Horses have traditionally been fed grain based feeds but modern science has now allowed us to understand that cereals are not the best form of energy for every resting or working horse.
Keeping horses in stables and feeding them high starch feeds is a world away from their natural environment; feeding cereals in large quantities within the confines of a stable moves the horse away from its genetic evolution of a roaming continuous fibre eater. As the demands of domestication have taken horses away from this lifestyle, the practice of feeding large quantities of grain has proliferated and the occurrence of behavioural and veterinary conditions has increased as a result. So feeding traditional grain feeds can have a number of undesirable effects on both working and resting horses.
Low GI Horse Feed has a huge place in the dietary regimen of the modern horse, whether it is the high performance sports horse or the retired companion with Cushings. Ultra Low GI Horse Feed is relevant to all equines as it offers sustainable energy without the use of cereals, deriving its fuel source from digestible fibres and oils. The name ‘GI’ stands for Glycemic Index which is the measure used to ascertain the effect of sugar in the horse’s blood. There are lots of different types of Low GI feeds on the market with names such as Cool horse feed, Cool Mix Horse feed, Cool Stance horse feed. Our Ultra Low GI Horse Feed is the few low GI feeds on the market with no cereals in its ingredient list. Not all low sugar horse feeds are the same.
Using our Ultra Low GI Horse Feed offers a range of health and performance benefits
Low GI Feed is a popular choice of feed for those who have horses that traditionally ‘hot up’ on cereal based feeds but who nevertheless require power and performance for competition. Cereal based ‘explosions’ can considerably affect behaviour in the ring and Ultra Low GI feeds are increasingly finding their place with top competitors who require premium athletic performance but without the attitude. Our Ultra Low GI Horse Feed is the among the best low starch, calming horse feeds on the market; many other Low GI horse feeds contain cereals but our formula is grain free.
Ultra Low GI feeds can also have a massive impact not just on your horse’s performance but also his health. There are a number of conditions where cereal overload or intolerance are either the cause of a clinical problem or where the horse has a pre-existing condition which means that feeding cereals or grains is no longer an option. These include:-
1. Acidosis and Colic
The principal culprit in equine acidosis in the hind gut is cereals within the feed and effectively an overload of starch in the digestive system. Horses have evolved to have forage as the main component of their diet. As working and sporting requirements required the horse to perform at optimum athletic function, grains were used to provide the fuel source. The trouble with grain is that is has high starch levels and horses can struggle to digest this quickly enough, even with cooked cereals; the resultant passage of the undigested starch into the hind gut and its subsequent fermentation can lead to behavioural and clinical symptoms as the increased acidity in the gut damages the horse’s gastric wall.
Horses with high acidity in the hind gut may exhibit:-
• decreased performance
• loss of condition
• stable vices such as crib biting and wind sucking.
In more serious cases, untreated high acidity in the hind gut may lead on to:-
• Tying up with its established clear link to dietary imbalance
Prevention is definitely the best option in this situation rather than treatment and these conditions can all be managed if not eradicated completely by feeding our Ultra Low GI Horse Feed alongside a correct feeding regime and adequate forage. Why take that risk in the first place even if your horse is not showing any clinical or behavioural signs at the moment.
2. Laminitis, Cushings and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
Those that manage laminitic and Cushingoid horses know only too well the importance of removing starch from their horse’s diet and Ultra Low GI Horse Feed is the perfect weapon of choice in managing these conditions. Whether laminitis is initially triggered by a feed related overload – too much grass or a rapid change of feed which the hind gut bacteria struggle to cope with – or is part of the package that comes with Equine Cushings, it is crucial that the horse is placed on a low starch diet to avoid any triggering or exacerbation of symptoms.
Our Ultra Low GI Horse Feed is perfect for managing the dietary needs of laminitics and Cushings horses. These horses often have associated weight issues – they may need to lose weight or you may be worried about maintaining weight on an old horse – but you will be able to feed adequate rations with confidence. This feed helps to maintain the correct weight without the concern that the horse may be receiving levels of starch that are too high for its underlying condition.
What’s in our Ultra Low GI feed?
Our Ultra Low GI Feed works by offering the horse a source of energy through the use of highly digestible fibre and oils, there is absolutely no cereal in our formula and also no lucerne.
Fibre and oils can cater for your horse’s energy requirements be it maintenance, through to light work or serious competition. Fibre and oils make available to the horse a slow release source of continuous energy without any of the issues associated with traditional grain based feeds. Our feed contains soya hulls which have a Glycemic Index of just 7 whereas oats have a GI of 100 – the Glycemic Index measures the effect that a particular feed constituent has on the sugar levels within the bloodstream of the horse.
Micronized Lupins are another highly palatable constituent of our feed, a good source of protein and a secondary source of energy via the fibre content. The lupins are micronized to ensure that the content of the plant is readily available to the horse’s digestive system. Cold pressed Canola Oil provides the essential Omega Trio of Omegas 3, 6 and 9, adding a further source of energy, assistance with joint maintenance and the promotion of healthy skin and a sheen to the coat.
To promote a healthy environment in the hind gut, our Ultra Low GI Feed contains Levucell SC ‘Titan’ encapsulated Live Brewers Yeast and finally, a broad spectrum mineral and vitamin supplement so there is no need to add any additional products to ensure a rounded and balanced diet.
Adhering to the golden rules of feeding still remains as paramount as ever:-
1. Always ensure the horse has access to clean fresh water.
2. Try and feed at the same time each day.
3. Allow access to good quality forage whether hay or pasture.
4. Ensure your feed bowls are clean and without traces of old feed.
5. Introduce any changes to feed and hay gradually, over a period of ten days to allow the bacteria in the hind gut to adjust.
6. Always feed according to type, weight and workload.
7. Split the feeds into appropriate amounts with the largest feed being last thing at night. The horse’s stomach is small, accounting for only 10% of his digestive capacity and, depending on the size of the animal, can only accommodate of a volume of 9-15 litres.
8. Try and allow at least 30 minutes after feeding prior to exercise.
As a calming horse feed, our Ultra Low GI Horse Feed is a winner all round. Your horse will be happy and comfortable on our high fat low starch horse feed and you will have the comfort and reassurance that you are doing the best thing possible for your best friend’s dietary health.