Monday, April 15, 2013

The Challenge of Spring

Most of us associate the challenges of spring on a horse farm/ranch with all of the seasonal changes that take place.  The challenges many of us face can include; getting foals on the ground safely, getting mares bred back for the foal crop of the coming year, starting back up with cutting grass or making hay, trying to keep a close watch on horses on pasture eating that lush spring grass, the list goes on and on! One of these challenges brought me to realize a strong correlation from a discussion we had the previous week about feeding horses properly. We had an additional challenge last week when a group of severe storms came through our area. Strong winds and a tornado were reported right here at the farm. Luckily no people or horses at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center were hurt, but we did lose some trees and fence. One of the trees was a favorite of mine, it has been in countless advertisements and pictures of the farm. The picture below was from a couple of years ago after a light snow.

A substantial oak that had survived who knows how many storms and from all appearances looked rock solid and healthy. When the wind came last week we were left with the image below.

The inside had been totally destroyed by termites and there was very little holding the trunk together, it was just a matter of time before what appeared to be a healthy tree on the outside would suffer from what we could not see on the inside.  The comparison I couldn't help but make as we cut the tree apart was how crucial it is to know that things on the inside are in good shape! Sometimes exterior appearance can deceive one into thinking that everything is good when the reality is quite different.

Feeding your animals properly can be very similar. When selecting a feed for whatever lifestage your horse happens to be in, a balanced ration with appropriate vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is necessary to maintain that horses health- both inside and out. We work tirelessly here at the farm to make sure we are meeting those requirements based on our research along with the published guidelines put out by the National Research Council. We don't want you to have to worry about feeding your horse what it needs to keep the inside healthy, it is challenge enough just to own the horse! So rest assured as you work through all the fun of spring that we can take care of keeping your horse in good shape as long as you can keep the grass cut!

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