Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gone to Wyvern Oaks

In the vein of simplicity, I have decided to close down the Saga Chronicles blog and move it over to Wyvern Oaks, a combined horse and house (house and horse?) blog. The house and the horses are integrated now that we keep them at home, so this make sense. In addition, I started the Saga Chronicles blog to keep track of my progress with Saga in eventing. However, since I've had him for a bit, I've realized that the competitive bug isn't so strong in me as it was 10 years ago with Cash. Instead, I really enjoy trail riding through Sunset Valley after work, and foxhunting in the fall and spring. I miss the lack of goals sometimes, and it's fun to get gussied up and strut our stuff, but that's not where I am right now with my riding or my life. That's OK with me - I rather like the horses being less pressure and more fun time than it is when we're showing. Besides, for those of you who event, you know what a huge time commitment it is - riding 6 days a week for an hour a day, plus all the prep for shows, lessons, etc. - it's exhausting and you can get burned out really quickly. Not having that pressure is, well, kinda nice.

So, please add Wyvern Oaks to your blog list instead of Saga Chronicles, and we'll see you over there!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mum is trying to kil us!

Reddums here.

This morning mum brought us some nasty slimy goo she called "flacks" for breakfast. She said it was good for us but it was horribul - I think she's trying to kil us! She put some karrits in it but I wasn't fooled even a bit. It smeled icky and gross and I didn't want to eet it but then she mixed it with some of our regular foods and it was OK. Saga wouldn't eet it though but he's a big sissy so i had to eet his part too.

If anyone comes out to visit us can you pleeze bring lots of karrits and do not feed us any of this flacks. It's gross you'll see.

- Reddums the Feerless War Pony and Saga the sissy, but mostly me, Reddums

Feeding the boys, part VI

DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet or an equine nutritionist. This information is purely based on research I have done myself. Please do not mistake my research for actual advice on what to feed your horse. I'm just sharing my experiences so that other horse owners can have the information.

This is the sixth in a series on how I'm determining what to feed my two horses. For Part IV, visit here.

In the last installment, we calculated the NSCs of Saga's ration, along with the Selenium and Vitamin E content of Red's ration. We also discussed how important it is to read feed bag labels and feed according to the recommended quantities for your horse's weight and level of work.

On your own
At this point, the really important thing to know is how to determine how much of a particular nutrient your horse is getting, and how much of that nutrient he actually needs. Finding out what your horse actually needs is a little challenging, but there are two fairly good sources I've been using:
Based on these two sources, I've created a table that shows the most common nutrients and the recommended daily allowances for mature horses in light work.

Equi-analytics recommendation
(for an 1100 pound horse)
Nutrition & Feeding recommendation
Crude Protein
820 g/day
1.08 g/kg BW/day
29 g/day0.054 g/kg BW/day
Crude Fat -
25 g/day
60 mg/kg BW/day
Phosphorus 17.8 g/day36 mg/kg BW/day
Magnesium 9.4 g/day19 mg/kg BW/day
Iron335 mg/day0.8 mg/kg BW/day
Potassium31 g/day57 mg/kg BW/day
84 mg/day0.2 ppm/kg BW/day
Zinc 335 mg/day0.8 ppm/kg BW/day
Manganese 335 mg/day0.8 ppm/kg BW/day
Selenium 0.8 mg/day0.002 mg/kg BW/day
Vitamin A 22500 IU/day45 mg/kg BW/day
Vitamin D 2510 IU/day6.6 mg/kg BW/day
Vitamin E
669 IU/day1.6 mg/kg BW/day
Biotin - 0.2 mg/kg BW/day
Iodine - 0.007 mg/kg BW/day
Cobalt - 0.001 mg/kg BW/day
Thiamine - 0.06 mg/kg BW/day
Riboflavin - 0.04 mg/kg BW/day
One thing that is interesting to note is that the sources don't always agree with each other about the recommended quantities. For example, Equi-analytics recommends that Saga get 820 g/day of protein, while Nutrition & Feeding recommends 540 g/day (1.08 g x 500 kg). On the other hand, for Potassium, Equi-analytics recommends 31 g/day, and Nutrition & Feeding recommends 28.5 g/day (0.057 g x 500 kg). I don't know who's right, but at least I've got some ballpark numbers to work with!

And now, more math
I promised to calculate the quantity of protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorous that the boys were getting, since these are often the nutrients people look at most. For simplicity, I'll do all the calculations for Saga, and assume he weighs 500 kg.

