About Us

Over the last 30 years, Dr John Kohnke has become the most well known Australian veterinarian as an adviser on the nutrition and practical health care of horses. He provides a nutritional consultancy service to many trainers and studs, as well as owners and riders of equestrian horses.

He has written and edited two major books and numerous book chapters on equine nutrition, which have become well recognised hand books for horse training, breeders, owners and veterinarians throughout the world. He has written over 2000 articles on horse feeding and health care, presented over 1800 seminars and lectured on horse nutrition to students of horse care courses.

His interest in equine nutrition and feeds has provided him with specialist knowledge in formulating dietary supplements to meet the specific needs of all types of horses.

He has now formulated an innovative range of feed supplements and horse care products, distinguished by the Kohnke’s Own brand name.

The Kohnke’s Own range of supplements are based on scientific formulations that will help ensure that the mineral, trace-mineral and vitamin content of your horse’s diet will not be a limiting factor to its health of performance.

The nutritional range is centred around six separate cold-pressed supplement pellets, or Supplets®, an innovative, high quality nutrient dense small food pellet developed especially for the Kohnke’s Own range of supplements. Each Supplet type contains specific classes of nutrients to ensure optimum stability, which are blended in different proportions relative to the nutrient needs of growing, breeding, exercising and resting horses. Separate supplements of Vitamin E, iron and salts are also available to correct specific inadequacies in the diets of horses, where necessary.

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Carrots for Horses
Have you wondered about the nutritional value of your horse’s favourite treat? Most horses love carrots as a reward as they are succulent and crunchy. Carrots are low in energy at around 1.8 Megajoules and contain only 12g of crude protein per kg, which is one-sixth of the content of most grassy hays.
Fresh carrots contain about 4.7 grams of Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC, as sugars) per 100g of carrot. In fact, one large carrot (125 grams) contains 85% water and around 6 grams of soluble sugars. Carrots are less ‘sugary’ than apples (4 times less non-structural carbohydrates), but should still be fed on a limited basis.

There have been cases reported where heavily conditioned horses with underlying Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or Insulin Resistance (IR) have developed laminitis when feed 2 kg of fresh carrots per day. If you have a horse known to be insulin resistant, it is advised to limit intake to 4 large carrots daily (2 carrots for a pony) as a reward or to encourage appetite. It would be unwise to allow free access to a bucket of carrots in this case.

Carrots are low in most other nutrients, although they contain high levels carotenoid compounds, which are responsible for their natural orange colour. These antioxidant-type compounds include beta-carotene as a precursor of vitamin A. Carrots contain around 3,100 IU of equivalent vitamin A per 100 grams. The Recommended Daily Average requirement (RDA) of Vitamin A for a 500kg horse is between 15,000 - 22,500 IU vitamin A per day. Thus, you could feed 500 - 800 grams of carrots per day to meet vitamin A requirements. Although it would be almost impossible to reach a toxic level of vitamin A (approx. 180,000 IU Vitamin A per day) by feeding carrots to horses, smaller animals such as rabbits are at risk of hypervitaminosis A and vitamin A toxicity.

Finally, there have been reports where a horse fed whole carrots has chomped off and choked on a large piece of carrot. The general guideline is that carrots are probably better to feed sliced or diced. Follow safe hand-feeding practices at all times to avoid nips from eager horses waiting for their carrot treat!

Image: Thanks to Caitlin Radford for a great picture of her father’s carrot crop which was donated to North West Dressage in Tasmania for fundraising. We hope all the lucky horses enjoyed those delicious carrots!
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Cate Leslie, Victoria Collins and 223 others like this

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Petra MarzGood to know John especially as it is always so tempting to reward the beasties with an extra few carrots in their dinner when they have worked well for us and we aren't actually doing them a favour at all.

