Horses need more Oomph in Winter

Changing seasons offer nutritional challenges for horse owners. As summer relents and winter approaches, horse breeders must recognise that changes in pasture growth may ultimately affect the way they feed their horses.

The 2012-2013 summer presented serious challenges to horse owners nationwide with floods, droughts and bushfires. Pasture growth in every corner of the country was affected, leaving many properties with damaged sward and little hope of growing decent pastures as we approach the cooler months.

As fibre from forage should be the basis of all horse diets, offering good quality hay is important if pasture supply is low regardless of the season. Balancing this nutrition with a specially formulated breeding feed to ensure that protein, vitamin and mineral requirements are met is the next step to ensure the mare and unborn foal remain healthy and the growing weanling is meeting growth targets.

However there are some horses on the breeding farm that won’t maintain body condition regardless of good quality forage plus a breeding mix or pellet. For these bad-doers, an additional energy supplement, such as a fat or oil source, is necessary to provide calories on top of their balanced diet. Stabilised rice bran such as KER Equi-Jewel is a safe, palatable means of adding calories to the diets of many types of horses and is suitable for breeding mares, weanlings, yearlings and breeding stallions.

Because many of the calories in Equi-Jewel originate from fat, adding stabilised rice bran to the diet avoids potential digestive upset which may occur with high carbohydrate (grain) feeding. Stabilised rice bran also offers the advantage of providing fat in the diet in a solid pelleted form thus eliminating the mess, hassle and wastage associated with oils. Just 500g of Equi-Jewel can be used in place of 250ml (a cup) of oil and in some cases works out cheaper than oil on a day by day basis.

Stabilised rice bran is a popular additive to the diets of yearlings being prepared for sale and results in superior top line, body condition and coat shine compared with other fat sources. With its elevated fat content, stabilised rice bran is a good source of essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are vital for healthy skin and quality coat condition. In fact, one of the first benefits noted from feeding rice bran is a positive change in coat condition.

The diets of young growing horses such as weanlings and yearlings will benefit from the addition of dietary fat. Past and present research studies have shown that adding fat to equine diets will help to minimise post-feeding fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin. Minimising large fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin may decrease the incidence of developmental orthopaedic problems, especially with regards to cartilage development. Equi-Jewel added to the diet of weanlings and yearlings is beneficial, only if the base diet is balanced – it is essential to maintain the proper level of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet, by feeding Equi-Jewel with a balanced breeding feed.

Underweight mares and breeding stallions that do not hold their weight throughout the season or winter months will also benefit from the addition of Equi-Jewel to their diet – a small daily intake per day will have a significant effect on weight gain, stamina and performance. Equi-Jewel also contains important antioxidants, natural source vitamin E and selenium, which will support reproductive health and performance.

Equi-Jewel is the only stabilised rice bran supplement in Australia that offers the combination of high fat with minimal levels of oxidation, low starch and effective levels of digestible fibre. Don’t be fooled by copy cat imitation products – EquiJewel is the only research-proven stabilised rice bran that’s tried and tested and trusted by thousands of satisfied customers around the globe.

– Dr Clarissa Brown-Douglas

For more information, contact Kentucky Equine Research: free-call 1800 772 198, or email advice@ker.com.