With competitions, rallies and outings being kept to a minimum, it’s time to turn social distancing into a positive for you and your horse.
From a nutrition perspective, this period of reduced stress is a great opportunity to concentrate on feeding your horse to restore balance in their gut.
Reassess forage intake, the suitability of complete feed and use Digestive EQ to facilitate this and you will reap the rewards when you resume competitions again.
With decreased stress that comes with less travel and competition, and a decreased reliance on high energy feeds to fuel our horses for competition, we can start to really turn our attention to feeding for optimal gut health.
So, Where Do We Start?
Start with the forage component of your horse’s diet.
How much forage is your horse eating per day?
What sources of forage is he eating?
Your horse needs to consume no less than 1.5% of their body weight in forage per day and ideally more around 2% of their body weight per day.
This can be achieved through pasture turnout, free access to hay, feeding forage-based feeds in meals (ie. chaff, hay cubes, beet pulp and lupin or soybean hulls) or a combination of these. Where possible, try to supply forage sources that are lower in sugar and starch.
“Where possible, try to supply forage sources that are lower in sugar and starch.”
Transition To A Low-Starch And Low-Sugar Feed
You may also use this opportunity of decreased energy demand to transition your horse to a lower starch and sugar feed.
The ‘bad’ bacteria in your horse’s hindgut thrive on starch and sugar, so lowering the amount of these in the diet favours the ‘good’ fibre fermenting bacteria.
Remember - your horse’s bad bacteria thrive on starch and sugar!
Look for feeds that contain a larger proportion of energy from digestible fibre or fat sources rather than starch and ensure cereal grains are heat-processed eg. extruded, and feed no more than 2.5kg of grain-based feed per meal.
For good-doers, moving to a vitamin and mineral supplement like Digestive VM in addition to their forage intake may be all they need to meet their reduced requirements.
Now - Start To Repair The Gut
In conjunction with these dietary changes, it is a prime opportunity to facilitate any repair within the gut.
You want to be able to support the role of fibre fermenting microbes so they can provide our horses with their wonderful by-products (eg. energy and vitamins) and support general overall health through their role in mental health and immunity.
Digestive EQ contains active ingredients which aid in achieving these things.
With great uncertainty of when competitions will resume, take this time to work towards the goal of feeding for optimal gut health.
Prioritise feeding plenty of forage, forage low in sugar and starch, transition to a complete feed that favours the ‘good’ bacteria in the hindgut and use Digestive EQ to support long term balance within the gut.