Horse Owners - Looking For Advice Regarding Sand Colic

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by hen-thusiast, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Looking for some advice from all you horse owners out there. Never really had a problem with colic until the horses were moved to a sandy area. I've had two mild cases of sand colic in the last two months. I bought a bucket of SandClear, my gelding likes it, but my picky eater mare won't touch the stuff. I mixed it in with a coffee can of Equine Senior and she smelled it and walked away. She came back and nibbled at the Equine Senior and then walked away for good. I'm trying to figure out how to get her to eat it and need some advice. Here's the three scenarios I'm down to.

    1. Sneak it slowly into her feed. Problem - it's a monthly purge, so she needs to be able to eat it for a week straight once a month.

    2. Withhold feed until she gets used to eating it. Problem - the whole withholding food thing.

    3. Switch her to a daily sand colic supplement. Problem - expensive.

    Does anyone give Metamcuil? I've read that the generic stuff is a bit cheaper. It would be a daily supplement, so I could slowly build her up and could get it in a non--flavored form. Anything else I could try? She's the type horse where if she even smells a supplement she won't touch her grain. In fact, she really doesn't even like grain and usually leaves it for the fat gelding to clean up.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yup, I hate it when horses do things like that [​IMG]

    How much can you do in terms of management? If they are grazing a lot on very sandy pasture then probably not much you can do, but if they are being hayed, it really helps to establish a rubber matted area where you hay so that they are not eating off the sandy soil as much. In some cases this might be enough to prevent most sand colic problems.

    If it's not feasible given your situation, then I would agree it is worth strategizing on how to get some psyllium into her once a month (well, for some *days* once a month, you know what I mean). If she is not overly thin and is not the type to colic from having a missed meal or two, I would try withholding her hard feed and see if 'eat it or lose it' finally tips the balance in favor of eating the supplement. YOu could also try mixing it with kool-aid powder (sweetened) or applesauce, unless she has issues where you don't want to be feeding sugar; it might well not work but some horses can surprise you.

    Unfortunately there are a few horses out there, and I don't know whether your mare is one, that are just reeeaaaally picky about supplements and simply won't eat 'contaminated' food, no matter how tricky or sneaky you are. Those very few that can't be outwitted, there's not always much choice except to leave them to their own devices. But, to be fair, that is *very* few horses. Fortunately [​IMG]

    Good luck,

  3. buck-wild-chick

    buck-wild-chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2008
    Hamilton C. FL
    Start feeding acouple tablespoons of garlic powder in the feed,then add in the Sand Clear.Works for me.
  4. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Thank you for the advice. They have grass pasture and a paddock. I might have to try a rubber mat, but their paddock is pretty big and they like to spread their hay everywhere. She hates molasses and apple sauce. When used to do the barrel/rodeo circuits with her with her, she wouldn't drink water than wasn't from "home" so we'd have to haul our own water. She did eventually become used to Kool-Aid in her water if we ran out of water, maybe I'll try that again.

    Although she's on a good worming schedule, it's hard to keep weight on her. She is not an easy keeper by any means. I'm going to try the garlic powder as well.

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid she's just one of those extremely picky horses. I've wasted hundreds of dollars in supplements for the first couple of years until I gave up. I just can't take any more colic. It's too much being up all night, worrying, vet bills and then having to go to work the next day at 6 a.m.. It's emotionally and financially draining.

    Now my gelding on the other hand will eat everything. Last fall, the owner of the stable where he was boarded (right before we moved) raked a big pile of cottonwood leaves right into his paddock and he ate so many he coliced. I was so mad that he did that. He never admitted to what he did either. As soon as he felt better he went right back to the stupid pile of leaves. (During the colic I was too distracted to move them.)
  5. buck-wild-chick

    buck-wild-chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2008
    Hamilton C. FL
    I hope that works for you.I hate colic and have only dealt with it once and its very stressful.

    My barrel horse is a hard keeper.I can get weight on her,then she will loose it and I have gone through 4 different feeds,and finally she is gaining weight on Triple crown complete but its pretty expensive.I also feed,Garlic powder,loose minerals,vegetable oil,and Metamcuil.

    My horses are on a sand lot so they get hay and I wet the grain down to help prevent choking and colic.
  6. beefy

    beefy Flamingo Daddy-o

    Apr 21, 2007
    South Georgia
    a lot of times the horses that sand colic are the low horses on the pecking order. this could also explain why she is hard keeper if she is living off what the others allow her to eat. if this is the case you might considering separating her from the others.

    or if you just live in a sandy area there is not a lot you can do about it other than let the grass grow higher and feed her hay in a bunk.

    next time you are out take a soft drink with you and see if she will drink it. mine like mountain dew out of a can. anything really sweet i would think they would like. if she likes the mountain dew you can mix it in there and give to her like she is getting a special treat, assuming the stuff is mixable.
  7. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    She is an alpha-mare who would literally fight to the death. My gelding lives in constant fear of her and he's got a good 500 pounds on her. In fact, I'm afraid to get another horse because of what she'll do.

    As odd as it sounds, she just isn't enthusiastic about eating anything other than hay. I've had her since 1996 and she's been like that since day one. Doesn't enjoy treats of any kind, you almost have to force feed her grain. She doesn't even really like her pasture. She'll sit at the gate and wait for hay.

    We're going to look into rubber mats and tubs of some kind. I think that may be the cheapest course.
  8. seymore0626

    seymore0626 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 10, 2008
    Your mare sounds like a good candidate for ulcers....poor doer, finicky eater, inappetance. While Gastroguard may seem expensive, it is an awesome drug, and in the long run much cheaper than an emergency colic call. If it is something that you might consider, pm for dosage. Current therapy may be less than labeled.
  9. beefy

    beefy Flamingo Daddy-o

    Apr 21, 2007
    South Georgia
    have you had her checked out? i used to work with horses in college and a mare came thru that had 30 lbs of sand in her stomach that had to be surgically removed. they say they can have as much as 150lbs in there! may be a recurring problem ?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  10. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    If all else fails, you can try the old-fashioned route and use wheat bran. Most horses love the taste. I make a hot bran mash and add half a scoop of feed to it. My pickiest eater will lick the bucket clean, then bang the empty bucket against the wall to ask for more! When I lived in Florida I branned every Sunday and Wednesday and kept my horses pretty sand-free.

    I've been keeping horses a lot of years now, long before anyone was trying to use psyllium. It works very nicely, which is good because my oldest mare still walks away from any of the newer sand preventatives, but she loves her bran mash! Here in Alabama I don't have a problem with sand, but in Florida if we didn't bran regularly, sand colic was always the result.



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