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

Warm shadows, the heavy smell of hay and an occasional snort from one of the horses in the stable below. This is the romantic and secretive charm for horsemen of all ages. It's a childhood Eldorado with secret hideaways, invulnerable castles with soft landing places that mix with places of fragrant respite and discovery for the slightly older ones. Then the cycle ends with the homesteader's pride over all his work, sweat and knowledge transformed into stockpiles for the winter.

In our climatic conditions conserved fodder is the foundation of feed for the vast majority of horses during the whole year. Surprisingly, there aren't as many of those fortunate enough to graze on real pastures as people would expect and as horses themselves would wish. However, during winter, even this minority has to pass from grazing constantly fresh juicy growth to different forms of nutrition.

Juicy - Dry
green forage - hay
haylage, silage of hay - hot-air-dried fodder
root crops - straw and chaff

This extensive group comprises all non-hard vegetal feeds that dispose of at least 80 % of solids, or they contain a maximum of 20 % of water. Out of the three groups given in the table one differs significantly from a feed point.

Careful drying of fodder with hot air enables to conserve most of the nutriments and energy from the original matter and so some of the fodder processed in this way nutritionally resembles hard feed more than fodder itself. For that reason they are used more as components of hard-feed mixtures, whether they are powdered, granulated or extruded, than as fodder, for example as a substitute for hay. The quality of these products depends on two factors: the quality of the initial resource and on the drying itself. If the dried matter, namely grasses, cereals or clovers, is phenologically too old (with high contents of lignified fibre), we can only expect to pay a lot of money for little quality and few nutriments.

The same happens when following an unsuitable way of drying. Some housewives say that slight burns make food look attractive, but only metaphorically. The reason is that at high temperatures Mailard reaction takes place where lysine (the most important amino acid, the foundation building block of protein) irreversibly merges with sugar. In this case we lose not only some of essential amino acids but also digestible energy. The most of energy is held in dried root crops and they have favourable ratio of energy : protein.
Beetroot escallops are a rich source of easily digestible fibre that helps to maintain a sufficient amount of liquids, electrolytes in the gut and therefore ensures a stable and varied micro flora. Energetically they are on the same level as barley, therefore they have much more digestible energy than oats. Because of their capacity to absorb water and increase several times in volume, they have to be soaked.
Sugar beet escallops or molasses beetroot escallops have similar features, but they contain even more energy, about as much as corn. Clover hot-air-dried fodder holds a lot of (20 %) good-quality proteins with high contents of lysine. In measured doses they are suitable particularly for growing and underfed horses, however they are less so for sports horses and they can also cause laminitis or kidney problems when given in large amounts.
Hot-air-dried fodder from clover or grass with their nutritional indexes are more suitable for sports horses, they contain only three quarters of the protein in alfalfa. Nutritionally they are very similar to hay.

Straw is a ballast feed and is used mainly as bedding. As a feed it is poor in practically all digestible nutriments and given its lignified and not very digestible fibre it can cause constipation colic.
The most acceptable straw feed for horses is grass straw that is unfortunately often passed for hay. Its digestibility and content of nutriments is about half to two thirds of that of hay and therefore its price should correspond to this. We can distinguish it from hay by its paler straw colour, harder and woody stems, the presence of mature seeds and beaten stems. Grass straw is also strictly of one kind - ryegrass, catstail, fescue and so on.
Clover and alfalfa straw contains very high amounts of fibre and serves more as a mere mechanical saturator. Some "breeders" feed grass straw because of its price, saying that "the horses can manage", which is true, just don't expect anything of these horses. The similar goes for oat and barley straw. They can be added to horse feed as a saturator, although its main purpose is under the horse, not in it. And they're not much good as bedding either. On the contrary, hard and not very tasty wheat straw is for its ability to absorb and break an ideal bedding. It doesn't create lumps or clots in the box and it decomposes easily in soil.
Chaff is seed envelopes. Similarly to straw they're a ballast feed of the "when there's nothing else" type. Horses receive oat and wheat chaff best, unlike rye and barley chaff that contains thorns and can cause unpleasant injuries in the mouth.

The difference between hay and straw is the phenological age of the plant when it is harvested. Whilst hay is harvested (cut) when the plant is young and either has no seeds (time of blooming and hurling) or its seeds aren't ripe (milky or milky-waxen), straw is cut when the plant is at the end of its vegetal (living) phase. The stems are dead with large amounts of firm supporting bodies, something which is reflected in the digestibility and taste. Not everybody likes week-old bread rolls. It is therefore important to distinguish between hay and straw of the same plants. Surprisingly for some people, there exists oat hay, not only oat straw.

