The paddocks at Calan are green with the emergence of the young grasses for the horses to graze on, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. Many of the horses are experiencing diarrhoea, leaving their backsides and they tails caked in dried manure. This is the less glamorous aspect of horse care! Alan and I spent a few hours on Thursday cleaning the worst-affected horses. Scrubbing and brushing the dried manure from their fur and tails.
I’ve spent some time researching what may be causing this. One reason is that the gasses have a higher proportion of water, not only internally but also because of the morning dew and the rains, than fiber. The change in feed, from drier Summer grass to the fresher, wetter, grass could also be a cause. The new grass would contain a higher percentage of protein, not being absorbed by the small intestine, that the body needs time to adjust to. Another possibility is that the sugars and starches in the fresh pasture have had a negative impact on the populations of bacteria in the digestive tract, shifting from the bacteria that feed on drier material than the fresher grass.
This is something that we will be keeping a close eye on. It hasn’t affected all the horses. It has certainly affected some of the older horses in the herd. For now, a regular regimen of cleaning and grooming will be adopted.
Other jobs completed during my last visit include the sweeping of the stalls the remove the sand built up. It is believed that the bricks in the stalls helps to maintain the hooves. As we’ve mentioned before in previous updates, horses living wild often have hard, rocky, terrain to help shape and maintain their hooves. At Calan, and at most places where horses are kept domesticated, we don’t have many hard surfaces so have to regularly trim the hooves to compensate. We’re sure that the bricks in the stall play a role in keeping the hooves in good shape.
Vinnie has finished his prescribed treatment for ulcers and doesn’t appear to be grinding his teeth any more. The total cost of the treatment was $380. He still has to have 4ml of Aloe Vero added to his feed daily and will probably continue this indefinitely. From what I have been reading, Aloe Vera gel helps to calm the digestive tract, providing relief from ulcers.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve had some issues with Go Fund Me. Go Fund Me as been instrumental in raising funds for the care of the horses at Calan. They raised some concerns about the security of Calan’s account, noticing that there were logins from multiple locations since I have been involved – I am often logging in from Perth to write these updates. We of course commend Go Fund Me for taking security of their platform seriously but we did lose the ability for a few days to take donations. Everything seems to be back up and running now though once we clarified everything with them.
James McDonald, on behalf of Alan Gent and Calan Horse Sanctuary