Running Cool Blog

Formulating Your Horse’s Diet: Part 1 - Vitamins & Minerals

Cameron Jensen - Thursday, April 27, 2017

Nutrition is a fundamental part of your horse’s health, wellbeing and performance. In this new series, we discuss the components of correct nutrition to help you formulate a healthy, well-balanced diet for your performance horse or pony.

In Part 1, we examine two of the most commonly overlooked ingredients that are vital to sustaining performance - vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins and minerals play a critical role in growth, immune and reproductive function for all horses. Without an adequate daily intake of vitamins and minerals, deficiencies can rapidly deplete your horse’s health and performance.

But, what exactly are vitamins and minerals? And, why are they so important?

Vitamins

There are two types of vitamins - those that are fat-soluble and those that are water-soluble.

As their name suggests, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty deposits of the body. The main fat-soluble vitamins found in your horse’s diet are vitamins A, D and E. These are responsible for vision, calcium absorption and regulation, and antioxidant protection for cells, including muscle.

Water-soluble vitamins are often referred to as B-vitamins and these include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin and folic acid. B-vitamins are involved in nearly every chemical reaction in the body, and are vital for growth, metabolism and energy.

Minerals

Broadly speaking, minerals can be divided into two classifications - macro and micro.

Macro-minerals are required in large amounts in your horse’s diet. These include:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Chlorine
  • Sulfur

These macro-minerals are essential for skeletal development, muscle contraction, acid-base balance, supporting the nervous system, and healthy hoof and hair growth.

In contrast, micro-minerals are only required in small amounts in your horse’s diet. These include:

  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

While only small amounts are needed, their importance shouldn’t be underestimated.

These micro-minerals assist in many chemical reactions within the body, including metabolism, maintaining connective joint and muscle tissue, transporting oxygen and antioxidant protection.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

The difficulty with vitamin and mineral deficiencies is they often go unnoticed until they become severe. While a forage-first diet is imperative for every horse, even your pasture or hay sources may be low in certain vitamins and minerals.

The easiest way to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may affect your horse’s health and performance is to feed a well-balanced concentrate, such as Running Cool, that is guaranteed to contain the right blend of vitamins and minerals in every bag.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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Horse Nutrition: Part 2 - Deworming

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Internal parasites, like worms, can wreak havoc on your horse’s health in many ways. Without effective deworming, these parasites compete for nutrients in the diet, leading to loss of condition and poor health. In this article, we explain the role of deworming. 

It’s a fact that all horses co-exist with internal parasites. When restrained to small numbers, horses and parasites live in relative harmony. But, when left unchecked, parasite populations can expand rapidly with debilitating affects on your horse’s health.

Frequent and effective deworming is the surest method to combat the threat of internal parasites. When done well, parasite burdens are controlled and even eliminated during different phases of their life cycle. However, deworming has become more complicated in recent years.

Factors of Worming

Successful deworming depends on a number of factors, including age, time of year and management practices.

Every horse should receive at least four deworming doses during their first year of life. By 12-15 months of age, it’s time to begin learning which parasites are present, so you can create a targeted deworming program. This begins with a faecal egg count.

Faecal Egg Count

Under microscope, your veterinarian or local laboratory will examine a sample of fresh manure. Using a simple calculation, they will estimate the number of eggs per gram - and whether your horse has a low, medium or high parasite burden.

A faecal egg count should be conducted at least twice per year, with one done two weeks prior to worming and one done two weeks following worming. The results will tell you which parasites are present and if your deworming program is actually working.

Remember, even with a well-balanced diet, rich in energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, like the Running Cool range, simply cannot supply your horse with enough nutrients if they have a high parasite burden.