2 days ago

1 Reply

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Traci ParsonsMatt Parsons Julie Morris Debbie Oakman Kalli Rajic and i was worried that 5kgs between 4 horses every 3 days was excessive lol....our guys will b happy to know this... 😁

2 days ago
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Emily ChamberlainInteresting my horse cannot have carrots. He isn't laminitis prone. But he basically has an allergy they make him quite unwell and very grumpy. .

2 days ago
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Nikki GatrillThere you go Joanne Sweetman they are allowed to have a couple of carrots a day without harm ☺

2 days ago   ·  1
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Merridee ParkerMy Cushings Mare is lucky to get 1 carrot a day! I feel sorry for her now 😮 lol

2 days ago   ·  1
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Kerrie Swan-BatesThank you Radford family for the carrots, great fundraising activity. My boys are enjoying them....... in moderation

2 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Rosie HinesSue Riggio.... 40kg for 2 ponies per week may be overdoing it😎

2 days ago   ·  1
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Cara NikolicKerryn Solomon they do have less sugar then apples but feed in portions

2 days ago

2 Replies

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Melissa MaasDoes this mean Ellie can still have a little Alison Smith ?

2 days ago
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Cailin GinnChris Beetham oh no 🤦‍♂️ ours get two bags a week to many! 😂

12 hours ago
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Briony RandleLeanne Payne Gore-Johnson you need to show Margret this as we know she loves to feed loads of carrots 🥕

2 days ago
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Sally LiphuyzenThomas Liphuyzen maybe this was the problem aswell???

1 day ago
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Jess LouiseRebecca Burd how many carrots do you feed your ponies?

18 hours ago

1 Reply

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Fran Clelandgolly that's a lot of news, thanks

2 days ago   ·  1
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Kristy Roberts-HumphriesIv been told also a natural wormer as well

2 days ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Roxy HolderGreat info! For humans too!!!

11 hours ago
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Mandy N Steve ProbynInteresting facts good to know

1 day ago
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Kirsty RehnKath Reddy

2 days ago
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Maria ArimaNaomi what our nags are dreaming of 😂

2 days ago
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Rosanna ReltonNot too many carrots a day for Jamie Geoff Relton

35 minutes ago
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Catherine BrowneCool! This is great to know!

1 day ago
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Kim Dniprowskij SmithJust 1 carrot won't matter will it Kerry Irwin ?

2 days ago

3 Replies

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Naomi BennettFiona Bennett 2kg carrot limit for Max 😉

2 days ago
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Mary JarvieEven 1 can set mine off :(.

2 days ago
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Natasha GuestRowan Turner Lisa Fawcett ... you carrot feeders!!

2 days ago   ·  1
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Seasonal Reminder – Fireweed
We have had numerous reports that fireweed is flourishing in many areas of Australia after recent rains. Horse owners should be aware of the toxicity of this weed and take steps to remove as much as possible from paddocks while encouraging pasture growth to compete with emerging fireweed plants. Remember to wear gloves when pulling the weeds out and if you have flowering fireweed in your pastures, try to remove it before the seed sets. Like many weeds, fireweed is easier to pull out after rain, so keep that in mind when planning a time to tackle pasture weeds. Read on to learn more about this difficult to control weed.

Fireweed (Senecio Madagascariensis) is an introduced perennial weed that is native to southern Africa. It was first recorded in the Hunter Valley in 1918 and it has since established along the entire east coast of NSW. This invasive weed has spread to inland NSW and also north into parts of Queensland and south into Victoria. In 2012 it was declared a Weed of National Significance because of its negative impact on the environment, as well as its detrimental effects on animal health and productivity.

Fireweed is difficult to control and all parts of the plant are poisonous to grazing animals. Horses are the most susceptible species and if you suspect that your horse has consumed fireweed it is important to consult with your vet to see if a blood test to check liver function is advised.

The toxins in Fireweed are pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are the same toxins that are in Paterson’s Curse. Ingestion of small amounts of these toxins over time can cause chronic liver damage. The first sign is often redness and swelling of the skin, particularly on white legs and faces, due to photosensitisation. The horse might go off its feed, seem depressed and it could become uncoordinated in its movements when liver damage is very advanced.

