It’s officially performance horse season. Whether you’re performing Western or English style, your horse will need the proper nutrition that will be vital for its premium performance.
A Horse Is Just A Horse?
As horse people, we get it. Your horse is much more than just a horse. Standlee lets you care for it as such. High-quality forage is an excellent source of nutrients. Forage contains energy, or calories, which allow horses to exercise and maintain body weight. The calories in forage are very safe since they are derived from fiber and digested and absorbed in the back portion of the digestive system. Conversely, the energy in grain is derived primarily from sugar or starch and can cause digestive upset (colic) if fed in large amounts. In addition, grain is absorbed as glucose and may cause certain horses to become nervous or excitable.
So, if we have an underweight performance horse, the first step is to increase both the volume and the quality of forage. Once the horse is consuming all the high-quality forage it can, then we add additional calories in the form of grain or oils. We know that forage is essential to maintain proper function of the horses’ digestive system. In fact, the higher quality forage fed, and proportionally the less grain fed to horses, the lower the incidence of colic or digestive upset. Feeding a performance horse a large amount of high-quality forage also stimulates water intake and makes the digestive system a reservoir of both water and electrolytes that can be used during exercise. This helps horses maintain hydration and exercise performance.
High-quality alfalfa forage has been shown to decrease the severity of gastric ulcers in performance horses. The high calcium content of alfalfa has a buffering influence on hydrochloric acid, the very acid that causes ulcers. Many performance horse owners are now feeding a small meal of alfalfa forage, alfalfa cubes or alfalfa pellets prior to exercise to buffer stomach acid. The alfalfa is provided 30 minutes prior to exercise since scientists concluded that acid splash during exercise is the likely cause of stomach ulcers.
Finally, offering free-choice access to forage helps to fight boredom in performance horses. Boredom is often a trigger for horses developing stereotypic behaviors such as wood chewing, stall weaving or pacing. So in conclusion, high-quality forage actually has potential medicinal properties as we try to keep our performance horses healthy and happy.
Your horse isn’t just some animal that you look after. It’s a close companion, a helping hand, and a trusted member of your team. Whether your mare is losing her edge after long days of training barrels and needs a little extra energy or has developed more sophisticated nutritional needs during pregnancy, feeding Standlee Premium Western Forage® is the perfect way to get your companion back to her top form. It’s also perfect for that well-aged gelding you’ve had in the family for 30 years whose metabolism just isn’t what it used to be.
For over 30 years, Standlee has done nothing but grown and produce the best Premium Western Forage and forage-based products. We relentlessly perfect our farm, procurement, production and delivery processes to make sure the highest quality and most nutritious products are realized by our discerning consumers and their livestock. For additional information, please visit StandleeForage.com