Friday, June 26, 2009
Fat, Slick and Healthy!!!!
A lot of people ask us about what we feed..in fact that topic is discussed every time a horse comes in training. People like to know what it is we do to keep our horses looking so good...fat and slick. Well, it can be summed up very easily. We feed the horses the absolute best feed we can buy meaning both hay and grain and all these horses are on a work out routine. Does that sound familiar to what you hear on T.V. or from your doctor? Diet and exercise are the keys to good health!
When you think about what these horses do for a living there is no other good comparison than that of being a professional athlete. When an NFL football player shows up at training camp he is fed the best food the nutritionists can find and each player is given a diet plan suited to their needs. Then they use that energy to exercise and build muscle in the places they need to perform their job.
Our horses need a high calorie diet to provide the energy necessary to keep up with a rigorous training program. One critical factor here is that this high calorie diet needs to come from a source that is low in starch and sugars. Horses are herbivores meaning they eat grasses as their main diet. We feed straight alfalfa with a protein level of about 23%. If you don't feed quality hay you will be fighting a losing battle because the majority of a horses nutrition and energy comes from their hay.
Secondly, the grain we use is specifically low in starch and sugars and is very high in fat. It has been determined that fat is the best source for usable energy without negative effects on your horse. What we want is a lot of energy without driving a horse crazy! We need calm..good.. usable energy.
"Tribute" is a relatively new company that has the best product on the market. We specifically use the grain called "Kalm Ultra". This is an extruded grain which means it is fully cooked and comes in pellet form. Horses are able to digest every bit of this with no waste. There are no short cuts with this company either. Many companies these days use a "least cost formula" which means they change the formula according to the price of various ingredients so each time you buy you are getting a different product. With Tribute feeds you get the exact same thing every time and they are committed to using the absolute best ingredients they can find.
I have found that I am able to fatten horses up quickly and then drop the amount of feed each horse gets to half of what I am used to feeding. My horses are slick and fat and have a great stamina. Rest assured when your horse is in training here they are getting the best food we can buy!!!
Finally, keep in mind that when you are feeding horses this type of diet they need to be getting regular exercise. The key is daily work...not once or twice per week. So in figuring out your horses program consider your horses body weight and how much they are getting worked and adjust accordingly. We feed Tribute Kalm Ultra to every horse on the ranch including brood mares and growing youngsters but we do not feed the same amounts and for the outside horses we adjust the amount of alfalfa according to the grass supply in the pastures. We feed no additional supplements. I love that!!!