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Long Shot - Anyone Have Experience with Horse Care in Asia??

I travel back and forth from Cambodia (and have lived there for the past 3 years) and I met a Khmer gentleman who is passionate about developing horse sport (and sport in general) in Cambodia.

I’ve been helping him for the past 3 years to get a stable started but I find I am at a loss for some of the feed and health issues we face here. I research of course but sometimes it’s nice to have someone’s firsthand experience and advice. We are very limited for resources and though there is an organization that works here that trains veterinarians, there’s still a long way to go.

So…long shot…but I need nutritional information. We don’t have hay; they’re growing grasses but it’s not enough. We don’t have access to a pelleted grain. My friend wants to develop endurance sport here which I have absolutely no background in (HJ background) but the horses are malnourished and the heat alone is difficult for such a demanding discipline. We need to add something to the diet to help with maintaining weight (corn oil???). We also need to increase the salt intake of all of the horses. However, there is no option to hop over to the local tack shop and pick up a few salt blocks. Options? Fibre is an issue also.

I’ve read a bit about rice bran (which we have LOADS of access to) but it needs to be stabilized to prevent fermentation and we don’t have the facilities (or the know how) to do that.

I’ve also done a bit of research on mung beans but I’m a little overwhelmed at my lack of knowledge not only in what is available here but what horses really need. I confess I have simply relied on what the feed companies sell in Canada and not thought much about the basic ingredients going into it.

There’s also a ton of different parasites here and illnesses that don’t match up with illnesses I’ve ever seen in North America but perhaps that is another topic altogether.

Might want to try to contact Horses in Haiti. Know it’s not SE Asia but she has managed horses in that tropical climate in a non horsey culture without our normal feeds and an assortment of parasites and weird conditions. She still posts here sometimes and has returned stateside. Might be helpful, place to start.

Japan, Australia, NZ, and India are all I can think of that are on your side of the globe and may be close enough to be able to give you some information on available feeds, parasites, medications, etc. (I need to look at a map.)

I think horses don’t do very well in third world countries. Most of the people don’t either, for that matter.

Good luck in this endeavor.

PS. I remember that there’s an international animal welfare organization working on behalf of horses and other livestock in the 3rd world. I’ll see if I can find it again. IIRC they were most active in the middle east.

Yay! I found it: https://www.thebrooke.org/

this is so interesting. i am curious to see if anyone has info.

I rode several times in South Korea.
The lower end barn had mostly skinny horses, and a lot of health problems. I think there was hay, but it was very straw-y.
The higher end barn imported a lot of their feed (including hay) and their horses looked okay.
But overall it was a strange experience – absolutely no such thing as corrective shoeing, joint injections, supplements, etc. The horses were healthy or they died. Sounds terrible but that’s kind of the way it was. I wasn’t involved in care at all just rode a bit while living there for a year, and desperate for saddle time.

Not Asia, but these people who work in Egypt might be helpful?



I rode years ago in Tahiti and remember seeing bags of pelleted feed imported from the US. I even recall a conversation with the stable manager about why the US and not, say Australia, but I don’t remember the answer.

Hong Kong has an actual TB race track (Happy Valley) and a climate very close to Vietnam/Cambodia. No private horses or trail riding that I saw. I never went to the track when I lived there 20 years ago, but during the Beijing Olympics, the equestrian events were held in Hong Kong to make use of their horse care facilities.

My guess is the HK racetrack people might be the best folks in the region for discussing tropical challenges, though they also have high-end solutions.

I rode in Hong Kong. There are two race tracks- Happy valley which is on Hong Kong Island and Sha Tin which is in the New Territories. There are a few public riding schools funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club ( as well as their big riding complex by the Chinese border- beas river) and some private riding establishments too. Very few spaces for non racing horses. When I was there it was almost solely ex racehorses that the jockey club owned and we basically leased. I brought mine home with me!!! He was at a private barn (one of two that existed at that time) so I had a little more autonomy with him.
I moved away about 12 years ago… We had hay and shavings, imported. Also used newspaper for bedding at times. Grain was like corn and some other kind of straight grain, maybe oats (not like the complex things we feed here!)— however just as I was leaving there was talk of importing grain from England— you can opt for feeding straight salt from the grocery store (1 tablespoon twice a day) to help with salt intake, or better yet, an electrolyte like adeptus invigor, especially for the harder working horses. I don’t know what you availability is to bring stuff in but I would bring back tons of stuff like supplements after visiting family and also had them bring things when they visited me. Obviously not the most sustainable option for a larger riding program. Our Hong Kong Jockey Club vets vaccinated the horses and yes, my horse’s passport is filled with vaccines he’s never since gotten nor does any horse I know of now get them! Lol
I liked my vet but looking back the care was far more limited than the extensive care my horses get now.
Be careful with corn oil as there is a lot of research showing there is an inverted ratio of omega 6 (more pro inflammatory) fatty acids to omega 3 (anti inflammatory) fatty acids. If it’s all you have it is what you have but if you could go to the grocery store and see what’s available there then write it down and do the research on the bioavailability and fatty acid complex for horses. I’m sure there is something that will work.
I don’t know how to stabilize rice bran although that’s certainly a great choice to add weight.
One of the things that made horse keeping difficult was the humidity- we had lots of skin issues. He was forever breaking out with this or that… Tea tree oil helped a lot with anything that itched as was readily available there.

The horses were healthy or they died. Sounds terrible but that’s kind of the way it was. .[/QUOTE]

Yup. Pretty much.

I have been here for 3 years so am getting over being routinely horrified but it can still be hard to take. The barn owner is a lovely gentleman and genuinely cares about the horses but the standard of care is just so much lower and the education and resources aren’t here yet.

dressager - amazing post…thank you!! Skin issues are for sure our biggest issue as well. We had an acupuncturist come from BC, Canada (he was in country for something else and the barn owner met him and invited him out to the stables) and he gave us this super expensive skin treatment that is made with oxygen or something?? I was unfamiliar with it at the time but looked it up - can’t remember all the details right now but I wondered why it wasn’t more popular if it was so amazing?? It was like $100 USD for a 2 ounce bottle.

Anyway, I think we will look into either importing as a supplier or manufacturing our own feed. I’m not sure at this point how lucrative it would be to be a supplier here in Cambodia unless we were able to export to other Asian countries.

The 2023 SEA Games will be held in Cambodia and my friend wants to compete in the horse sports and hopefully even win a medal which would increase the popularity of horse sports here in Cambodia which he hopes will in turn, encourage more people to invest in the industry. We have a looong way to go but it’s pretty exciting.

My goal is to improve the basic conditions before we even get anywhere near training horses and riders. I have encouraged the barn owner to import ex-racers from Japan or Hong Kong to add to his breeding program as we just can’t get the height from local stock. However, we need to make sure we can look after our horses properly first. It’s a work in progress.

I like the idea of newspaper for bedding - we’re looking at alternative bedding material though I do think we can get shavings here…but maybe not in the bulk that we would require.

Not Asia, but these people who work in Egypt might be helpful?



The before and after pics :eek:

You might want to get in touch with the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. They have an equestrian division. My mother rode there in the '60s - so her experience is out of date! (it was just ‘the Polo Club’ then, I believe) - but I suspect some of the challenges they dealt with probably haven’t changed THAT much in the intervening decades. http://www.rbsc.org