Feeding horses has always been the big question. There is a ton of products on the market, some are pellets some are muesli. Then there is the whole discussion about sugar, starch, protein, and fat as energy sources. I am by no means an expert. I did go to school for chemistry and I did a little biochemistry – but nothing about nutrition. Having Cassius with special needs made me read a lot of articles about feeding RER horses. Basically the main pieces of advice are:
– lots of hay, grass, and fiber in general.
– No sugar/starch, especially not on days with little or no work.
– Give enough vitamin E. Between 3,000 IU and 5,000 IU is advised by Kentucky Equine Research Institute for horses in hard work.
– Make sure the Ca/Mg balance is right (between 1.5 and 2.5). In Denmark this can be hard, since a lot of places have VERY hard water.
The first part wasn’t hard. The horses are out every day on grass with access to hay all day every day. The last part turned out to be harder. I wanted a concentrated basis feed and an energy source to feed on days with hard work. It needed to work for all the horses, not just Cassius. I ended up with HorsePro from NAG. I use Elite as my main source of vitamins and minerals and Fiber as my main energy source. This combination is high in fiber and proteins. For hard working horses I did need a little more energy. For this I have in many years just added oil.
Over the last year I have been talking with NAG about making a product with many of the benefits from Fiber, but targeted for the performance horse. Last week I got the first sack of the new Fiber Plus. This is for now, mainly for Marco since he is a hard keeper and is loosing a little weight now the grass is not as green. I am not in favour of changing too much in the middle of the season for Aristocrat and Faraday has always been an easy keeper. He really just gets the Elite and then a handful of Fiber.
Since Marco has only been eating Fiber Plus for a little less than a week now it is hard to say a lot about how he is performing. For now all I can say is that he is eating it and seems to like it.
Fiber Plus isn’t on the website yet, it should be soon. For now I can tell you that nutritionally it looks like this