How to Feed a Horse with PPID (Cushing’s Disease) [10-Step Guide]

By |2023-06-07T12:21:02-04:00June 7th, 2023|Conditions, Nutrition|

Feeding horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), previously referred to as Equine Cushing’s disease, can be a challenge. Horses affected by PPID are typically older and may have other health issues including equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). This condition can involve insulin dysregulation (ID), recurring laminitis, and abnormal fat deposits.

How to Feed a Growing Foal: Nutrition from Birth to Yearling

By |2023-04-25T22:29:15-04:00April 24th, 2023|Nutrition|

Growth and Development Introducing Feed Feed Considerations Supplements Example Diet Raising a healthy foal involves working closely with your veterinarian and equine nutritionist to make sure they are maintaining proper [...]

Feeding Horses in Work – Nutritional Requirements & Example Diets

By |2023-05-01T13:21:17-04:00April 5th, 2023|Nutrition|

Exercise Physiology Performance Exercise Level Nutritional Requirements Protein Vitamins & Minerals Feed Forage Electrolytes Gut Example Diets Performance horses have higher energy and protein requirements than horses at maintenance (not [...]

How to Identify Forages and Estimate Their Maturity

By |2023-04-05T11:37:01-04:00March 22nd, 2023|Nutrition|

Forage is the single highest volume component in the equine diet. The type, quality, and maturity of the forage you feed have the greatest impact on the nutritional composition of your horse's ration. The only way to precisely assess the quality of a forage is to submit a sample for analysis. However, some visual and sensory clues can help you identify the forage species and their level of maturity to estimate the nutritional quality. This will help you decide how to choose a forage that is appropriate for your horse.

Chia Seeds for Horses – Nutrition, Benefits & Feeding Guide

By |2023-03-17T15:18:23-04:00March 17th, 2023|Nutrition|

Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant and are fed to horses to support gut health and provide nutrients. A member of the mint family, chia has been cultivated for over 5,000 years in Central America. The seeds of the chia plant are rich in nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Chia is also a source of amino acids and beneficial plant chemicals (phytochemicals). Chia is included in the equine diet as a source of cool calories with digestible energy primarily supplied from fat. Feeding chia is also purported to support gut motility, possibly reducing the risk of sand colic, among other purported benefits.

Transitioning your Horses to Grazing Pasture in the Spring [Guide]

By |2023-03-17T15:17:14-04:00March 15th, 2023|Care & Management, Nutrition|

Turning horses out on pasture is one of the best ways to encourage natural grazing behaviour. Fresh forage can be a valuable part of a balanced equine diet, but grass does not have the same nutritional value throughout the year. In the spring, growing grasses can accumulate high amounts of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) that might be unsafe for certain horses to consume. If your horse has limited pasture access during the winter, a sudden change in diet when spring arrives can increase the risk of digestive health problems and laminitis. Proper pasture management, including spring grazing restrictions, can help limit these risks. Some particularly sensitive horses may need to be housed in dry lots and only fed low-NSC hay.

Feeding Alfalfa to Horses: Pros & Cons of this Forage in the Diet

By |2023-02-28T21:46:16-05:00February 28th, 2023|Nutrition|

Alfalfa for Horses Nutritional Composition Forms of Alfalfa Benefits of Feeding Common Concerns When to Avoid Example Diets Alfalfa is a popular forage choice for horses and an ingredient in [...]

Carbohydrates in the Equine Diet: Nutrition Review

By |2023-03-29T10:14:26-04:00February 2nd, 2023|Nutrition|

Carbohydrates for Horses Nutrition Fibre Non-Structural Carbohydrates Sources Carbohydrates are the main energy source in an equine diet. These macronutrients are naturally abundant in forages, grains and grain by-products. Carbohydrates [...]

Feeding Canola Oil to Horses: Benefits for Weight Gain

By |2023-01-26T14:47:06-05:00January 26th, 2023|Nutrition|

A variety of supplemental oils including camelina, flax, soy, corn, fish, and canola are commonly used in equine diets. Although every oil provides the same amount of energy, each one has a different fatty acid profile which can influence the horse's health. Dense in calories, canola oil is a source of fat that can be used to replace grain in the horse’s diet. It provides cool energy for performance horses and supports weight gain in hard keepers. Canola oil is primarily comprised of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and contains more than twice the amount of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids.

