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Hall’s HOW


Article & photos by Nancy Brannon

Equine nutrition innovations, what horse owners need to know about colic, and equestrian insurance were the topics of interest at the Hall’s Feed and Seed Purina Horse Owners Workshop on May 7, 2015. Hosts Beverly and Jimmy Thompson grilled hotdogs and provided food and drink for the packed house of attendees, who listened intently to presentations by Dr. Amy Weatherly of Wolf River Veterinary Services and Rusty Bane from Purina. Jonathan Fortenberry, agent with American National Insurance, provided pamphlets and white papers with information about agribusiness insurance, equine safety, and equine liability.

Amy Weatherly, DVM began the evening’s informative sessions with a Powerpoint presentation on Colic – What the Horse Owner Should Know. She briefed the audience on the clinical signs of colic; what to do while waiting for the veterinarian to arrive; what happens in a veterinary examination of a colicking horse; the causes of colic; and decisions to be made regarding treatment depending on the severity and type of colic. She described diseases that look like colic, but are not colic. She described the differences in clinical signs between adult horses and foals.

Next she went into great detail about examination procedures for a colicking horses so that owners can understand what the veterinarian is doing and be prepared for the risks, depending on the severity of the colic.

She explained the different causes for medical colics, which are about 80% of the colics that veterinarians see, and the more severe colics that require surgery. Finally, she discussed the options that are reasonable for horses and their owners, including on farm treatment, medical therapy at a veterinary hospital, and surgery. After hearing, and seeing, her presentation, folks were thoroughly informed about colic.

Rusty Bane explained the research that Purina does in developing feeds and before the feeds are introduced to the market. He particularly focused on why Purina doesn’t add “trendy ingredients/additives” such as chelated trace minerals, probiotics and prebiotics. He defined probiotics and prebiiotics, dubbing  probiotics as “bugs” and prebiotics as “bug food.” Bane said most of the research on the benefits of these had been done on a variety of species of animals (other than horses) and then extrapolated to imply benefits for horses. Because of the difference in digestive system of the horse from other animals, the application of benefits to horses couldn’t be justified, he said. So, Purina did its own research on their potential benefits to horses.

The “bible” that Purina and other feed companies use when mixing ingredients in feed to complete, balanced nutrition is the book published by the National Research Council: Nutrient Requirements of Horses (sixth edition 2007). He said the news from this book on a variety of additives affecting equine health and performance was: “no recommended daily amounts and more research needed.”

Purina teamed with California Polytechnic at San Louis Obispo to research these additives and find if they were beneficial to horses. Bane said Purina concluded that after all the research was analyzed, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to show the benefits of these additives to horses.

That said, Bane introduced the latest innovation in Purina feed: a prebiotic additive in Equine Senior that supports immune function in senior horses: “ActivAge™ prebiotic.” He referred to the research done at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky and their findings.

Last on the agenda, before the door prizes and giveaways, was Jonathan Fortenberry, who gave an overview of the insurance products his company offers. He tied in specifically to Dr. Weatherly’s presentation, who had told the audience about the high cost of sending a horse to colic surgery. Fortenberry had plenty of literature for the audience members to take home.

For more information about Halls Feed & Seed, visit For information about Rusty Bane and Purina, find him on facebook: For information about Jonathan Fortenberry’s insurance offerings, visit:

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