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Poulin Grain Feed Carbohydrate Contents

Posted by Sarah Meni Weaver on May 27, 2010 at 12:14 PM Comments comments (0)

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The Low Down on Fat?

Posted by Sarah Meni Weaver on May 27, 2010 at 11:56 AM Comments comments (3)





Dr. Stephen Duren

Fats and oils are commonly used in horse feeds to increase the calorie content of the feed or to replace the calories supplied by carbohydrates. Fat supplementation has many benefits including, providing calories for weight gain and providing essential fatty acids to improve skin and coat condition. Feeding fat has also been reported to decrease excitability in nervous horses. Both animal fats and vegetable oils have been fed to horses, although the use of vegetable oils is more prevalent due to superior palatability.

Vegetable oils (corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, rice bran oil) are each highly digestible, in excess of 90% digestible by horses. Animal fat, on the other hand, is approximately 70% digestible and certainly less palatable both for the horse and the horse feed buying public. Horses will readily consume many different types of vegetable oil if given the opportunity to adapt slowly to the addition of fat in the diet. Horses will also consume sources of dry fat, such as high fat stabilized rice bran (20% fat) and spray dried vegetable oil (Cool Calories 100 – 99% Fat). The fat contained in these sources is highly digestible, similar to vegetable oil, and the palatability is excellent.

The initial goal in supplementing performance horse diets with fat was one of increasing the calorie content of the diet. Horses in training require an increased amount of calories the harder they work. In fact, horses in training may require twice as much energy compared to horses at rest. Traditionally, the increased energy requirement associated with exercise was satisfied by adding more grain to the diet. However, on an equal weight basis vegetable oil provides horses with 2.5 times the digestible energy of corn and nearly 3 times the digestible energy of feeding oats. Thus, adding fat to the diet increases the energy density (number of calories per pound of feed) of the diet. The net result of the high calorie content of a fat supplemented diet is that horses in training do not have to eat as many pounds of grain to maintain body weight. Reducing the amount of grain in the diet decreases the chances of colic and grain overload founder. Horses that need to gain weight also benefit from the high calorie content contained in fat. Thin horses will gain weight and do so without having to eat as much grain if the diet is fortified with additional fat. Numerous studies have reported on potential benefits of fat supplementation to horses under a variety of exercise conditions. Although the jury is somewhat out on the clear metabolic advantages of fat, it is clear that feeding a fat supplemented diet will not decrease performance in horses that are adjusted to their diets. As a practical note, a high fat diet for a horse can provide 15 – 20% of the total calories from fat, while a high fat diet in humans can provide 60-70% of the total calories. Therefore, even horses receiving a significant amount of vegetable oil do not suffer any potential health consequences as seen in humans consuming too much fat.

Research concentrating on the glycemic response of grain meals fed to performance horses found that the sugar response of a grain meal was drastically reduced if the meal contained fat. This lower glycemic response with fat-supplemented diets has led to promising results for horses that suffer from certain types of tying-up syndrome. The mechanism by which the addition of fat alters glycemic response has been reported to be a general slowing of the rate of stomach emptying. The fact that dietary fat does not contain sugar, and that adding fat to the diet results in a general decrease in glycemic response, also may be helpful in controlling behavior in horses that become hyper when fed large amounts of grain. This is not to say that feeding fat will calm the savage beast, but it may modify behavior enough to be noticeable. It should be apparent that dietary fat in the form of vegetable oil, high fat stabilized rice bran or spray dried vegetable oil (Cool Calories 100) is beneficial for performance horses and for horses that need to gain weight. Fat is both palatable and highly digestible by horses. Further, feeding fat does not result in digestive upset that may occur when large amounts of grain are added to the diet. Look for next month’s nutrition update where we will discuss omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Specialized feeds

Poulin Grain offers some excellent high fat feed choices for your horse. EQUI-PRO™ Pro-Max 12% Pellet is the highest fat pellet available to assist in weight gain requirements. It is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to satisfy the requirements of your performance horse. EQUI-PRO™ Pro-Max 12% Pellet contains flax seed to provide an omega-3 and omega-6 balance of fatty acids.

