Entries by Dr Nerida Richards

What You Should Know About Anaerobic Fungi

Anaerobic Fungi! These little critters live in our horses’ hindguts! And they are responsible for an estimated 30 to 40% of the fibre fermentation that occurs in there! So as well as thinking about how diet might affect our horse’s hindgut bacterial populations we also need to think about how it might affect their anaerobic […]

Iron: Is There a Link to Laminitis?

Dietary iron is thought by some to contribute to the incidence of laminitis in horses, with serum ferritin starting to be used as the measure of iron status. I (Nerida) don’t know if this is the case, but in reading human literature, it seems the relationship between serum ferritin and inflammation is a bit of […]

Grazing Muzzles

I personally love grazing muzzles. A muzzle means my horses can be out grazing 23+ hours per day. Without them they would be strip grazed (trashing my natives pastures in the process) or locked up for extended periods, which for gut and mental health is not ideal either. But they come with their challenges. They […]

Too Much Salt Might Be Killing Gut Bacteria

The last two weeks has seen extreme weather conditions for us in my local area in Australia. In the last 14 days, 7 days have been 40 degrees celsius or higher (104 F +) and of the other 7 days only one was below 37 degrees C (99 F). To make things worse, the nights […]

Iron for Horses: Could Forage Be Enough?

Comparison of equine dietary iron requirements to iron concentrations of 5,837 hay samples N. Richards and B.D. Nielsen, 2018 Introduction Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells. According to the 2007 Horse NRC, Fe requirements are 50 ppm for growing foals, lactating and pregnant mares, and 40 ppm for all other classes […]

Sunbleaching or Sweat?

I think it must be a combination of both! Poet and I did an unintentional experiment over our Christmas break that seems to show that the sunbleaching that occurs in some horses over summer is a combination of sun and sweat. Where we live flies can get bad, so my horses have flymasks on during […]

Setaria Grass and Bighead: What You Need to Know

Setaria should really be classified as toxic for horses. It is a subtropical pasture with such high levels of oxalate that it makes it almost impossible to prevent Secondary Nutritional Hyperparathyroidism (Bighead disease) in horses grazing this grass. Grasses like kikuyu and buffel grass readily cause bighead disease with an oxalate content of around 15 […]

Teff Hay vs Rhodes Grass Hay

Teff Hay seems to have suddenly appeared as a hay option for many horse owners and because it is sold as a low starch low sugar hay it is starting to be recommended in place of Rhodes Grass Hay. BUT, if you are lucky enough to have access to Rhodes Grass Hay, I wouldn’t be […]

Copper & Coat Color

We often talk about copper deficiency in horses, and specifically 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 […]

Drought Feeding: Keeping Your Horse Healthy

While many of us in Australia have received some long overdue and welcome rain hay supplies are still short. Increasingly we are having to turn to sources of hay outside of the commonly used lucerne, grassy/meadow, rhodes, clover, oaten and wheaten hays. Not all alternative hay types are suitable for horses however so be careful […]