With the information you gain from a faecal egg count, you’ll be able to deworm your horse every 6-12 weeks - as per dosage instructions or the recommendation of your veterinarian - with absolute confidence, knowing your horse is receiving the vital nutrients they need.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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Horse Nutrition: Part 1 - Dental Care

Cameron Jensen - Monday, April 10, 2017

Feed time is often the first place where horse owners notice the signs of poor dental health. Without proper dentition, your horse is unable to chew, digest and absorb the vital nutrients in their diet. In this article, we explain the role of the dental care.

In contrast to humans, your horse’s teeth continue to erupt throughout their life - much like an eraser can be pushed through the sleeve when it becomes too short. For this reason, every horse must receive at least one dental examination each year.

Horses have evolved to process high amounts of dietary fibre; they graze for the bulk of the day, consuming forage sources we provide, like hay and pasture.

This frequent chewing causes uneven wear, which can lead to poor health, loss of condition and dental disease if not managed with a dental examination by a qualified equine veterinarian or equine dentist.

Signs of Poor Dental Health

Most commonly, dropping food - also called quidding - during feed time may be the first indication that your horse is due for a dental. However, there are many other signs that may be linked to poor dental health, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Head tilting while eating
  • Facial swelling
  • Blood in the saliva or on the bit
  • Ulcerations on the cheek or tongue
  • Resistance to the bit
  • Loss of condition
  • Head shaking or tossing
  • Unusual mouth movements
  • Behavioural problems
  • Odorous breath
  • Undigested feed in manure
  • Excessive saliva
  • Nasal discharge
  • Colic

Proper nutrition - and your horse’s ability to absorb nutrients - has a direct impact on their health, wellbeing and performance. An annual dental health check is the only way to diagnose dental problems and rectify them early.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

 

 

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10 Tips for Feeding Fussy Horses

Cameron Jensen - Monday, April 03, 2017

Is your horse a fussy eater? Some horses will go off their feed temporarily, while others - it seems - are just plain fussy. In this article, we share 10 tips to help you tempt the fussy eater at your home.

Tip 1: Forage first

Your horse should consume 1.5-2.5% of their bodyweight in roughage, such as hay and pasture, every day. Fibre will support a healthy digestive tract and chewing will prevent stomach ulcers. A sore digestive system could turn any horse fussy.

Tip 2: Add water

If your horse has become sensitive to certain flavours, such as supplements, consider adding water to their ration. This will help to dilute and disperse the taste. As a bonus, the added water will also help to keep your horse hydrated!

Tip 3: Be persistent

While you may add a sweetener to your horse’s ration from time to time, excess sugars are downright unhealthy. If your horse has become fussy for no particular reason and you’re confident in your choice of horse feed, be persistent before considering other options.

Tip 4: Feed smaller meals

Providing your horse with just one large meal per day is dangerous to their digestion. In addition to free-choice hay and pasture, you should divide your horse’s daily feed into two or three smaller meals to promote healthy digestion.

Tip 5: Reduce grain

Large quantities of grain can encourage unwanted behaviours and may simply be too much to consume in one sitting. When reducing grain, replace with fibre and fat sources, including oils. This will make it easier for your horse to eat their entire meal.

Tip 6: Protect their health

Regular dental care, de-worming and vaccinations are vital to keep your horse happy and healthy. Most often, a horse that has become fussy suddenly will be experiencing discomfort when they chew - caused by sharp enamel points that need to be managed by a quailed equine dentist.

Tip 7: Evaluate their behaviour

Nervous and excitable behaviours may indicate a more sinister health problem, such as a vitamin or mineral imbalance. If your horse’s changing behaviours are concerning you, talk with your veterinarian to determine if there’s more going on beneath the surface.

Tip 8: Manage your herd

If your horse is eating amongst other horses and they’re at the bottom of the pecking order, they may be run off by more dominant horses during feed time. But, if your horse is the dominant one, you may keep other horses close by (separated by a fence) to encourage them to eat.

Tip 9: Remove stressors

Removing any possible stressors is fundamental to horse health. One of the first steps is to reduce your horse’s workload. Integrate rest days into their routine and trial some other forms of fun exercise, such as trail riding, to break up the monotony.