Saga should get between 540 and 820 g/day of protein.
  • Purina Ultium is 11.7% protein, and Saga gets 9 lbs of it daily. That's a total of 1.053 lbs of protein/day (9 lbs x .117)
  • Bermuda hay is 10.6% protein, and Saga gets 15 lbs of it daily. That's a total of 1.59 lbs of protein/day (15 lbs x .106)
  • Add these together and you get 2.643 lbs of protein/day. Converted to grams, that's 1198.844 g/protein/day. He's definitely not hurting for protein!
Saga should get 5% of his diet as crude fat.
  • Purina Ultium is 12.4% fat, and Saga gets 9 lbs of it daily. That's 1.116 lbs of fat/day (9 lbs x .124)
  • Bermuda hay is 1.8% fat, and Saga gets 15 lbs of it daily. That's a total of 0.27 lbs of fat/day (15 lbs x .018)
  • Add these together and you get 1.386 lbs of fat/day. Since he gets a total of 24 lbs of feed daily, that's 5.8% fat/day. So, he's right in line.
Saga should get between 25 and 30 grams of Calcium per day. Calcium calculations are a little trickier, since most feed bags give a min and a max amount, in percentages. We'll calculate both to figure out the range
  • Purina Ultium is 0.85 - 1.0% Calcium, and Saga gets 9 lbs of it daily. That's 0.07 - 0.09 lbs of Calcium/day.
  • Bermuda hay averages 0.5% Calcium, and Saga gets 15 lbs of it daily. That's a total of 0.075 lbs of Calcium/day.
  • Add these together and you get 0.145 - 0.165 lbs of Calcium/day. Convert to grams and you get between 65.7 - 74.8 g/day. That's more than double what he's supposed to get. But what's really important is that he is getting a Ca:P ratio of about 2:1. So let's calculate P.
Saga should get between 17.8 and 18 grams of Phosporous per day.
  • Purina Ultium is 0.5% Phosporous, and Saga gets 9 lbs of it daily. That's 0.045 lbs of Phosporous/day.
  • Bermuda hay averages 0.19% Phosporous, and Saga gets 15 lbs of it daily. That's a total of 0.0285 lbs of Phosporous/day.
  • Add these together and you get 0.0735 lbs of Phosporous/day. Convert to grams and you get between 33.3 g/day. That's more than a third more than what he's supposed to get. However, if he's getting ~66 g of Calcium/day, then the ratios of the two minerals are about right.
On that note, I'll leave you to your own calculations. Are your horses getting what they are supposed to in the ratios they are supposed to have them?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tall... and short

In today's lesson, we learn about tall and short.

And on that note, we are done for the day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Longeing near-fail

Tonight, instead of chasing the boys around the pasture for a few minutes, I decided to dust off my longe line and do a bit of longeing with Saga.

The main reason I want to start longeing him again is to get him more balanced in the canter, and also to help clean up our canter transitions. Out in the arena this last weekend, our transitions were horribly, embarrassingly sloppy, and Saga even bucked a bit on the right lead canter depart as I yelled, "NO! NO! BAD PONY!!!" The idea is to do lots of transitions without me in the picture so that he can find his balance and regain his strength and coordination - none of which will be helped with me flopping about on his back.

So I got out my longe line, put Saga's halter on, snagged my longe whip, and... oy. First, Saga ran madly in circles to the left (and I am NOT a fan of running your horse around on the longe. It's a training tool, not a way to tire your horse out!). Then he spun around and ran madly the other way, longe line wrapped about his big lug of a head. The only thing that did go well is that he didn't drag me halfway across the pasture, and he didn't fall down. So from that standpoint I guess it wasn't a complete fail.

We did eventually manage to get a few circles of decent (i.e. not running around like a mad man) trot and one canter depart each direction. I didn't want him to get too warm, since it was getting dark, so we didn't do more. It was good for me to watch him go at the trot - I didn't see any unevenness anywhere, even when he was doing a really big trot, so that's great. The canter was very telling - he's more unbalanced to the right, falling in and just generally running in the gait instead of a steady three beats. Left isn't great either but again, I think it's due to lack of balance and muscle. He's had nearly a year of no serious work, so it's understandable if somewhat frustrating.

On the positive side, I now have something I can do with him several times a week if I get home and don't have much time before it gets dark. Even if I only longe him for 10 minutes and do a few trot/canter transitions each way, and a few canter circles, it will help with his strength and make it that much easier under saddle.

Oh, and next time? I am SO longeing in a bridle or a cavesson.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Saga's back feet are really, really flat.

Flat like a pancake. No concavity here.

Well, maybe a teensy bit. This is his RH - the concavity is on the inside, which is sort of interesting.

You can really see the wear patterns here. Nice fat frog that is clearly making contact with the ground, along with the heel - but the sole is as well, especially in the quarters. Is that normal? My trimmer comes out this week, so I'll ask her.

And another thing that worries me - the new hoof growth is so... flaky. What's going on here? At first I thought it was just normal coronet band, but now it's extending past that. Anybody got any ideas as to what's going on?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Probably you should not try this at home

Most of the time when I ride, I take just one horse out and the other one stays at home. If I'm lucky, the hubby or MC will come along and ride the other one, but it doesn't happen all the time. So, I figured I'd give ponying a try and see if that was a viable way to exercise the boys together.

I decided I'd ride Red and pony Saga, since a) Red's boss, and b) Saga has probably been ponied since he was a race horse. I would have liked to have a rope halter for Saga for a little extra control, but I don't, so we made do with his regular nylon halter. I rode Red in his hackamore, since I knew I'd be riding one-handed.

Red was a total star and acted like he'd done this all before - and who knows, maybe he has? We trotted some on the road, and even got a short canter in on one of the trails. He rated well and was just a dream to ride. What a fun little guy!
Adorable pony ears!

Saga, on the other hand, showed his stubborn side. When we'd turn back away from home, he'd plant his feet and refuse to move. Moron. I had to turn Red around twice and smack Saga on the butt with the lead rope - after that he moved along well.

Saga looks less than thrilled at this prospect.

We also found out that there's a trail at the end of the street.

I hadn't tried it before because of this sign, but if you stay to the right, you'll find the trailhead.

The trail eventually meets up with another one that leads to the arena. Woohoo, a shortcut!

The part you shouldn't try at home? I admit I filmed some video while trotting. Unfortunately it turned out too bouncy to watch, but I managed to juggle Red's reins, Saga's lead, and the camera without dropping anything, including myself off of Red's back. Not bad, but definitely not recommended.