Entries by Dr Nerida Richards

Copper & Coat Color

We often talk about copper and its role in coat color. Copper is part of an enzyme called tyrosinase which is essential for the production of melanin. Melanin is what gives the skin, hair and eyes their color. So it makes sense that copper deficiency would cause a change in coat color! If an animal […]

How to feed a horse that won’t sweat

Anhydrosis, or the inability to sweat is a serious condition that affects horses in hot and humid climates. Horses rely heavily on sweating to cool themselves down and keep their core body temperature within a normal range. Sweat wets the horse’s skin and then as it evaporates it takes heat with it, effectively creating an […]

Grain free horse feed: What does it actually mean?

It can be a bit confusing to get to the bottom of what grain free horse feed really means, especially when you see it printed on a feed bag derived mostly from grain products. In this post we’re unravelling the technical classification of ‘grain free’, and helping you find a suitable feed, even if your […]

What should you do if you think your horse has a mycotoxin problem?

Mycotoxins can contaminate almost everything your horse eats and can cause significant health and behavioural issues. The problem is, figuring out what is causing the problems you are seeing and suspect may be mycotoxins isn’t always easy. This post is going to help you answer the question: what should you do if you think your […]

How much should you feed your horse in a day?

Sometimes feeding more gives your horse less. When we exceed about 2.5 to 3% of a horse’s bodyweight in feed per day (so 12.5 to 15 kg for a 500 kg horse) the feed starts to move really quickly through the gut. Problem is, digestion, and particularly fiber digestion takes time. Fiber is digested via […]

What you should know about phosphorus and phytate

Phosphorus! Horses are unique because they absorb phosphorus from their hindgut… which is a stroke of genius on a horses part… here is why. Phosphorus in grains, legumes/oilseeds is bound up in a compound called phytate. ‘Phytate bound phosphorus’ is as good as indigestible for most monogastrics who absorb phosphorus from their small intestine (like […]

Gastric ulcer medications and their effect on digestion

Q: Does gastric ulcer medication reduce nutrient digestion in horses? Someone asked me this in a recent seminar and it reminded me that when I was studying during my PhD tenure we had looked at the effect of pre-incubating grains in equine stomach fluid on the digestion of starch from those grains. And what we […]

Do high sugar forages make horses fatter?

This is a question we are often asked and my standard response has always been ‘well, it depends on the calorie content of the forage’, which has always then made me wonder about the relationship between forage NSC and digestible energy content. In looking at 13 pasture samples from one farm it seems the higher the […]

Soft manure in horses on fresh lucerne/alfalfa hay? Try this!

Lucerne/Alfalfa… if it is really fresh and green it will often cause scouring/diarrhea. We don’t know (as far as I’m aware) what causes the scouring, BUT my observation over the years is that once it is stored for a few months the problem goes away (hence the old advice to always feed ‘shedded’ hay)… so […]