The quality of hay depends on many factors, the decisive ones are:
1) vegetal composition
2) phenological age at the time of harvest
3) quality of the soil, amount and relative proportions of accessible nutriments
4) weather during the harvest
5) solids content
6) manner of harvest
7) storage

1) The best vegetal composition is close to a good pasture growth, with a varied representation of mostly grasses, less of clovers and herbs.
2) The optimal time of harvest is determined by the prevalent plant species. With grasses the suitable time is the period of hurling and just after, with clovers it is the period from flower sprouting to the beginning of flowering. Earlier harvests are more difficult to dry, they're less rentable and their proportions of nutriments are less suitable. Older harvests are less tasty and digestible.
3) What isn't in the soil can't appear in the plant. That's why it is important to regularly add nutriments into the soil.
4) "Jim's starting to cut, it's gonna rain." These little manifestations of malice between individual farmers prove that being able to harvest good-quality hay in between summer downpours is art and luck simultaneously. One shower of rain, even if it's strong, cannot devaluate hay that much. Much worse are frequent small precipitations that force the farmer to leave the harvest in the field for a long time. When that happens, first the sugar content reduces (reduction of energy), then mould spreads (mycotoxins grow - poisonous) and protein decomposes.
5) Hay with less than 80 % of solids is unsuitable for storage because of the danger of self-combustion or of unwanted fermentation (steaming up) and particularly of massive spreading of mould.
6) Pressed hay must contain more solids during harvest than loose hay because the latter can let the moisture evaporate, whereas pressed hay in a bail cannot. Particularly dangerous are herbs with thick scapes and stems (burdocks) which dry out much slower than grasses and create favourable conditions for mould.
7) Good-quality hay is stored under roof only, everything else is only short-term and risky with significant losses.

When buying hay, pay attention especially to those features that you yourself can assess:
The colour should be green to light green. Yellow suggests sun or water bleaching, or with no carotene and possibly missing also other nutriments. White, gray and brown spots are signs of mould.
The smell must be pleasant or at least neutral. Mustiness and the smell of mice or strong aroma that even you can smell must drive horses mad because they have a much finer smell and they will be choosy if they can. However, "hunger is the best cook".
Dust is not only irritating, it can also be toxic. If the hay contains soils, the dust will quickly fall to the ground. In the case of mould it stays in the air for longer.
Hard stems and lots of seeds are a sign of late harvest and little nutritional value.

There is much more information about hay and fodder to be mentioned, all of it is important and essential to experts for creating the ideal diet for top horses. Nonetheless, one thing is clear and understandable to all breeders, riders and owners of all horses. Fodder constitutes the foundation of horse nutrition and therefore it is necessary to approach the nutritional and hygienic (contamination by mould, parasites, bacteria, toxins and so on) quality with no big compromises. The risks of giving unsuitable feed are serious and although the effects aren't necessarily apparent straight away, the horses will always carry the consequences. Those could be health problems, reduced capacity of regeneration, reduction in performance and lifespan or "just" worsened welfare. For most of us our horse is our friend, for some it is a sports machine, a commercial article or a representation of oneself and one's lifestyle. And none wants our friends, investments or business card to suffer.
Ing. Miroslav Drásal


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

říjen / Octomber 2012
Spouštíme anglickou verzi našich webových stránek. Přejdete na ni kliknutím na britskou vlajku v pravémm horním rohu. / We launch the English version of our website. Go to it by clicking on the British flag in the upper right corner.

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 »

January 2012
Představujeme Vám aktualizovaný leták krmiv a výživových doplňků La Sard.

Octomber 2011
Na stránce JO La Sard jsou doplněny podrobné informace k našim koním.

February 2011
Zahajujeme prodej plodu Ostropestřce mariánského, léčivé byliny ze středomoří. Po dokončení poloprovozních krmných testů uvedeme na trh krmný doplněk La Sard SyliVit Force.

November 2010
V měsíci listopadu bylo, po úspěšném prověření v krmných testech, uvedeno nové bezovsové, nízkoenergetické krmivo La Sard FUN s velmi atraktivní zaváděcí cenou.

January 2010
31.1.2010 spouštíme novou webovou prezentaci krmiv La SARD.

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