Ever wonder what’s inside your horse’s feedbag? The ingredients, cooking process and additional additives all impact what type of horse that product is suitable for.
Commercial feed has progressed from just feeding simple straights such as oats and barley, to specifically formulated and manufactured feed, suitable for every type of horse. Taking the time to consider how feed is prepared and its individual benefits, can help you understand why it’s included, and identify which feed is suitable for your horse.
Bluegrass Horse Feed source the highest quality raw ingredients for optimum nutrient value and use specific processing techniques to enhance bioavailability of these ingredients in the horse.
What Makes a Quick Release Energy Feed?
Carbohydrates are principle sources of energy for the horse. Non-structural carbohydrates (starch) are found in grains such as oats, barley, maize and wheat. The digestibility of starch depends on the type of grain and cooking process. Bluegrass Horses Feeds such as Competition Mix or Cub and Hi - Performance Mix contain high quality carbohydrates, designed to provide an immediate energy source.
Micronization is the cooking process we use to increase gelatinisation, which improves the digestion and absorbability of barley and maize starch, by up to 90%. This method processes grains by using infrared technology to heat and vibrate starch molecules followed by a rolling or flaking process. Micronization and the use of pelleting was reported by Julliand et al., (2006) to improve the prececal digestibility of starch, therefore increasing the availability of glucose and providing more energy for the horse.
What Makes a Slow Release Energy Feed?
Structural carbohydrates (super fibres) are added to other Bluegrass Horse Feeds in the form of alfalfa chaff, sugar beet shreds and soya bean hulls. Feeds low in starch and sugar such as Re-Leve and Re-Solve are fortified with these super fibres to help increase the energy and as well as the fibre content of the feed.
Oils (vegetable, linseed) are added to the feeds in varying amounts for their energy value, metabolic benefits and to increase palatability. Due to the way the horse’s body digests and metabolises oils, they are non-heating and provide a source of slow release energy.
What else Can Be Found in Bluegrass Horse Feed?
- Equi Jewel, a high fat stabilised rice bran is incorporated into our feed products to increase the energy density of the feed and encourage weight gain. It also contains marine derived calcium for improved bone density, gastric and hindgut health.
- Throughout the Bluegrass range, Stamm 30 is included for its essential protein, vitamins and minerals, to support growth, performance and overall health. It also contains live yeast cultures to enhance the bioavailability of these nutrients.
- Natural source of Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant which is 180% more bioavailable then the synthetic form and fortified throughout the Bluegrass performance and stud feed range.
Having a basic understanding of what key ingredients make up different horse feeds, you can find one that bests suits your horse’s temperament and workload. Find out more with next months article on digestible energy.
Julliand, V., De Fombelle, A. and Varloud, M. (2006). Starch digestion in horses: The impact of feed processing. Livestock Science, 100(1), pp.44-52.