In rare cases, where a horse might consume very large amounts of fireweed in a short period of time, acute and severe liver damage can occur. In this case a horse will suddenly go off its feed and might show signs of colic, abdominal swelling, yellowing of the mucous membranes from jaundice and there might be sudden behavioural changes.

Thankfully, fireweed is bitter tasting and most horses will generally avoid the plant if other pasture is available. Some horses might eat it during times of drought when there is very little feed available, or when fireweed has grown out of control and taken over entire paddocks, crowding out grasses and other safe forage species.

One of the highest risks to horses from fireweed is accidental ingestion in hay. The dried plant can lose some of its bitterness and will be consumed along with other palatable hay components, such as lucerne or the grasses in meadow hay. Always check through new hay batches to make sure it is not contaminated with weeds that might be poisonous to your horse.

Fireweed can be difficult to control on horse properties once it’s established. If you see one or a few individual fireweed plants in your paddocks – dig them out, roots and all – bag the entire plant to prevent escape of seeds and dispose of it. Don’t compost it or leave it on the ground to wilt and die, firstly because seeds may escape but also because the wilting plant will be more palatable to horses than the growing plant. If there are too many plants to remove by hand, spot spraying can be done to control, or hopefully eradicate, the weed before it spreads further on your property. Speak to your local agronomist or produce store to work out the best herbicide for your local conditions. It may be worth speaking to your local Council as in many areas where fireweed is a problem, Councils have established guidelines and advice to help locals control the weed on their properties. Regular slashing at 2-3 week intervals (preferably before seeding) can keep the weeds from seeding and hot dry conditions may kill them over a 2-3 month period.

Many cattle farmers use sheep or goats to control fireweed, as these species are much more tolerant of the toxins compared to cattle or horses. Sheep have been found to be the best animals to help control the weed as they are easier to contain than goats and they will eat large amounts of fireweed. Although sheep and goats are more tolerant to the toxins in fireweed, over a period of a few years they may be adversely affected, so for the welfare of the animal it is best to only graze them on fireweed for short periods of time.

Our group, Talking Horse Health and Nutrition, often features advice about poisonous plants and mysterious weeds in Australian pastures. If you have a question about weeds or plants that may be consumed by your horses, then come and join the discussion at www.facebook.com/groups/talkinghorsehealth/
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Cathie Steele, Chrissy Moocow and 64 others like this

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Jackmurphy MurdochIt that the one that is linked to stringholt????

1 week ago

1 Reply

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Victoria ClaytonMarg East Lois Genis Anja Scheffers I'd be happy to spend some hours pulling our FW at your place Marg and Anja! Before trhe bloody stuff flowers!

1 week ago

1 Reply

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Leanne MayfieldThe best way to get rid of fireweed is walk your paddock and pull all plants and place them into a bag or burn them.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Tamar TerryBryan Terry is this the other flowering weed we have?

6 days ago

1 Reply

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Ali Deeive been told the hand pulling is also toxic to humans unless gloves are worn !!

1 week ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Carolyn FollandSlashing the paddock will work - if you can rotate your horses. Firewood doesn't like a hair cut

1 week ago
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Gillian KerrHannah Norris this is why I've been n picking and bagging it 😣

1 week ago
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Jenni ArberWalk the paddock and pull it out before it flowers.

1 week ago   ·  1
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Darcel LindauLleyton Green for your information buddy 👍

1 week ago   ·  1
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Nat MillerMy friends laugh when I say I'm weeding the paddocks 🤣🤣

7 days ago
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Sherilee Hughes

6 days ago
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Verity ReidShannon it's that time again 🙁

1 week ago
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Emmeline MallonF

1 week ago
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Linda BroadbentRachel

1 week ago   ·  1
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Danielle ThompsonSam Jodi Lesley

1 week ago
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