ARE WE FEEDING OUR HORSES CORRECTLY OR SHOULD WE BE INVESTIGATING FEED IN A LITTLE MORE DEPTH?
A QUICK STEP BACK IN HISTORY
I guess the first question is how has the horse’s evolution changed over the last 2000 years? Actually, not much too be honest. A larger head, a bigger body, a few tweaks here and there but fundamentally not a lot. The jaw, the teeth, the digestive system has stayed exactly the same with no changes. That should tell us something but it seems that we may have overlooked this fact somewhat.
If we go back in time, horses were free to roam. They were able to pick and choose which grasses, herbs, flowers and weeds they wished or needed to eat. Our horses are as smart as they come, they instinctively know what their bodies need and were able to find what they needed to fix any imbalances.
Wind the clock forward to modern times, they are no longer free to roam and find what their bodies need. They are completely reliant on us to provide this for them. It is a big responsibility.
Begin at the beginning
So, let’s start with the basics. The point of the horse’s mouth is the single most important part of the digestive process. It is here that the horse’s unique eating mechanism begins. They are designed to grind on one side of the mouth or the other, pulverising the food with a hammer mill type action, which induces saliva. This is key to the proper digestion of food as it reaches the hind gut.
I don’t think that I am alone….
So now for the tricky bit. The investigation of the food that most of us are feeding to our horses. Perhaps it is better if I take this from a “me” perspective and not naming any names.
My chaff was passable except for the rape seed oil and the dust. As it does not mention it on the packaging, I can only assume that the rape seed oil is not cold pressed and will therefore have been extracted at around 400 degrees changing the molecular structure of the oil and will have utilised hexane in the extraction process.
Have you heard of Hexane? No? Well here is the hazards indication report……….
Flammable liquids, Category 2 H225: Highly flammable liquid and vapor. Skin irritation, Category 2 H315: Causes skin irritation. Reproductive toxicity, Category 2 H361: Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child. Specific target organ systemic toxicity – single exposure, Category 3 , Respiratory system H335: May cause respiratory irritation. , Central nervous system H336: May cause drowsiness or dizziness. Specific target organ systemic toxicity – repeated exposure, Category 2 H373: May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure. Aspiration hazard, Category 1 H304: May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways. Chronic aquatic toxicity, Category 2 H411: Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects
Lovely, don’t you think?
Now you know why I will never feed any oil to my horse unless of course it is cold pressed. It has also changed the way that I feed myself – only cold pressed for me and my family too from now on in.
What really is in your feed bag?
Then I looked at my feed bag!! I rather wish that I hadn’t. There in black and white stitched into the bottom of the bag were the ingredients. I saw the delicious concoction of soya hulls, wheat flour, molasses etc etc. Lots of lovely by-products all unnatural to my strict herbivores and then, to add insult to injury, I found that 4 of the ingredients were genetically modified. Here I was, blindly feeding it to my brood mare and foal because I believed the marketing. My competition cubes for my eventer were along similar lines.
Who really ever gets down on their hands and knees to investigate the white tag at the bottom of the bag? Do it and you will see what I am talking about.
So what to do?
I have spent hours searching the internet looking for pure unadulterated alfalfa that do not contain any by-products or oils that don’t conform to my new healthy view of life. Alfalfa Pellets are a non-starter as they are not long stem, I could only find short stem and therefore do not encourage the grind that I am looking for. I have found 2 Alfalfa chaff products in the UK so far that conform fully to my strict criteria.
Going back to Oats! Yes, straight whole oats. A horse can pulverise a handful of oats in under 40 seconds! They are the only grain that can be served whole to a horse. Forget the old wife’s tale of heating, oats are in many of our feeds today though in small amounts. It is just a question of playing with the quantities and getting the balance right.
I will then include Flax Seed oil to add energy when I need it. Cold pressed of course, and organic if you can get it. Why Flax Seed? The answer is simple it has the correct Omega 3 to 6 ratio one of only 2 oils that fit the category.
The final ingredient, is of course, supplements – additional minerals and vitamins.
My question to you, is how much do you love your horse?
A lot right?
So why would you feed your horse something that it was never designed to eat or a supplement that you yourself could not eat?
The daily supplement is of course Oxydane. Pretty much every other supplement we have come across is full of tech or feed grade substances that are not fit for human consumption.
The first fundamental rule of Hi Form. Nothing goes into the supplements that are not oral grade. No fillers, no colours, no preservatives and nothing that is not natural to a horse – that includes whey powder which is a milk by-product, no cod liver oil, green mussels, or substances from shellfish (think Glucosamine), nothing based on Bovines (Chrondroitin Sulfate) and certainly nothing synthetically produced.
Remember, horses are STRICT herbivores – that means grasses.
Hi Form use mineral tissue salts. There are 12, which are found in the body ash. They are natural and are easily absorbed and utilised by the body. Every ingredient that is used by Hi Form is on the TGA (Therapeutic Good Administration) list in Australia, to get on the list every ingredient has to be backed by science.
Oxydane provides your horse with everything he or she needs on a daily basis. It looks after the immune and digestive systems, ensures healthy skin, coat and hooves whilst providing for performance and recovery from exercise including electrolytes and finally, assists with focus and concentration.
I will no longer be feeding junk food to my horses.
I am taking back control.
I am taking full responsibility for my horses and their health
I shall not be lulled into a false sense of security or trust a faceless brand.
I have gone back to the Future. Care to join me?