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July 4, 2020
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Jeffrey Drown Talks About What He Never Feeds His Horse

Jeffrey Drown Talks About What He Never Feeds His Horse

A registered owner since 2006, Jeffrey Drown is no amateur when it comes to owning thoroughbred horses.  Last year, his newest horse Structor, won a million-dollar purse in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf race. Here, Jeffrey talks about the strict rules he and his stable managers follow for what never to feed a horse.  

“Horses have the teeth and digestive system of an herbivore,” Jeffrey Drown says.  It’s a specialized system that requires delicate balancing.  “Too much of any one thing, and the whole digestive system can go haywire. No pun intended,” he adds with a smile.

One thing Jeffrey Drown knows is a lot of fruit is bad for the equine digestive system. “It’s one of the things a horse should not be eating,” he says.  An apple or two a day is okay, but more than that will upset any horse’s system, he explains.  We’re also careful about grass clippings, Jeffrey says, since several green plants could be mixed in that are toxic, such as lily of the valley and rhubarb leaves.  Plus, lawn grass could have had pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on it which would pass to the horse and cause problems. Jeffrey and his managers also watch out for gassy vegetables that could make Structor uncomfortable.  “These include ones like cabbage, broccoli, and kale or any other vegetable in the cabbage family,” he says.  “We limit his vegetables to what’s already in his diet.”

One thing that I don’t think a lot of people think about is the hay in the stall, he says.  If the hay is the least bit moldy or dusty, it could do damage to the horse’s lungs.  “We monitor this very closely, plus we only purchase high-quality hay,” says Jeffrey Drown.  “Our vet has helped us put together the proper protocol, and we don’t deviate from that,” he says.  Even extra bran in the diet could upset the horse’s intestinal flora and is not needed.

If you ride your horse out of his pasture, one thing to watch for is alsike clover.  This type of clover is found in fields and can cause very severe sores in the horse’s mouth. “These are the clover-shaped leaves with a head of pink round flora,” Jeffrey Drown says.  Be sure your horse stays clear of any patches you see and check your own fence line for anything suspicious growing. The same goes for wilted oak leaves and acorns, he adds. In large quantities, they could cause kidney damage.  In fact, there are more than a few plants and tree leaves that are harmful, Jeffrey says. Some of these include the azalea, buttercup, ground ivy, horse chestnut, milkweed, and mountain laurel. 

By being careful about what he eats and with good pasture and paddock management in place, Jeffrey says Structor is thriving.  “We’ve got big plans for him in the future,” he adds, “so we’re very careful.”  

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