EQUI-PRO™ PERFORMAX 12:12 textured feed is a scientifically formulated low carbohydrate, high energy based feeding system for the performance horse. This formula provides the protein, vitamins and minerals to meet the demands of the equine athlete. Energy sources, from soy oil and beet pulp satisfy the metabolic requirements for both the anaerobic and aerobic phases of exercise.

Feeding the Senior Horse

Posted by Sarah Meni Weaver on May 27, 2010 at 11:52 AM Comments comments (0)

Dr. Tania Cubitt

The nutritional management of the senior horse is challenging as there are not set criteria that define “old age” or the “senior” horse. The nutrient requirements of senior horses differ from other classes of horses because of the changes in metabolic and digestive efficiency that accompany the aging process. The first step to good nutrition for the senior horse is determining if it is “senior”. Rather than rely strictly on age to determine if a horse is a “senior”, it is more important to determine if the horse is “nutritionally senior.” A horse that is “nutritionally senior” can no longer eat its same diet and maintain proper body condition. The combination of age, physiological status and physical signs of aging will determine if a horse is “nutritionally senior.” Some common physical signs of aging that require nutrition management are loss of weight and decrease in body condition, loss of muscle mass over the top line, sway backed appearance, and dental problems. Some senior horses also develop diseases such as Metabolic Syndrome, Cushing’s, and Kidney or Liver Dysfunction.

When it has been determined that a horse is indeed “nutritionally senior” each horse must be evaluated and fed as an individual. The main goals of feeding programs for senior horses should be to maintain an optimal body condition score of 5 to 6 and minimize the risks of nutritionally related disorders and diseases. Generally senior horses that are in good body condition are less active than their younger counterparts and only have maintenance energy requirements. However, if the horse has difficulty maintaining body weight then a higher caloric diet is needed.

Likewise, senior horses in good body condition have protein and other nutrient requirements that are similar to those of the maintenance animal. Horses that are underweight or have lost muscle mass require higher levels of protein and other nutrients. Overall digestibility in the senior is decreased therefore highly digestible and available nutrients are critical. Water intake is especially critical in senior horses in order to reduce constipation and impaction problems that are common in old horses. A large issue with older horses is dental problems. Horses that are missing teeth or have poor dentition must rely on alternate sources of pasture and hay as their ability to chew is limited.

Forage products such as hay cubes, hay pellets, and chopped forage can be used as substitute forage sources. Complete feeds that use high fiber by-products such as beet pulp and soybean hulls can be used as a quality forage source. These forage sources are often fed wet or in a “mash” or “gruel” form to minimize issues of choke associated with inability to properly chew. Commercial feeds specifically designed for the senior horse are typically easy to chew and highly digestible. These feeds are either pelleted or extruded and in severe cases can be soaked and made into a mash to facilitate easier consumption by the horse. Senior horses should be offered small meals frequently throughout the day and a single meal should not exceed 5lbs. The main point to remember when developing feeding programs for senior horses is that these animals should be treated as individual cases and optimized for the specific needs of each horse.

Specialized feeds

Horses that have been deemed senior with regard to their nutrition, need specially formulated feeds to ensure they are receiving all their required nutrients. Poulin Grain offers some excellent feed choices for your senior horse. EQUI-PRO™ Premium Senior is a pelleted feed which makes it especially beneficial for horses with poor teeth and digestive problems. EQUI-PRO™ Premium Senior is high in fiber while containing sufficient nutrients to satisfy the needs of your senior horse. EQUI-PRO™ Premium Senior also contains a live cell yeast culture which increases fiber breakdown and mineral absorption. This product also includes Glucosamine, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and joint protectant. Poulin Grain also offers a Forage Extender Pellet that is specifically formulated to provide an easily digestible fiber source to horses.

To view ingrediants found in EQUI-PRO click here

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