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Body condition and Topline

Feeding for topline and condition in horses...the issues

We all want our horses looking good and performing to their best. Condition is the result of regular exercise consistent with the discipline required of your horse, and appropriate diet. Feeding for topline and condition can be reliably, safely and successfully achieved by considering the feed requirements of your horses. The tables included in this article give you a scientific guide to ensure the energy component of the diet is the right combination. Feeding high NSC diets will provide lots of glucose and deposition of fat to give a topline, however the extra glucose may cause insulin resistance, obesity, and sometimes bad behaviour and metabolic disorders. Read More

Tying Up

Also known as Monday Morning Sickness or Azoturia, Tying up is a term used to describe muscle disorders affecting some breeds of horses. Horses suffering with tying-up may experience painful muscle contractions, stiffness, profuse sweating, and elevated respiratory rates during or following exercise. For horses affected by PSSM, feeding high starch diets increases the amount of glycogen stored in the muscles, and therefore increases the chances of the disease occurring. Read More

Amino Acids in CoolStance

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play an important role in muscle development, hoof growth and coat condition as well as immune system, nervous system and hormonal function. In addition, amino acids supply the horse with a valuable source of energy. Most of the amino acids required by the horse can be manufactured in the horse’s body. There are however 10 amino acids that cannot be manufactured by the horse and thus must be supplied in the diet: these are termed the essential amino acids. Read More

Feeding Slow Vs Fast Foods

The vast array of feeds available in-store these days can make choice confusing, but working out horses nutritional requirements does not have to be complicated. Horses have nutrient needs that can be calculated from bodyweight and activity levels. What does make horse nutrition complicated is the process of selecting feeds to balance the nutrient intake with each individual’s nutrient requirement, and providing the feeds in a form that suits the digestive system of the horse. It is often a lack of understanding about the relationship between the digestive system of the horse and the form of the feed, and how this affects the horse, that causes confusion. It is well established in humans that they are what they eat. Obesity is now one of the major disorders in the western world - in both humans and horses. Can correlations and similarities be found between the two species that can help improve health and well-being? Read More

How feed affects fertility in mares

Many factors affect the ability of a mare to produce a viable egg which can be fertilised and that will implant successfully. The most important non disease factor influencing fertility is body condition. This is determined by diet composition and total energy intake.  Condition is measured using a 9 point score from poor/emaciated (1) through to extremely fat/obese (9) -.  Mares should be condition score 5-6 at foaling and at mating. As with most female animals, ovulation in mares is a function of ‘glucose production rate’ and circulating levels of blood glucose. Mares need rising planes of nutrition, i.e. rising total energy intake, and rising glucose production rate to ovulate. Therefore, if mares are in poor condition, the glucose production rate and circulating levels are falling and mares may not ovulate.  Read More

The role of protein

There is a lot of confusion about the role of proteins in horse feeds.  Can you feed too much protein?   Does it cause problems? Does protein cause your horse to heat up? Why proteins are important? Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play an important role in muscle development, hoof growth and coat condition as well as immune system, nervous system and hormonal function. Failure to provide the essential amino acids in the diet will slow growth, limit muscle development and reduce the horses feed use efficiency Lysine is the first limiting amino acid in a horses diet (i.e. it is the one most likely to be deficient in the diet). Threonine and methionine are thought to be the second and third limiting amino acids in a horse’s diet.
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CoolStance promotes cool energy and gut health

We all want the best for our horses and often we go above and beyond to seek out the best mixture of feeds to provide the ideal ration. Knowing that what our horses eat makes a real difference to how they behave and perform for us. It has been suggested that over 50% of horses are often overfed, underworked, obese and may be prone to insulin resistance (IR). How is it that we are killing our horses with kindness? Grain based feeds can contain high levels of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC >20%), which is causing metabolic chaos in our horses. The high levels of sugar and starch (akin to high GI) may be leading to disruption of normal gut function, for example the high percentage of sugar in molasses rich diets can contribute to the cause of ulcers in the stomach. Read More

Feeding performance ponies

Throughout history, ponies have always demonstrated the ability to be extremely resilient in tough conditions. Although your pony will require less feed than other horses, the need for good nutrition is still paramount. Performance ponies are usually judged on topline, condition and coat mane and tail. Overfeeding and hence obesity are the main nutritional issues with ponies. How do we feed them to be healthy and happy, without getting too fat? Overfeeding and obesity can lead to many of the metabolic disorders, including laminitis, difficult behaviour, insulin resistance and equine metabolic syndrome.  These topics have been covered in previous articles in this series. Read More