Re: (Fwd) centella

Susan Evans Garlinghouse (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 15:00:11 -0800

Hi Linnea,

If Centella's feeling bad due to post-chill infection or other disease,
this won't help her, but if her problem is due to just being cold, then
I'd suggest keeping her current ration as is, but adding about 7-8
pounds of a medium to fairly poor quality grass hay or cereal grass
hay---NOT poor quality as in dusty or moldy, what you want is something
that is mature with alot of fiber to it. Good, clean straw or something
close to it will work fine if she'll eat it. You might have or want to
cut down her alfalfa ration by just a few pounds. The reason for this
is because high fiber foods create a "heat of digestion" when being
broken down in the cecum and hindgut---I don't have the references right
here in front of me, but I think five pounds of hay will raise core
temperature by about half a degree for several hours. Soluble
carbohydrates, such as grain, or a portion of the more easily digested
alfalfa (I'm assuming your alfalfa is good quality and relatively
fine-stemmed), don't have this heating effect---either at all or to the
same extent. Luckily, this is something you can do right away to help
your mare heat herself up from the inside almost right away. For the
best benefit, split the grass hay portion into at least two feedings so
she has two daily periods of that extra warming effect. For that
matter, free feeding the straw portion within reason isn't a bad idea,
either---although they do tend to spread it around and make a mess
searching for little tidbits. Or, in the infamous Spudnuts' case,
because he's decided He's a Research Scientist Now and wants to know
what will happen if he lovingly deposits twenty or thirty pounds of
bermuda hay into the water trough. (anybody wanna buy a cute but
mentally deranged colt for say, five or six bucks?)

The other thing you might at least consider is letting her put on just a
bit more weight during cold weather. While feeding her more calories
won't help her warm herself right this minute, a little thicker fat
layer will help insulate against the cold---ask any seal or whale. Even
if your mare is just standing around in a field, having to maintain body
temperature is still "doing work"---under calm conditions, horses will
start losing significant body heat when the temp drops below about 14
degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees C). If it's wet or windy, then heat
loss is going to be greater and so more energy is going to be expended
to maintain body temps.

Somewhere around here, I have an estimate of the increase in energy
requirements for every ten degrees below freezing---I'll see if I can't
rummage around and find it. In the meantime, try increasing the fiber
content of her diet to help her feed the furnace.

Hope this helps,

Susan Garlinghouse

Linnea Skoglund wrote:
> Ridecampers, we need your help! Centella, a 14 yr old Paso Fino
> mare, was really miserable in our recent blizzard--she got a bit wet,
> the wind was from the south, and she had to be blanketed. (yes, there
> is shelter when horses will use it!) Well, she has a good coat, is
> carrying good weight, and the current weather is less wet. This am
> Centella is in bad shape, lots of shivering and really miserable.
> She gets a lb. of sweetfeed (12percent) and about 12 lbs of alfalfa.
> She is on Clovite which contains A, D, and B12. I hate to put her on
> more hay because her weight is really good and I don't want to take
> weight off her next spring, but if the recommendation is more wt.
> then I'll do it. Also she does not have a mineral block. ANy
> thoughts from people on the net? I know my vet won't be any help.
> All the other horses are fine.
> Thanks.
> Linnea & Pesadill ( If I shiver can I wear a pretty blanket too?)
> ****************************************************
> Linnea G. Skoglund, Ph.D.
> Dept. Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management
> Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, CO 80523
> 970.491.6950
> 970.491.3862 (fax)
> ****************************************************