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Horses are used for recreational purposes, sport (e.g., racing, polo, and Olympic events), exhibition, breeding, ranch and farm work, and even therapy. Type of use, age, and physiological state affect the nutrient requirements of horses. Effective feeding management practices must consider many factors, including nutrient requirements, environmental conditions, and available feeds. Vitamins and Minerals play an important role in the nutrition of horses. While constituting only a minor part of the equine diet, these nutrients play a critical role in the health of horses. Minerals are involved in a number of functions in the body. The horse obtains most of the necessary minerals from forages and concentrates, but the mineral content of feeds may vary a lot with the type of soil, plant specie, etc. Vitamins are essential to normal metabolism and their lack in the diet causes deficiency diseases.
With this in mind, ISF developed a new line of vitamin, mineral premixes and supplements for horses. In addition, the ISF line of special feed additives can be combined with the ISF horse products whenever a special need arise, providing the ISF customer with a complete line of feeding options.
All products in this line, when fed at the recommended feeding rate, will supplement the base diet with the required quantities of the major minerals – Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Sodium and will provide all the trace minerals and vitamins needed for horse production. Herbs and Spices flavoring have been included in all ISF products with the name Herbageum to help improve palatability and intake.
|ISF Horse Specific||A good base supplement that provides the required vitamins and minerals to keep horses in good health. It also has the right amount of salt to be fed free choice. It’s modest feeding rate and its balanced composition makes it ideal for all year round fortification of low activity horses.|
|ISF Dan Patch Horse Supreme||Having the same base of Horse Specific, Dan Patch Supreme is packed with special additives and B-vitamins for horses undergoing more intensive activities or subjected to stress situations. This mineral has no salt. Salt must be made available to provide 25 to 50 grams per day per horse.|
These products can be combined with the ISF Special Products line to address specific situations. Here are some examples. The list of combinations is vast.
|ISF Horse Specific|
|Yeastpro is an excellent additive to the diet. Yeast improves fiber digestion and is a potential source of vitamins and/or growth factors. Yeastpro also supplies organic zinc that helps in the maintenance of healthy hooves and hair, and it also provides extra vitamins.|
|ISF Horse Specific|
|Vitapac is an ideal supplement whenever we need to reinforce the diet with extra trace minerals, B-Vitamins and Vit A, D, E.|
|ISF Horse Specific or Supreme|
|Daily supplementation with biotin improves hoof wall integrity. Biotin is a B vitamin that stimulates keratin production in the hoof laminae and coronary band, strengthening and improving the periople, hoof wall, sole, frog and white line.|
|ISF Horse Specific or Supreme|
|Thiamine is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and therefore energy metabolism. Levels of thiamin in normal diets may not be adequate for exercising horses. Thiamine is also important to keep a normal appetite.|
For proper digestive tract function, horses should be fed a minimum of 1% of their bodyweight per day in long-stem hay dry matter. Thus, using long-stem, good quality hay is very important in any horse feeding situation.
The variety of hay you choose should always come second to the quality of the hay. Hay has to be free of dust, mold, and foreign objects. Mold dust acts as an allergen and can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract in horses. It also can be a source of mycotoxins, which are poisonous compounds produced by molds. Moldy, dusty hay simply should not be fed to horses.
Foot care is one of the most neglected horse management practices. Most lameness that impairs the usefulness of a horse can be prevented by proper foot care and reasonable management. Foot care should be as routine as feeding and watering. It should include:
1. Routine cleaning
2. Periodic trimming
3. Corrections of minor imperfections
4. Treatment of foot diseases and injuries
Horses are herd animals. Because of this they have a social hierarchy in the herd (also called the pecking order). The pecking order must be taken into account when a horse is turned out into a paddock with resident horses. If possible, gradually introduce the horse to the group and watch it carefully to ensure that it is not injured by the other horses.
A source of clean, unfrozen water is especially important in the winter because horses tend to drink less when the weather turns cold. Less water coupled with a high fibre diet (hay, straw) may quickly lead to impaction of the intestines and colic. Although horses eat snow, they are not as efficient as cattle at obtaining the water they need from snow alone. Do not rely on snow to provide your horse with the water it needs.
Horses require shelter to protect them from wind, rain, and the sun. A natural grove of trees provides good shade, but for shelter from the elements, a three-sided enclosure works the best. Make sure your shelter is large enough to enable all your horses to fit inside together, and build it so the back wall faces the prevailing wind.
If your horse is stabled most or all of the day, it will require grooming daily to keep its coat healthy. However, don’t over groom a horse that spends most or all of its time in the pasture. The natural oils in its coat help to keep your horse warm and dry.
The horse, unlike ruminants (cattle, goats, sheep, etc.), has a relatively small capacity for feed in his digestive tract. Horses can consume about 2.5 % of their body weight per day. As an animal that evolved as a nibbler and grazer, it is best to feed horses smaller quantities of feed, especially concentrate, at least twice per day at about 12-hour intervals. That means a 450 kg horse will eat about 11 kg of feed per day of which at least half should be forage (pasture, hay, or hay cubes).
Horses are susceptible to a variety of diseases, as well as both internal and external parasites. To keep your horse healthy, it is important to vaccinate against diseases, deworm regularly, and properly care for teeth and feet.
Quality forages – remember that forages are the most important feeds for horses. Hay is probably the most important feed in any horse diet. It should be nutritious, palatable and without molds. ISF recommends SILO GUARD to help preserve hay. Silo Guard is an additive that may help to improve hay quality and palatability. Ask your ISF agent how and where to use it for best results.