Many horse owners notice weight loss in their animals during the winter months. No matter where you live in Canada, our climate does tend to take a toll on any creature living outside (or at least spending a good part of the day out). It is important to review your feeding regime in the fall as winter approaches, and again in the spring before the pasture grasses begin their rapid growth. If you continue to ride and train in the winter, or if you have growing or breeding horses it is important to make sure that they continue to get enough calories for their daily needs. I always encourage owners to take a moment to weigh and record their horse’s daily intake and get a sense for the amount and calorie content that they are feeding. Remember that during the cold and rainy months, body temperature regulation burns calories. So, even if you don’t increase your horse’s daily physical activity, he might still need additional good quality calories to maintain weight. The best way to get additional calories is to increase the daily amount of good quality hay. You can also add a fat source to your horse’s diet, such as flax (a great source of Omega-3 fatty acid), or rice bran (also a good source of Omega fatty acids, along with gamma oryzanol which helps with muscle building). If purchasing ground flax or rice bran, just make sure it is stabilized both to preserve nutrition content and so that it doesn’t go rancid due to the high fat content of these products! Better yet, buy whole flax and grind it yourself as needed.
What does it mean to be “Green”? I asked my 5 year old son. His answer? “Well…it means to wear a green shirt”. Then we talked a little bit about what it meant to me. “Oh, so being green is good for the Earth!” he excitedly proclaimed. If a five year old can understand the concept, why don’t many North Americans?
My realization that I wanted to do better for my family and our planet didn’t come overnight, but now that I have chosen this path I want to share my knowledge and teach others what I have discovered. Sometimes I think that many of my friends, particularly those that have known me a long time, are unsure of what to make of this relatively new outlook on life and what I want for my family – I used to work in the petroleum industry, for a big oil company, so I can’t really have jumped on this environmentally friendly bandwagon right? Maybe moving to BC has addled her brain a bit – it is the “left coast” after all.
So, have I become a Vegan, granola-loving, Birkenstock-wearing, non-leg-shaving, organic, recycling, Greenpeace touting, bra-optional, hippie Earth-Mother? Not exactly. I still shave (I’m actually a bit OCD about that one!) and haven’t owned a pair of Birkenstocks since university. I don’t eat much granola, and I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination. Greenpeace does some good work, but often times they seem to wreck their own credibility because their members are out on the fringe of acceptable public behaviour and tend to disrupt the peace. So, how would I describe myself? I think that I am an Earth and health conscious stay-at-home mom who wants to do what’s best for her family and our planet. What more motivation does one need to adopt a green lifestyle than looking at that little gummy smile that my youngest son gives me every morning when he wakes up in his crib? Why wouldn’t I want to make sure I did the best I could for them, and the world that they, and their children will grow up in?