Feed & Nutrition

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Do you wish you could have a calmer horse, reduce or eliminate longing time, and help your horse maintain better focus in training and in the show pen? All while maintaining his general body condition, topline, hair coat and hoof quality? Let’s evaluate the situation and find an answer...

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The world of equine oral supplements can be intimidating for the average horse owner. With so many different products containing so many different ingredients intended to target so many different problems (and at so many different price points), how does one decide?

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While your hay may be delivered in perfect condition, how you take care of your hay loft may determine the condition it's in when it reaches your horses’ mouths. Hay lofts need to be clean. Old hay, insects, heat and moisture will be very detrimental to the new hay stored in the loft. It’s a great time of year to inspect your loft. Does it smell like somebody’s musty attic? Horses like, and therefore eat, clean, fresh-smelling hay. Hay soaks up odors like a sponge, and a smelly bale of hay is not going to appeal to any horse.

Fat from any source will make your horse shiny. A fatty substance called sebum, secreted from the sebaceous glands in your horse’s skin, increases when the diet is higher in fat. It coats the hair, making it reflect the sun’s rays. Any fat will do; the type of dietary fat doesn’t matter when it comes to making the hair coat shine – but it sure does matter when it comes to your horse’s health.

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By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. - Diet affects behaviour. This makes sense. A well-fed horse is healthy. And a healthy horse feels good. Conversely, a poorly-nourished horse is suffering. A variation in hormone levels, for example, can have a temporary effect on how the horse sees the world. Just as reaction to sugar intake varies in humans, so it does in horses. Horses may feel ill or “off” from an overindulgence in sugar/starch, and they certainly have been reported to exhibit “sugar highs and lows” caused by the sudden surge and subsequent drop in blood glucose from a high carbohydrate (sugar/ starch) meal.

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As we welcome the transition from winter to spring, we are eager to get back in the saddle and start riding regularly again. Canadian winters are not sympathetic to outdoor riding, and without access to indoor facilities many horse owners have not been able to ride or exercise their horses as much as they would like during the winter months. Bringing horses back into work after their winter vacation must be done gradually by starting at a lower level and increasing the duration and intensity of workouts. At the same time, the horse’s feed should be adjusted to address his present body condition (too thin or too fat) as well as nutrient requirements for the increased workload.

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When transitioning your horse to new feedstuff – either to a new batch of hay, new pasture or new concentrates – you need to do so slowly to give bacteria in the horse’s digestive tract a chance to adapt to the new feed.Bacterial populations change according to what the horse is eating, and time is required for different bacterial species to colonize the horse’s digestive tract in this new environment. If there is not enough time for the population to adapt, it can cause digestive disturbances, which can lead to colic.

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