Tip 10: Try Running Cool

Our fully extruded horse feeds provide your horse with the optimum blend of vitamins, minerals, protein and energy to support their health and performance - and they’re just plain delicious! If you’re not 100% satisfied with your bag of Running Cool, we’ll give you your money back.

Click here to find out about our 100% money back guarantee.

Important Note

Horses may become fussy in response to poor health or stress.

Just like us, horses too experience stress from intense training regimes, frequent travel and certain management practices. Separation from paddock mates and long periods where feed is withheld are detrimental to horse health.

If your horse has become fussy suddenly, you should discuss possible health or stress-related problems with your veterinarian.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

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How to Feed Horses to Avoid Colic

Cameron Jensen - Monday, March 27, 2017

At times, feeding horses comes under debate, especially during discussions about colic. In this article, we explain when feeding horses may increase colic risk and how our Running Cool range works to avoid colic.

A discussion on colic begins by understanding what colic is. Colic is a term used to describe any gastrointestinal pain in horses and it’s caused by many factors, including feeding.

Remember, not only is what you feed important, but your overall feed management is critical to your horse’s health.

Incorrect Feeding Practices

There are several common scenarios horse owners may encounter where incorrect feeding practices are linked to colic, including:

  • High grain intake - put simply, no horse should receive more than XXkg of grain per day.
  • Limited pasture availability - horses may consume other materials to satiate their hunger, or ingest large quantities of sand/dirt when grazing, leading to sand colic.
  • Poor quality hay - any hay, or commercial feed for that matter, that is poor quality, soiled or shows signs of mould, dampness, etc. should be discarded immediately.
  • Limited water intake - water is an essential part of the horse’s diet and every horse should have unlimited access to fresh, clean drinking water, including following high-intensity exercise.

In addition, high levels of starch and sugar in the horse’s diet can put your horse at higher risk of colic. As such, it’s important that your horse’s diet relies on forage, fat and fibre.

Feeding Running Cool

At Running Cool, we pride ourselves on manufacturing high-fibre horse feeds that deliver highly digestible nutrients to your horse, formulated by steam extrusion.

Our Running Cool range helps to lower risk of colic by:

  • Improving starch digestibility - Steam extrusion gelatinises starch granules, allowing easier digestion in the small intestine and reducing the risk of hindgut acidosis.
  • Increasing chewing time - Extruded feeds, like Running Cool, have lower bulk density than pellets and sweet feeds, which promotes chewing and saliva production.
  • Reducing tooth wear - Particularly important for aged horses, extruded feeds, like Running Cool, are also softer without needing to be watered down to support even tooth wear.
  • Highest quality ingredients - At Running Cool, we’re committed to using only the highest quality ingredients and a sophisticated manufacturing process to ensure every bag of Running Cool is fresh and delivers higher nutritional benefits to your horse.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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5 Feeding Tips for Easy Keepers

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Any horse owner with an easy keeper - a horse that can maintain or even gain weight on minimal food rations - knows how challenging feeding can be. In this article, we share five tips for maximum nutrition with minimal calories.

Tip 1: Limit pasture intake

Unrestricted pasture intake can place your easy keeper at unnecessary risk of weight gain, deadly hoof diseases and grass-induced disorders. There are several strategies you can implement for your horse, but it’ll depend on how they may be affected by pasture.

  • For those easy keepers that can graze safely, pasture intake may be limited by some simple management changes. Allow your horse to graze only with other horses, and rotate paddocks regularly to reduce starch and sugar intake.
  • For those easy keepers on limited turnout, allow them to graze during the morning hours only. This will reduce their exposure to harmful levels of starch and sugar that build up through the day and peak at night.
  • For those easy keepers that need to be kept away from pasture altogether, house them on a dry lot with unlimited access to free-choice hay. However, be mindful of sand and dirt ingestion. Consider using feeders and hay nets.

