La Sard
Dnes je: 30. 11. 2021 svátek má: Ondřej
 
FEED MIXES

I didn't have to urge or say anything to that sweating and eager fighter. She wanted be first, probably more than I did. Stretched, with flowing main and tail and nostrils open, with no signs of fatigue she flew towards the finish line. The bony grey next to us, an experienced horse who kept us good company in the last long round, didn't want to give us a single inch without a fight. And he didn't. Simultaneous finish. Oh well, we do use the same granules.

Mixes are a combination of hard feed, hot-air-dried fodder, minerals, vitamins and sometimes other effective (sometimes only commercially) bodies. Whether powdered, granulated, extruded or combined they should be the best you can give your horse when it's in work. All there is to do is to know what you actually want and choose accordingly from a wide variety of offers.
Classical complete mixes, in conformation with the law, are not used for horses because these mixes must contain all substance necessary for proper growth and living, drinking water excluded. And without sufficient volume this is economically impossible with horses.

Supplemental feed mixes supply energy and substances missing in the foundation diet. And this is where the selection is wide. Not only the manner of processing is key, primarily it is the target group.

Processing of mixes
Powdered mixes aren't the most common with horses, they're much more used for poultry and pigs. Their main faults are the increased dustiness and the possibility of self-separation of individual components. Their advantages are the excellent miscibility with other supplementary substances, for example medicine, vitamins and feed supplements.
Granulated mixes are the most widespread. Although they are only slightly more expensive than powdered mixes, they don't share their faults. They vary in size from 4 to 8 mm. Small granules are received a bit better by horses who can grind them more easily, large ones are easier to find in the bedding when the horse throws them out of his trough.

Extruded mixes are qualitatively but also financially on a higher level. Because of high temperatures used during their manufacture the strong walls around cells are disrupted which makes these mixes more digestible. They also have a higher energetic value than non-extruded mixes of the same composition. Given their thermal expansion extruded granules have a smaller volumic weight so a certain volume of extruded granules weighs less than the same volume of non-extruded granules.

Lately combined mixes are becoming increasingly popular. They are often called horse muesli. They're composed namely of pressed cereals, or legumes, and they're completed with granules and extrudates in order to achieve a balance in nutriments and energy. Their anything-but-low price reflects the fact that it's new and evokes healthy lifestyle (people eat muesli to stay healthy) and what's more, horses eat these mixes with pleasure. Again, watch out for the low volumic weight.

Mix categories
Every mix has its target group. A universal mix for all horse categories is more than anything else universally unsuitable. Because we can assume that fodder is the foundation, mixes are supplementary. And if we know a horse's nutritional needs and the average nutritional composition of the most commonly used fodder, which is meadow hay, it is possible to calculate the necessary amounts of individual substances for a given horse category.

Weaners need the highest possible amount of good-quality protein, a sufficient amount of minerals and vitamins for the proper skeleton and muscle development. Although weaners are active all day on various physical levels (or at least they should be) when playing and cavorting, their need of energy isn't proportional to their need of protein, it is much lower. General overfeeding not only turns weaners into fat ponies, it threatens their future constitutional resistance and physical performance by putting too much stress on their motoric apparatus.

Yearlings and two-year-olds have nutritional demands that are closer to those of adult horses. Nonetheless, they are still growing and becoming more robust, therefore good-quality protein (essential amino acids, namely lysine) is a must. Two-year-old English Thoroughbreds starting to train for racing also have higher requirements for energy.

Non-working horses and non-lactating mares in their first trimester have fairly modest nutritional demands and if they don't have, for any reason (health condition, age), an elevated need of nutriments, when fed enough fodder, they don't require any specific feed mixes.

Working horses however need a mix that not only replenishes the used up energy and minerals, but also helps regeneration. A minimum of three types of mixes for different levels of activity are necessary, and those are light, medium and hard work, at the very least. So far different levels of protein required by different disciplines (show-jumping, dressage, eventing..) haven't been proved to exist and therefore the priority of mixes is to supply enough energy, without specific focus on protein demands of different sports branches. With increasing workload the energy consumption grows significantly. As for protein consumption, that grows too but much less, it's more the demand for quality that rises. Protein is not good fuel for horses, however with intensive activities the body needs to "repair" itself, thus the higher consumption.

Heavily gravid and lactating mares also have an elevated demand for nutrition. A heavily gravid mare needs enough resources for the development of the foetus and for the creation of milk reserves. She should be in very good nutritional condition but not fat. Given the large volume of the uterus mares nearing the end of their gravidity are unable to eat increased amounts of fodder so it is good to feed concentrated feeds. Lactating brood mares can consume enormous amounts of fodder but their high production of milk (15 to 20 litres per day at the peak of lactation three months after foaling), they're also usually gravid again at that time, with all the consequences for their needs of micro and macro elements.

Important signs
Most top trainers pay the selection of feed just as much attention as to the training itself because they know that nutrition is just as important for performance as training is. So, what to focus on?
The important piece of information is DE (digestible energy for horses) given in MJ (megajoules) and its ratio to NB (nitrogen bodies, or more or less to protein) given in grams.
For working horses (medium and hard work) DE should be starting at 12.5 MJ, or 12.9 MJ and the protein content up to 110, or 115 g per kilogram. Amounts of protein around the level of 135 g and more show poor knowledge of working-horse needs and slowly but very surely lead to metabolic problems and, if lucky, to limiting performance.
It is also undoubtedly true that no miracle granules will transform a lazy untrained horse into a champion. They're just an important part of the resultant jigsaw-puzzle of a healthy and successful horse.
Ing. Miroslav Drásal



  
NEWS

January 2013
Realization team La Sard wishes its satisfied current and future customers Happy New Year 2013


říjen / Octomber 2012
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May 2012
18. května se naše jezdkyně, Martina Drásalová, zúčastnila významného závodu SAIC v Jihoafrické republice. Článek o její účasti (a dalších 8 českých jezdkyň) si můžete přečíst zde. Zkrácená verze vyšla také na webu » brno.idnes.cz


January 2012
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February 2011
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January 2010
31.1.2010 spouštíme novou webovou prezentaci krmiv La SARD.

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