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Re: [RC] Beet pulp and cigarettes (now colics) - Beth Walker

I agree with Ed on this one. ?From what I remember "back in the day", a 20 year old horse was old. ?If you were looking to buy a horse, you didn't buy one much over 12, because they only had a few good years left in them. ?

Horses got wormed once or maybe twice a year, had their teeth checked maybe every couple of years, and were hand-floated (no power tools or mouth speculums), and got straight alfalfa hay, maybe with some wheat bran once a week.

What I remember is that somewhere in the mid-late 80's (I think), the straight alfalfa diet (plus hard water and maybe the wheat bran?) became linked with the formation of enteroliths - at least in this neck of the woods. ?People started shifting from straight alfalfa to half-and-half with grass or oat hay, or going to all oat hay or all grass hay. ?

On Nov 21, 2007, at 3:18 PM, Sisu West Ranch wrote:

"...Is it because horses have now lost the natural ability to fend off parasites .."
I suspect that in the "good ole' days" there were very few 25 year old horses still being worked hard and healthy to boot.
We have a bunch of "expert" outfitters here in the Bitterroot who still only worm yearly, if at all.? They claim their stock lives long lives, but for some reason they are always riding and packing young, inexperienced horses and mules.
By the way, the number of generations of horses between the "good ole' days" and today is not nearly enough for evolution to make a big change in basic things like resistance to parasites.
Ed & Wendy Hauser
2994 Mittower Road
Victor, MT 59875
(406) 642-9640