Tip 2: Feed hay, remove grain

Any overweight horse should have concentrates and grains removed from their diet. The point is not to reduce the size of their daily rations, but to replace concentrates and grains with lower-quality, mature and long-stemmed hay.

Lower-quality hay will encourage chewing, which is fundamental to your horse’s health and wellbeing. Exercise can be used to promote weight loss and a ration balancer, like Running Cool Leisure, can be added to ensure your horse is still receiving important vitamins and minerals.

Tip 3: Slow hay consumption

In addition, slow feeders and hay nets can be very beneficial for proper digestion. In nature, horses have adapted to consume small amounts of food over the length of the day, which keeps digestion and metabolism in balance.

For any easy keeper stalled or paddocked, these low-cost options will keep your horse eating throughout the day. Studies show that slow feeding actually aids weight loss in overweight horses and weight gain in underweight horses.

Tip 4: Monitor your horse’s weight

You should remain familiar with your horse’s weight and body condition score, and check these once a month. Taking photographs of your horse on a routine basis can also help you to notice changes which may be difficult to see day-to-day.

If your easy keeper has a condition, like equine metabolic syndrome, that prevents weight loss, a qualified veterinarian or equine nutritionist will be able to help you develop a suitable nutrition program that supports their health.

Tip 5: Consider using a grazing muzzle

Finally, introducing a grazing muzzle allows your easy keeper to enjoy turnout time without exposing them to the risks of founder. A grazing muzzle should be used for short periods at first until your horse becomes comfortable with it.

However, some horses will still be able to consume a dangerous amount of pasture, so be sure to check the fit and do your research first. Again, your veterinarian or equine nutritionist will be able to give you advice on grazing muzzles and managing pasture intake.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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The Importance of Electrolytes for Horses

Cameron Jensen - Monday, March 13, 2017

Just as water needs to be replenished following high intensity exercise in hot weather, so too do lost electrolytes. In this article, we explain the role of electrolytes in your performance horse’s body and how they may be replenished during show season.

Made up of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium, these vital minerals, lost in sweat, are responsible for conducting the body’s electrical impulses and regulating life-sustaining internal functions, including heartbeat.

Usually, horses can replace lost electrolytes by eating and drinking normally, as electrolytes form part of a well-balanced diet. However, in hot conditions where horses are expected to perform for hours or more at a time, electrolytes can be lost faster than they are replenished.

Cross-country eventing and endurance riding, particularly during hot weather, are two examples of high intensity exercise that cause profuse sweating and deplete electrolyte reserves.

Rapid electrolyte loss can lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness and cramping
  • Dehydration, which can result in impaction colic
  • Diarrhoea
  • Metabolic failure

There are many commercial electrolyte supplements available, including pastes that can be administered via syringe over the tongue, and powders which can be stirred into water or feed.

Providing your performance horse with electrolytes post-exercise will support the body’s normal functions, assist digestion and lessen muscle fatigue. Quality forage and clean drinking water should also be offered at the end of activity.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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Feeding Your Horse During Show Season

Cameron Jensen - Monday, March 06, 2017

During show season, we expect a lot from our equine athletes. Long-distance travel, interrupted feeding schedules and the stress of new environments can wreak havoc on their health and performance. In this article, we discuss show season nutrition.

Without proper nutrition and hydration, we simply can’t expect our equine athletes to perform at their peak. The effects of a busy show schedule, combined with extended periods on the road, can be detrimental to our horse’s health, resulting in:

  • Dehydration and increased risk of impaction colic
  • Digestive imbalance, ulcers and colic
  • Travel sickness
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Feeding For Performance

At horse shows, we’ve each had our own experiences of a horse that won’t eat or drink normally. The best way to avoid this is to maintain a consistent feeding schedule. Horses, by their very nature, thrive on routine and keeping to your normal feed times can be helpful.

