About Dr. Priska Darani, Ph.D.

Dr. Priska Darani has had a lifelong passion for understanding how diet regulates metabolism and contributes to health in both humans and animals. Priska grew up on a dairy farm in Eastern Ontario before attending the University of Guelph in 2005 to complete a B.Sc. in Animal Biology with a focus on nutrition. While at Guelph, she worked at the Arkell Poultry and Equine Research Station where she assisted with daily care of the horses. In 2012, she received an M.Sc. for OMAFRA-funded research on how altering the amino acid balance of lactating cow rations can affect milk production and composition. In 2016, she completed her Ph.D. degree focusing on nutritional regulation of insulin sensitivity and using mathematical models to predict metabolic responses.

Best Magnesium Supplements for Your Horse [Bioavailability Comparison]

By |2022-07-26T10:21:33-05:00July 18th, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Magnesium supplements for horses come in many forms and are used to support muscle function and calming. This important macromineral is required in the equine diet to facilitate muscle contraction, maintain ion balance in the blood, and activate enzymes throughout the body.

An Update on Mad Barn’s Equine Nutrition Modelling Research Program

By |2022-07-13T18:11:09-05:00July 13th, 2022|Mad Barn|

Mad Barn’s equine nutrition modelling project at the University of Guelph is underway after being awarded several research grants to match our initial investment. Currently, there are large gaps in the research available on the nutritional needs of horses. The goal of our research program is to better understand nutrient dynamics in horses and to use advanced modelling techniques to formulate optimal feeding practices.

Aloe Vera for Gastric Ulcers in Horses – Does it Really Work?

By |2022-05-09T10:31:35-05:00May 8th, 2022|Horse Health|

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a medicinal plant that is frequently used to soothe skin irritations. The gel of the inner leaf is also commonly fed to reduce or prevent gastric irritations and ulcers in horses. Aloe vera gel contains several active ingredients with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial effects. This herbal remedy also stimulates mucous production and influences gastric acid production.

Ulcer Recurrence in Horses: How to Stop Ulcers from Coming Back

By |2022-03-29T12:50:42-05:00March 25th, 2022|Horse Health|

Up to 90% of horses treated for gastric ulcers with omeprazole can experience a recurrence of ulcers when they stop taking this drug. Horses can develop rebound acid hypersecretion (RAHS) after the discontinuation of omeprazole. Higher levels of stomach acid often lead to new ulcers being formed, particularly if the underlying causes of ulceration have not been addressed.

Iodine for Horses: Dietary Requirements, Sources, & Signs of Deficiency

By |2022-07-06T09:19:30-05:00March 22nd, 2022|Horse Health|

Iodine is an essential trace mineral required by horses and all mammals. It is used to make thyroid hormones that control metabolism in all cells of the body. Forages and grains are typically low in iodine because most soils have low concentrations of this mineral.

We Analyzed 6,515 Equine Diets in 2021 – Here’s What We Learned

By |2022-07-15T07:30:59-05:00January 20th, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

In the last year, over six thousand horse owners from all over North America used Mad Barn to analyze their horses' diets. We looked at diets for weanlings, broodmares, pasture [...]

Camelina Oil for Horses: Should you Feed this Omega-3 Supplement?

By |2021-12-22T14:43:24-05:00December 9th, 2021|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Camelina oil is commonly fed to horses as an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. It is used to support weight gain, joint health, coat quality and general well-being. Camelina oil is extracted from the seeds of the camelina sativa plant, also known as false flax. It contains 35 – 40% alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid.

White Line Disease in Horses [Causes Symptoms, Treatment & Recovery]

By |2021-09-12T07:13:56-05:00September 9th, 2021|Conditions, Hoof Health|

While line disease is a hoof condition that can lead to pain and lameness. This condition affects the equine hoof wall in one or more hooves at a time. White line disease originates as a separation between adjacent layers in the hoof wall starting at the toe, quarter, and/or heel, which can then become infected with bacteria and fungi.

Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) in Horses [Treatments & Feeding Guide]

By |2022-04-07T12:59:30-05:00September 2nd, 2021|Conditions|

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) is a genetic condition in horses that affects how their muscles function and respond to signals from the nervous system. These horses have high levels of potassium in the blood and should be fed low potassium diets. Horses affected by HYPP have pronounced musculature which is sometimes perceived as a desirable appearance. They may also perform better in halter classes.

How to Feed a Horse with Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM)

By |2021-08-19T14:43:25-05:00August 19th, 2021|Conditions, Nutrition|

Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM or EPSM) is a genetic condition in horses that affects how muscle cells store sugars. This can lead to exercise intolerance, stiffness, and an abnormal gait in your horse. Horses with PSSM are at higher risk of tying-up episodes, known as exertional rhabdomyolysis. These episodes cause significant pain and are characterized by stiff, firm muscles along with profuse sweating and reluctance to move.

