More Horse Myth Busting!
Part 4 of horse myths – colic, whorls, bran mash, mud.
- It’s very hard to debunk a horse myth that has been around FOREVER, which is why I try to rely on logic and science. So here we are – a few more fresh horse myths to debunk.
Bran mashes are warming! WRONG.
- Forage is warming, and this happens as the horse’s gut takes hay and ferments it over several hours. Bran mashes are also on my list of NOPES for other reasons – they are about 1/3 the fiber of hay, the phosphorus level is ridiculously high and dangerous for young horses, and there is evidence that bran mashes do not increase the water content of manure.
- Any resulting looseness of manure is attributed as a result of a new food irritating and upsetting the delicate balance of a horse’s digestive system. More on wheat bran mashes here!
You should always walk a colic. NOPE!
- There is zero evidence that this does anything, other than possibly tire you and your horse out. Many of us believe that twisted guts happen from rolling, but we now know that twists likely happen before any rolling and severe pain sets in.
- In other types of colic, such as impaction colic, you might help take your horse’s mind off things with a quiet walk while waiting for the Veterinarian. You might also need to walk a horse if he’s rolling and is in danger of getting cast or hurt, in which case walking him to a safer area is in order.
- Bottom line – just call the Vet. They can advise you about walking or not. And while you are at it, don’t give meds until the Vet says it’s OK, otherwise the diagnostic process is compromised.
Mud can suck a horse’s shoe off. WELL… not really.
- But sort of. The mud itself doesn’t latch onto the shoe and hold it as your horse steps out. But the mud will slow down the front legs during movement, allowing the hind hoof to pull the shoe off as it steps up. So this is partially correct. And yes, if we are wearing rain boots they can be held by mud and we step out of them. But… unless you are totally weird, your boots are not nailed to your foot.
Whorls make a horse high strung.
- This last one is a bit of a mystery, not so much a myth. It’s said, in the study of whorls, that horses with whorls high on the forehead and perhaps with multiple whorls, tend to be more high strung.
- There was some investigation into this using cattle, with a correlation between the cow’s whorls and their temperament. There’s also kabillions of antidotal internet stories of whorled horses with the personalities of a devil. Interestingly enough, there are equal numbers of antidotal internet stories that, ahem, “prove” whorls and temperament are not related. So take it as it is!