Weight Management- How to optimise your horses summer diet – KEYFLOW UK
As we look around us there is almost unprecedented grass growth this summer in the UK. We are managing concerns of horses and ponies with, or at risk of laminitis, whilst also trying to control the weight of our horses in general. It is hard to imagine that by feeding the right hard feed we may be able to assist in controlling the horse’s seemingly inevitable weight gain. Our natural human instinct is to link hard feed to condition and adding weight, but this is simply not always the case; much like ourselves if we restrict our intake of nutrients, we have a tendency to cling on to the weight we have left.
When we think about ‘hard feed’ for the horse, it is important to consider the following elements, and to ‘decouple’ the different nutrient components. Hard feed is made up of vitamins, minerals, protein and energy. Energy is generally counted in calories, these will contribute to weight gain on any animal. If we dissociate energy from the hard feed, we are left with protein, vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a horse to function correctly. Considering a horse needs an efficient metabolism and one that is well-fed in terms of nutrient requirements, it is imperative that we do not stop feeding these essential nutrients in the hard feed, otherwise we allow the horse to function sub-optimally.
It is very often that we see people withhold food, or stop feeding in the spring and summer because their horses are getting larger and larger. However, the ones that adopt the correct feeding patterns and feed a high quality concentrated balancer through the spring and summer, will see their horses tone-up, and also manage their own weight better and even reduce the bodyweight they are holding. This is despite the fact that they may be out on a grassy field or in an environment that is seeing them get a lot of calorie intake from pasture.
We go one step further with this, and recommend you do not just feed a watered down low specification balancer, but they actually go for a full quality high specification balancer that provides the full and balanced range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as high quality protein and amino acids that a horse requires on a daily basis.
To put this into practical terms, when we are feeding a balancer to a horse, we have to remember we usually only feed about 100g per 100kg equating to about 500g per day, for a normal sized horse. This is a very small quantity of feed, the difference in calories (often labelled DE) from one balancer to the next is in our opinion negligible and mostly irrelevant when it comes to the actual effect it might have on body condition.
The Keyflow range can offer the perfect summer diet with a combination of Perfect Balance, especially when fed with Pink Mash. Perfect Balance is low in sugar and starch, and high in Precision Equine Protein. Wet steam extrusion ensures maximum digestibility, whilst high levels of Omega 3 oil to support all round health and vitality and will also help towards a healthy skin and coat. It works out as a very economical way to feed with a low cost per day. Pink Mash has been scientifically formulated to support hind gut health. It provides a significant source of highly digestible super fibre, combined with the goodness of beetroot and linseed. Protexin and prebiotics are included to support and stabilise the microbial balance in the hindgut, exceptionally important for horses and ponies on a restricted feeding regime. The delicious quick soak mash is also useful in maintaining and restoring hydration, especially useful over the summer months.
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