Tying-up in Horses: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Management

By |2022-05-17T13:09:17-05:00July 28th, 2021|Horse Health|

Tying-up in horses is a colloquial term for Exertional Rhabdomyolysis, a condition involving exercise-related muscle cramping and damage. Some horses experience a single episode of tying up whereas others experience recurrent tying-up. During an episode, the affected horse becomes stiff and reluctant to move. Your horse may only taking short, shuffled steps.

Scott Cieslar & Informed Equestrian Discuss Meeting your Horse’s Nutritional Needs

By |2021-07-08T21:06:26-05:00July 8th, 2021|Mad Barn|

Scott Cieslar of Mad Barn recently appeared on the Canada Horse Podcast by Informed Equestrian to discuss the ins and outs of equine nutrition. Scott chatted with hosts Nikki and Nadine about the horses’ core nutritional needs and how to design a forage-first feeding plan that is appropriate for pleasure horses all the way to performance athletes.

Vitamins for Horses: Requirements, Roles, Deficiency & Excess

By |2022-01-17T15:31:04-05:00May 18th, 2021|Horse Health|

Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for all living things. Vitamins have diverse roles within the horse's body, affecting energy metabolism, growth and repair, muscle function, neurological health, immune function and much more. Vitamins function as cofactors for metabolic reactions, including the breakdown of sugars and fats for energy, hormone synthesis, nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and more. Your horse's current vitamin requirements depend on age, exercise level, reproductive status (pregnant and lactating) and health status.

Scott Cieslar Talks Equine Nutrition on the Springen EQ Podcast

By |2021-05-31T11:43:55-05:00May 16th, 2021|Mad Barn|

Mad Barn founder Scott Cieslar sat down with Jess Einwechter of Springen EQ to cover some hot topics in equine nutrition. Jess is a professional rider and coach from Ontario, Canada and the host of the popular Springen Equestrian podcast. In this episode, Scott and Jess discuss the importance of a forage-first feeding program for your horse, how to reduce equine ulcers, and how to support your horse’s joint health.

7 Research-Backed Benefits of Yeast for Horses

By |2021-10-21T14:58:43-05:00April 15th, 2021|Gut Health, Horse Health, Nutrition|

Yeast are single-cell organisms that include over 1,500 unique species found naturally in soil, plants, fruit, and on the skin and in the intestinal tract of mammals. Live yeast are used as probiotic supplements for horses, primarily to improve fibre digestion in the hindgut, bind toxins and support healthy intestinal tissue. Horses that have disrupted hindgut function observed as diarrhea, constipation, fecal water syndrome, and horses on high-grain diets would likely benefit from yeast to support a healthy gut.

6 Science-Backed Benefits of Prebiotics in Horses

By |2021-05-31T12:32:45-05:00April 7th, 2021|Gut Health, Nutrition|

Prebiotics are types of fibre that are given to horses as a food source for the beneficial microbes in the hindgut. Prebiotics support fibre digestibility, gut health, and nutrient assimilation in the hindgut. Horses with disrupted digestive function, observed as bloating, discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, free fecal water, or intolerance to grain might benefit from prebiotics in the diet.

Amino Acid Requirements for Horses: When to Feed More Protein?

By |2021-05-31T12:48:05-05:00March 31st, 2021|Nutrition|

Is your horse getting a balanced range of essential and non-essential amino acids from their feeding program? Your horse needs adequate amino acids in their diet to make proteins. Proteins are complex molecules that are required for almost every physiological function including muscle contraction, neural communication, metabolism of sugars and fats, immune responses and more.

Lysine, Methionine & Threonine for Horses: 7 Reasons to Supplement these Amino Acids

By |2022-07-06T09:57:12-05:00March 5th, 2021|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Lysine, methionine and threonine are known as rate-limiting amino acids that are required in the horse's diet because they cannot be made in the body. Of the 21 amino acids that exist, these three are most commonly deficient in the horse's diet. Amino acids are the molecular building blocks of proteins. Proteins have many functions in the body; they form structural components of cells, act as hormones and act as enzymes that carry out metabolic processes.

10 Research-Backed Benefits of Zinc for Horses

By |2021-05-31T14:07:31-05:00February 21st, 2021|Nutrition|

Zinc (Zn) is an essential trace mineral that is required in the horse's diet to support the proper function of many enzymes and proteins. It is involved in antioxidant protection, immune function, protein synthesis, and cellular communication. Zinc is also important for proper bone development in foals and supports healthy hooves and skin. It is critical for reproductive health and supports normal growth and tissue health.

7 Science-Backed Benefits of Biotin for Horses

By |2022-07-06T10:04:28-05:00February 14th, 2021|Hoof Health, Horse Health, Nutrition|

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is required in the horse's diet for the production of keratin – the main protein that forms a strong, durable hoof structure. Biotin is most commonly known for supporting hoof growth and quality. It also supports many other elements of the horse's physiology, including fat and sugar metabolism, hair and coat quality and healthy skin.