Running Cool Blog

The 5 Essentials of Horse Nutrition

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Correct nutrition is paramount to your horse’s health, wellbeing and performance. It also directly - and visibly - influences their skin, coat and hooves. In this article, we share the five essentials of horse nutrition to help you formulate the best feeding plan for your horse.

We highly recommend you consult your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist when planning your horse’s feeding regime. Our team at Running Cool can also help answer any questions you may have.

Age

Your horse’s nutritive requirements will change throughout their life. At a young age, your horse has a higher need for protein-rich horse feeds to support their growth and development. As they enter their senior years, they require a high-fibre horse feed that’s easy to chew and absorb.

Weight

A balanced, forage-first diet is essential to maintain body condition. However, dietary changes may be needed for weight gain or weight loss. Knowing your horse’s accurate bodyweight is fundamental in formulating a diet with the right blend of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Workload

Every horse should receive 1.5-2% of their bodyweight in forage daily. However, a forage-only diet may not sustain horses in moderate to high intensity work. Commercial horse feeds and supplements should be selected for each individual horse and fed carefully to avoid over-feeding.

Additional nutrients

In addition to a competitive career, reproduction places great physical demands on horses. A lactating mare has, by far, the highest nutritive requirements of any horse. Energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, along with plentiful forage sources, are vital to support your breeding stock.

Health problems

Your horse may encounter feed-related health problems if they’re fed incorrectly. Any horse predisposed to these health conditions, such as laminitis and insulin resistance, must be carefully managed. Your veterinarian should be involved in formulating a safe nutrition program.

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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3 Steps to Correctly Feed Your Horse

Cameron Jensen - Monday, February 06, 2017

Nutrition plays a central role in your horse’s health and, yet, mistakes are often made when feeding horses. Determining your horse’s nutritive requirements sounds complicated, but it’s made easier by these three simple steps…

By far, the most common mistake made by horse owners is over-feeding their horses. Over-feeding is detrimental to your horse’s health - and your wallet. An overweight or obese horse is at higher risk of life-threatening diseases and simply cannot perform at their optimum.

Step 1: Measure your horse’s bodyweight

Knowing your horse’s bodyweight is fundamental to protecting their health, and it should be done either by using veterinary scales or a weight tape. Not only does bodyweight determine ration size, it helps you monitor weight changes, and give correct medication and worming doses.

Step 2: Determine your horse’s workload

This is where most horse owners make feeding errors; often a horse’s workload is over-estimated and, as a result, the horse is over-fed. A horse’s workload may vary in intensity - from light to very heavy - and the type of physical activity will influence their caloric requirements.

Speaking with your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist is recommended. But, here’s a quick overview from the ‘Nutrient Requirements of Horses’, 2007:

  • Light intensity - average heart rate 80 beats per minute - 1-3 hours exercise per week - 40% walk, 50% trot, 10% canter. Disciplines in this category may include recreational riding, showing and the early stages of training.
  • Moderate intensity - average heart rate 90 beats per minute, 3-5 hours exercise per week - 30% walk, 55% trot, 10% canter. Disciplines in this category may include recreational riding, showing, polo, agricultural work and the early stages of training.
  • Heavy intensity - average heart rate 110 beats per minute - 4-5 hours exercise per week - 20% walk, 50% trot, 15% canter, 15% gallop, jumping or other skill work. Disciplines in this category may include showing, polo, agricultural work, eventing and the early stages of race training.
  • Very heavy intensity - average heart rate 115 beats per minute - the number of hours and physical activity varies. Disciplines in this category may include three-day eventing and racing.

Step 3: Check the label and instructions

Finally, you must feed according to the directions on the feed bag. Your horse should receive the minimum recommended amount, depending on their bodyweight and workload, to ensure they're receiving the energy, vitamins, minerals and protein 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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How to Choose the Right Supplement for Your Horse

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

For many horses, the addition of dietary supplements is simply not necessary. However, if you’re looking for a dietary supplement for your horse, it’s vital you consider your options carefully. In this article, we help you navigate the complex world of horse supplements.