Dehydration as a result of increased workload, high temperatures and reduced water intake can lead to poor performance and a swathe of health problems. If your horse is known to refuse foreign water, bringing water from home or adding a sweetener to encourage drinking may be necessary.

Feeding During Travel

Floating horses can rapidly deplete energy as continuous vibrations and uneven roads require them to constantly rebalance. Providing your horse with fresh water and quality hay at a safe, low height during transport is essential.

Rest is also imperative and you should factor in rest stops at least every 2-3 hours. During this time, your horse should be offered new hay and water, and given time to graze freely. If you’re travelling a long distance, you should also try to keep to your normal feeding schedule.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.


 

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Feeding Horses Off the Ground VS From a Feeder

Cameron Jensen - Monday, February 27, 2017

When it comes to feeding horses, there are two distinct philosophies - one believes in feeding horses off the ground as nature intended and the other in using a feeder to prevent sand ingestion. So, which is better or is there, indeed, an even better way?

Off the ground

Horses have evolved to graze - consuming grasses and shrubs directly from the ground, and maintaining their head and neck in a downward position. By far, the greatest benefit of feeding horses off the ground is that it allows the airways to be cleared of dust and debris.

However, many horse owners oppose feeding directly off the ground, particularly if horses are fed on sandy soils which, once ingested, can accumulate and lead to sand colic. Wastage can also result from feeding on the ground as feed is trampled, soiled or simply blown away.

From a feeder

In contrast, using a feeder can help to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. Horse feed can be placed in a feeder to avoid sand and dirt ingestion, and the associated intestinal problems, while limiting the potential for wastage.

However, the position of the feeder must be carefully considered. Any feeder that is placed above chest height can prevent the airways from being cleared and result in serious respiratory conditions. Rubber matting or a ground level rubber feeder is recommended.

When choosing how you’ll manage your horses at feed time, what’s most important is considering their health. The best solution allows your horse to consume food at ground level, while protecting their respiratory and intestinal tracts.

Ground feeding or using a feeder - the choice is yours.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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The Importance of Feeding Forage to Horses

Cameron Jensen - Monday, February 20, 2017

As horse owners, many of us understand that forage is an important part of the horse’s diet. But, how much do you know about the benefits of feeding forage? In this article, we explain what forage is and how it supports your horse’s long-term health.

Forage sources, including hays, pastures and other plants, are naturally high in fibre and a vital component of horse nutrition. Every horse should receive 1.5-2% of its bodyweight in quality fibre sources per day; providing them with a forage-first diet.

Primarily, there are two important benefits of feeding forage to horses. These are:

  1. Digestive tract health
  2. Horse behaviour

As you can see, these two benefits are innately tied to the health and wellbeing of horses.

Let’s discuss these further…

Forage for digestive health

Feeding forage to horses has numerous benefits for the digestive tract, including enabling thorough and efficient digestion, and reducing the formation of gastric ulcers. Long stem forage sources, in particular, slow the passage of digestive matter through the digestive tract.

Forage for overall wellbeing

In addition, the physical act of chewing forage has important health and wellbeing benefits. High-fibre forage requires chewing which, in turn, produces saliva. This saliva buffers the build-up of stomach acids and protects the stomach lining from painful gastric ulcers.

However, chewing is also a central part of a horse’s instinctive behaviour. Horses may spend up to 20 hours per day grazing. The act of chewing is very strong in horses and, if healthy forage sources are scare, horses may seek out potentially dangerous or toxic items to chew.

Providing forage to horses

During times of drought, like Summer, forage sources, such as hay, may become depleted. Additionally, your pasture may be lacking in vital nutrients.

Planning ahead year-round is an imperative part of sustainable horse-keeping. Pasture management and rotational grazing will help to enhance your own forage sources at home.

Providing your horse with a complete commercial horse feed, like Running Cool, is also recommended to provide the right blend of vitamins, minerals, protein and energy. Such as if you’re building muscle tone for competition or maintaining weight during Winter.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.

 

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