Rice Bran Oil for Horses: Benefits of Feeding for Weight Gain

By |2023-01-13T15:44:50-05:00January 13th, 2023|Nutrition|

Rice bran oil (RBO) is an increasingly popular fat supplement fed to horses for weight management, cool energy, and coat quality. The oil is derived from the germ and bran of brown rice grains and contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Rice bran oil is palatable and provides a dense source of calories for horses. RBO is primarily composed of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It contains 42.6% oleic acid (an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid) and 28% linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid).

Fructans in Horse Forages: Do High-Fructan Grasses Cause Laminitis?

By |2022-11-29T22:46:25-05:00November 23rd, 2022|Nutrition|

Fructans are non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) found in cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. Fructans are indigestible by horses, passing through the foregut to the hindgut where they are rapidly fermented by bacteria to supply energy to the horse. There is an ongoing debate about the effects of fructans on equine health. Some researchers suggest that diets high in fructans predispose horses to health conditions such as insulin resistance, laminitis, or leaky gut syndrome. Other researchers argue that fructans do not cause laminitis because they do not trigger insulin secretion. Some studies showing a negative effect have used artificially high dietary levels of fructans.

Can Hair Analysis Determine your Horse’s Mineral Status?

By |2022-11-23T13:11:26-05:00November 21st, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Is hair analysis a reliable way to evaluate your horse's mineral status? Mineral testing is an important aspect of monitoring your horse's health, especially if forages in your area are known to be deficient or excessive in a given nutrient. Horses with certain medical conditions may also need frequent monitoring of mineral levels. In horses, mineral status is most commonly assessed through blood testing, hair samples or by evaluating intake with a forage analysis. These methods each have advantages and disadvantages that impact their usefulness. Hair sample analysis is convenient, but few reference ranges have been established for mineral levels in equine hair, making interpretation of results difficult.

Feeding Straw to Horses: A Low-Energy Forage Alternative

By |2022-11-21T11:55:59-05:00November 21st, 2022|Nutrition|

Straw or chaff is a high-fibre low-sugar forage that is ideal for horses that are overweight or insulin-resistant. Straw adds bulk to your horse's diet without contributing significant calories or protein. Research shows that adding straw to a forage ration can increase time spent grazing and the expression of natural foraging behaviours. This can improve wellness and prevent boredom without adding excess energy to the diet. While straw is not widely used as horse feed in North America, chaff or chopped straw is commonly fed in the United Kingdom. Mixing straw with other forages is recommended to avoid health concerns that are associated with feeding a straw-only ration.

Feeding Flaxseed & Flax Oil to Horses

By |2022-11-18T13:24:52-05:00November 18th, 2022|Nutrition|

Also known as linseed, flaxseed is produced from the flax plant and can be used to provide fat, protein, and fibre in the equine diet. Flax products are cost-effective, calorie-dense and commonly fed to horses for weight gain or to support the energy requirements of high-performance exercise. Flax seeds and flax oil are also sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This essential fatty acid can be used to balance omega-6 intake and helps maintain skin and coat quality. While consuming omega-3s is generally associated with health benefits, not all omega-3 fatty acids have the same effects on the horse's body. Flax oil does not contain DHA or EPA, the two fatty acids associated with healthy inflammatory regulation and improved joint health.

Teff Hay for Horses: Nutrition Overview & Feeding Guide

By |2022-11-18T10:43:35-05:00November 18th, 2022|Nutrition|

An increasingly popular equine forage, teff grass is grown in warm geographic regions and is commonly cultivated in the Southern USA. Native to Africa, teff is a warm-season grass that is high in fibre and low in sugars and starch. The digestible energy content of teff hay varies from high to low, depending on growing conditions and crop management strategies. Because teff does not store fructans, a form of non-structural carbohydrate (NSC), it typically contains less energy than cool-season grasses. Due to the variable NSC content, obtaining a forage analysis is recommended before feeding teff hay to horses. Low-NSC teff provides a safe forage option for metabolic horses.

How to Choose the Best Mineral Supplement for Your Horse – [Buyer’s Guide]

By |2022-11-06T11:12:20-05:00November 4th, 2022|Nutrition|

Proper vitamin and mineral nutrition is critical to maintaining your horse's health and well-being. But how do you ensure that your horse gets everything they need to balance their diet? Horses on a forage-only diet universally have deficiencies in key minerals, including sodium, copper, and zinc. Even if you provide your horse with a salt or mineral lick, the chances are that their diets will under-supply nutrients required for optimal health. This is why a vitamin and mineral balancer is necessary for almost all horses. Feeding a concentrated mineral supplement can benefit your horse through improved coat condition, stronger hooves, improved stamina, mood regulation, and better performance.