Most commonly, dietary supplements are used for one of two reasons, including:

  1. To prevent deficiencies - i.e. vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
  2. To improve performance - i.e. calming agents, joint and muscle supplements, and blood tonics. 

As a horse owner, your horse’s health is in your hands and it’s imperative that you select a proven dietary supplement that’s non-toxic, especially if used over a prolonged period.

We encourage you to consult your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist before selecting a dietary supplement for your horse. You should also evaluate if your horse will receive the health and performance benefits they need from a nutritionally-balanced and forage-first diet alone.

If, with their involvement, you still feel a supplement is necessary to support your horse’s health and aid their athletic abilities, you should consider these questions as you begin researching the right dietary supplement for your horse.

  1. What does it contain? - A complete list of ingredients should be clearly visible.
  2. What do I hope to achieve? - You should determine if this goal is realistic for your horse.
  3. How does it work? - What will it do to your horse and are there any side effects?
  4. Is it designed for horses? - Any product not designed for horses is considered unsafe.
  5. Will it swab? - This is particularly important if you plan to compete with your horse. 

Any dietary supplement you choose should bear a National Registration Authority registration number and the state in which it’s registered. If the dietary supplement makes a claim, it should also be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

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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4 Common Ways Horses Become Dehydrated During Summer

Cameron Jensen - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

At the height of Summer, adequate water intake is essential to remain hydrated, maintain core body temperature and replenish water lost in sweat. In this article, we explain four common ways your horse may become dehydrated and how to avoid them.

There are six vital nutrients every horse needs in its diet, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water, yet water is often the first to be overlooked.

During Summer, the high temperatures and longer days increase the risks of dehydration. Let’s take a closer look at four common ways your horse may become dehydrated.

1. Your horse loses water in sweat

During moderate to high intensity exercise, your horse may lose up to 10 litres of water in sweat per hour, which must be replaced. Water should be offered to your horse before and after exercise, and cold water hosing can help to reduce core body temperature.

2. Your horse may not drink enough water

On average, horses consume 22-55 litres of water per day and this amount may only increase during Summer. Every horse needs to remain hydrated, including those sitting idle in the paddock. Providing horses with shade and unlimited fresh water is imperative.

3. Your feed rations may lack water

In comparison to fresh pasture, which contains 60-80% moisture, commercial horse feeds and baled hay lack moisture. Mixing a cup of water into your horse’s daily feed rations is an easy method to provide added water in their diet and may be necessary during times of drought.

4. Your horse’s health may limit water consumption

Hydration not only helps to avoid health problems, but it’s also important when your horse is suffering from any condition that results in fluid loss, such as diarrhoea or chronic kidney disease. Additional water will aid hydration and support their recovery.

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 Steps to Weight Gain for Horses

Cameron Jensen - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is your horse in good health, but not gaining enough weight? For some horses, maintaining a healthy body condition can be challenging. In this article, we outline five important steps to safe and successful weight gain in horses.

Weight loss can be attributed to a number of causes, with only some related to diet. Even if you’re confident your horse is in good health, a veterinary examination is critical if your horse has lost weight suddenly or if you’re struggling to maintain a healthy body condition.

For this reason, the first two steps to weight gain relate to your horse’s health.

Step 1: Check your horse’s teeth

Every horse should receive a dental examination at least once annually. If your horse isn’t gaining weight, the first step is to assess their dental health. Without routine dental care, your horse may develop sharp enamel points which make it difficult, if not painful, to chew and digest their food.

Step 2: Check your worming regime

Next, it’s imperative you ensure your worming regime is being effective. No amount of good horse feed will support weight gain if your horse is affected by a large parasite burden. A faecal egg count prior to worming, followed by a faecal egg count reduction test, will help you pick the right wormers.

Once you’ve ruled out any health problems, your focus should turn to diet.

Step 3: Provide forage first

Forage sources, like hay and pasture, should form the bulk of your horse’s diet. Hay and soil testing are important to determine the quality of the hay and pasture you’re feeding to your horse. Fibre is a major component of hay and pasture, and added fibre improves your horse’s weight.

