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Best Horse Practices Podcast

Mar 30, 2023

This is Episode 23 of Season 3 and in it, I’m going to talk a bit about brain science as well as a scary colic incident.

You can find articles on vision science here and here. It's fascinating stuff! You will learn about place cells, grid cells, boundary cells, and more.

Did you know? Place cells – some of the hundred billion neurons in the brain – are individual neurons that fire when an animal is in a specific location. The rate at which certain neurons fire depends on the animal’s location.

One cell may fire when an animal is on the corner of a particular space; another may fire when it is along a boundary. Those cells fire again only when the animal returns to that specific location.

Place, according to horses’ brains, is largely determined by what they see with their eyes. But it is also framed by their movement (which is embodied by distance and direction). Smell and touch matter less but also can play a role in place cell firing, especially if vision is compromised.

Learn more at HorseHead.

About colic:

As we heard from Dr. Sheryl King at the Best Horse Practices Summit, there are several specific factors that can put horses at lower or higher risk for colic. It follows the three F’s: friends, forage, freedom. In other words, don’t isolate them, feed them hay or grass and try to limit or even eliminate grain, and let them move. Don’t keep them in a stall.

Those are rules I’ve followed consistently for about 20 years. And yet.

Read more about colic.

Take the Equine Guelph colic risk calculator quiz.

Our title sponsor is Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds.  Forage is chopped, packaged hay. Sometimes it’s alfalfa, sometimes timothy, sometimes blended, and sometimes with a touch of molasses. Always scrumptious. After hay and grass, it’s pretty much the best alternative and a great way to supplement your feed, especially for harder keepers.

Big thanks to Redmond Equine and Pharm Aloe – for generously sponsoring our podcast. Check out Pharm Aloe’s aloe pellets and Redmond’s Rock on a Rope. We think you’ll love ‘em. Redmond Equine sends a complimentary syringe of Daily Gold Stress Relief to everyone who drops a tip in our donation jar. Pretty nifty and a $15 value.

We thank Kate’s Real Food and Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support.

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