Its moving time in Davis!! Almost all leases in Davis start/end on September 1st so the apartment complexes near our house are surrounded by poorly parked cars and U-Hauls. Watching the undergrads struggle in the hot sun makes me appreciate our condo and the fact we’re not moving! I certainly paid my dues as an undergrad though by moving three years in a row.
In true UC Davis student fashion, Preston also moved today! Just two stalls down, but I’m still counting it. His new stall is much better than his last, with three trees providing shade as opposed to a whopping zero. The property he’s boarded at doesn’t have shelter out in the paddocks due to zoning/permit issues, but there are plenty of trees. As a black pony, I was worried he would overheat without shade so I bought him a nice, reflective white flysheet to help him out. Its worked great so far, but when the opportunity for real shade presented itself I jumped on it.
Click here to find Preston’s fly sheet. Its absolutely the lightest, most effective one I’ve found! I love it, and so does he!
His new stall’s waterer was overrun with algae, so Abe and I spent a good 45 minutes cleaning the junk out. I secretly think the horses enjoy a little bit of algae-flavor in the water and Abe has always joked that its just a free source of spirulina. After scrubbing and scooping, it got me wondering what health benefits (if any) the algae actually has, for us and the horses.
There’s a lot of time to think when you take a bucket like this:
And make it look like this:
Perusing equine and biology forums (and general experience with horses) leads me to believe there are no adverse health effects to moderate consumption of algae that grows in clean water. Some even say that it is a sign that the water is clean and good for drinking. But the real challenge is knowing what kind of algae is growing. It seems like a little bit of naturally occurring algae will be fine, but extreme consumption can be harmful. Even with that said, the horse that previously occupied Preston’s new stall was drinking out of the algae-ridden water bucket and seemed to be doing just fine. The consequences of having long standing algae, such as developing toxicity or little parasites that decide to take up residence in the algae, seems to be what hurt horses in the end. What I take away from this: Everything in moderation. Clean water is important, but cleaning or flushing the water weekly should be sufficient.
It is not, however, spirulina, and it is advised you do not try harvesting it for yourself as such!
My main intake/knowledge of spirulina comes from green juice. I love green juice 🙂 I sometimes (rarely) crave juice and figure I might as well throw some veggies in there for an extra boost since you can’t even taste them. Spirulina is pretty consistently on the nutrition labels as an added boost. But what are the benefits of spirulina? The research on spirulina suggests there are a lot. It has a high percentage of protein, nutrients (such as chlorophyll, calcium, iron, phosphorous and amino acids) and could possibly help with allergies. Head over here to learn more about the specific nutrients and benefits of spirulina. Take away: with so many health benefits in such a small amount of something, why not take it?
I think I’ll need a putty knife to scrape the rest of the algae off, but at least the water is now clear. I’m bummed I didn’t get a “before” picture but I didn’t want my phone near that nastiness. But check out how gross the float still is… there is still work to be done. Ahh the life of a horse-mom 🙂 Wouldn’t have it any other way!
Have a fantastic Saturday night! We’re having a dinner and a movie kind of night.
*Disclaimer: I am neither a veterinarian nor doctor. Please consult a professional before making any lifestyle changes for you or your horse*