Step 4: Add fibre and fat sources

Fibre, along with carbohydrates and fats, are important energy sources for horses. A qualified equine nutritionist will be able to determine if your horse is receiving the right quantities. Caution must be taken when feeding sugars and starches. A high fibre, high fat and low sugar diet is best.

Step 5: Follow your horse’s progress

Finally, when working towards weight gain, it can be tempting to simply increase your horse’s daily feed rations with added grain, but this can lead to health problems, especially if you’re feeding one large meal per day. Instead, you should feed smaller meals throughout the day.

The 2007 National Requirements for Horses suggests it takes 16-20kg to change a horse’s body condition by one unit, based on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Weight gain is not instantaneous; it can take several months, but the positive results are worth it.

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 Tips for Feeding the Performance Horse

Cameron Jensen - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Feeding the performance horse requires a careful balance. Too much body weight can place excessive stress on bones, joints, tendons and ligaments; while too little body weight can deplete vital energy reserves. In this article, we share five tips for feeding for performance.

Most performance horses range between 3 and 5 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale, with variances in body condition caused by imbalances in caloric intake and exercise regime.

Put simply, it’s critical you understand your horse’s daily feeding requirements to provide this balance. Any horse that is over- or under-weight cannot perform at their full potential.

Here’s five simple ways to maintain a healthy body condition.

Tip 1: Minimise the risk of stomach ulcers

Studies show up to 90% of racehorses and 60% of performance horses may suffer from equine gastric ulcer syndrome if not prevented. To protect your performance horse from this painful and performance-limiting condition, you should:

  • Feed smaller meals two or more times daily
  • Provide at least 1% of bodyweight in forage daily
  • Reduce calories from starch and sugar

Tip 2: Review your horse’s workload

Commercial horse feeds have a recommended feeding rate, which is largely based on weight and exercise regime. When evaluating your horse’s workload, you need to estimate how many hours are spent training per week to ensure your horse is receiving enough calories.

Tip 3: Reduce sugar, increase fat

Many horse owners are aware that feeding too much sugar and starch can reduce performance and lead to behavioural issues. In contrast, fat sources, like rice bran and vegetable oil, will increase caloric intake without adding more bulk to your horse’s daily feed rations.

Tip 4: Evaluate hay quality

Every horse must have unlimited access to forage sources, like hay and pasture, daily for hindgut health and overall wellbeing. You should assess the quality and type of your forage sources to determine if they provide the right blend of calories and fibre.

Tip 5: Choose a complete feed

Finally, performance horses in moderate to high intensity work may not be able to thrive on a forage-only diet. Feeding a commercial horse feed, like Running Cool Sport, will provide your horse with a calorie-dense feed containing important vitamins, minerals, protein and fats.

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 to Reduce Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

Cameron Jensen - Monday, December 19, 2016

Research into equine gastric ulcer syndrome has found that up to 90% of racehorses and 60% of performance horses suffer from gastric ulcers, mild to severe, at some point during their careers. However, correct feeding practices can reduce the risk to your horse.

Before we delve into how you can use correct feeding practices to protect your horse’s digestive system against gastric ulcers, let’s first examine the risk factors your horse may be exposed to.

Gastric ulcers are commonly caused by:

  • Strenuous training
  • Lack of turnout time
  • Lack of turnout time with other horses
  • Exercising on an empty stomach
  • Certain forage types
  • Feed deprivation
  • Over-use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Now, that we understand what can cause ulcers, let’s discuss some ways that correct feeding practices can help to reduce the likelihood of their development.

  • Increase turnout time with other horses: Horses thrive when the three F’s are prioritised - friends, forage and freedom. Turnout time with other horses provides your horse with unlimited access to pasture, while being active with paddock mates, which is important for their wellbeing.
  • Provide small, regular meals: Rather than feeding your horse one large meal per day, which in turn deprives them at other hours, feed smaller, regular meals two or three times daily. Forage, such as hay or pasture, should be provided continuously.
  • Feed lucerne hay before and after exercise: A small meal of lucerne hay before and after exercise is another way to protect your horse’s stomach against ulcers. However, any forage will assist in promoting chewing to produce saliva that is needed to buffer harmful stomach acid.

