Feed & Nutrition

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Horse owners have been wetting or soaking hay as a feed management practice for many years. Soaking hay for horses can be invaluable when feeding a hay that is a little dusty as a result of soil contamination or where it was stored in the barn. Horses that have allergies and are sensitive to the natural dust and particles in hay can benefit significantly from wetting or soaking hay.

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Donkeys are highly adaptable feeders. If given the opportunity, they will consume a variety of different grasses and shrubs to obtain sufficient nutrients. It is generally accepted that the donkey can exist with less food than a horse. Their efficient utilization of food makes donkeys easy keepers, but don’t let the term misguide you. It is important to take care in determining when and how much to feed as obesity is a major concern in modern domesticated donkeys.

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Horse owners know how important good nutrition is to the health and performance of their animals. They spend considerable time and money ensuring that their horses are provided with the nutrition they need to do a job and stay healthy. There is a great deal of debate in the equine industry today about feed and its safety or suitability for our horses.

Equine Cushing’s Disease, more correctly called Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a non-cancerous but progressive enlargement of the pituitary gland in the horse. It is estimated that 20 percent of horses over the age of 15 will develop PPID. Note that Cushing’s Syndrome in humans and dogs (when not due to giving too much steroidal medication) involves an actual tumour of either the pituitary or the adrenal glands, (either benign or malignant), whereas Cushing’s Disease in horses has a different cause.

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While we have become increasingly aware of the special needs of horses with sensitivities to starch and sugar, there remains a large population of our performance horses that can benefit from moderate inclusion of NSC (non-structural carbohydrates: starch and sugar) in the diet. Non-structural carbohydrates are found in varying amounts in all feed ingredients, with the exception of ingredients that are solely comprised of fat. The largest source of NSC in most horses’ diets is forage. Hay and pasture particularly can be very high in sugars depending on the variety and growing conditions.

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In recent years, the popularity of hemp as a feed supplement for horses has been growing remarkably. Although it belongs to the cannabis family, hemp is most commonly known as an industrial plant for textiles, rope, clothes, paper, plastics, biofuels, animal bedding, and sail canvases. Its seeds, oil, and leaves are all food and feed options, and hemp has found its way into the equine industry as an excellent nutritional supplement.

Develop Your Horse’s Topline, protein in horse feed for performance amino acids horses otter co-op feed, athletic horse feed

Topline is the term used to describe the muscle coverage over the top of the horse’s neck, withers, back, loin, and croup. Because topline is muscle, a horse with a good topline will be stronger and more athletic, and will present a more pleasing appearance. What should we feed to develop the perfect topline? First we must understand that the shape of the back can vary greatly from one individual to another, and so the topline will vary in length and in curvature, with some relationship between the two. Horses with toplines that are sunken in over their withers, concave along the back and loin, or dished in around their hip bones and hindquarters will have diminished strength in those areas.

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Canadian Quarter Horse Association