefully your mare will keep a happy tummy in the future I think you've got some great advice on here. I have learnt a lot on these boards, and I don't think you can go wrong with a hind gut buffer, yeast product, soaked alfalfa pellets, and a probiotic, and of course just a happy relaxed life for your horse (which is sounds like she has plus a mom who loves her). Good luck!!!
Just my 2¢ but I've had 2 horses that were on beet pulp that gas coliced, displaced and had to be operated on. One happened in September after a temperature swing of 50 degrees - it went from 40 degrees one day to almost 90 the next. The other happened in November after another temp swing, this time from 25 or 30 degrees to 75. Neither horse had had any change to diet or routine so weather was the only difference.
The things I have done is start feeding salt with every grain meal, and I feed Smartdigest or Smartdigest ultra in the fall & spring, or when trailering a lot. I really like the Smartdigest and can hear the difference in their gut sounds. I don't feed beet pulp at all anymore. They get 1 lb of triple crown 30% a day as their daily vit/mineral ration and are free fed round bales of grass hay in a hay hut. They don't need more calories but if they did I would add in some alfalfa hay or some triple crown complete.
Just my experience, but I don't like beet pulp for gassy horses.
Just wanted to add my support for digestive supplements. Fortunately, I have not had a gas colic. But the past two falls, my horse became very gassy, probably from the lush fall grasses. I started him first on succeed, and then switched to smartdigest ultra and he has been great this fall. I do have him on a low dose of probios as well because he is being treated with doxy and it seems to be working very well for him.