If your horse already has gastric ulcers, it’s paramount that you consult your veterinarian to devise a suitable treatment and management plan.

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 During Transport

Cameron Jensen - Monday, December 19, 2016

It’s show season and that means your horse will spend more time on the road. Travelling is physically and mentally demanding for horses, but proper nutrition and feeding practices can support them. We outline what do before, during and after travel for optimum health.

Before travel

Before you require your horse to travel, they should be healthy, in good physical condition and maintained on a nutritionally-balanced, forage-first diet. Even short trips deplete your horse’s energy. Ensure you have fresh water and quality hay hanging low at their head during transit.

Any long-distance journey above four hours requires more intensive preparation and a few simple feed adjustments can help support your horse, including:

  • Increase forage: Feeding your horse additional forage 2-3 days before a long trip will support hindgut health with water-holding, electrolyte-rich fibre to help prevent dehydration.
  • Reduce grain: If necessary, reduce your horse’s grain intake by half 2-3 days prior to travel to decrease the potential for unnecessary stress and tying up.
  • Replace with fibre: If your horse is susceptible to the above problems, their reduced grain intake should be replaced with oaten or grassy hay high in fibre.

During travel

Horses can become agitated if their feeding routine suddenly changes, so if travelling more than four hours, you should aim to provide a feed ration at the same time of day and night. Fresh water and hay should be provided throughout the trip. Reduce dust by soaking the hay for 5-10 minutes.

Remember to stop every 2-3 hours to give your horse a break from the constant movement. They should be offered hay and water during these rest stops. If your horse is refusing to drink, try adding a sweetener. Grass also contains water, so allow them time to graze at leisure.

After travel

You should monitor your horse’s rectal temperature twice daily for two days before and one week following travel to be certain it remains in the normal range. An increased temperature is one of the first signs of travel sickness, or pleuropneumonia.

Pleuropneumonia is best avoided by restricting strenuous exercise immediately after long trips, allowing your horse to lower their head during transit, placing all feed and water at a safe, low height and managing your horse’s hydration status.

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 Common Horse Feeding Mistakes

Cameron Jensen - Monday, December 19, 2016

A nutritionally balanced diet is imperative to your horse’s health, wellbeing and performance. In this article, we outline the 10 most common horse feeding mistakes that you should avoid for the benefit of your horse.

1. Incorrect diet

Every horse is an individual and a nutritionally balanced diet considers factors such as:

  • Workload
  • Health problems
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Season

2. Over-feeding or under-feeding

Your horse’s daily ration should be measured based on their weight, so as to avoid over-feeding or under-feeding. Close attention should be paid to their body condition throughout the year as you may need to make changes depending on factors like workload and season.

3. Lack of salt

Salt contains sodium and chloride, which are the only essential minerals not naturally found in forage. You can avoid sodium deficiency by providing 25g of salt in your horse’s daily feed ration and you should also consider hanging a salt block within easy reach.

To learn more about the importance of salt, particularly in Summer, click here.

4. Too many treats

Just like humans, horses will suffer the affects of too much sugar - and we don’t mean simply a sugar high! Many commercial treats are full of sugar and are best avoided. However, treats can be useful as rewards for training purposes and should be given sparingly.

5. Poor quality forage

Hay that is deficient in protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids will fail to provide your horse with the vital nutrients they need for optimum health. Likewise, hay that is old, mouldy or has gotten wet can be potentially harmful to your horse and should be immediately discarded.

6. Lack of fresh water

Your horse should have unlimited access to fresh, clean water. There are many dangers associated with dehydration, which can be prevented by offering water to your horse before and after exercise, monitoring their vital signs regularly and keeping their water supplies topped up.

7. Feeding large grain-based meals

For convenience, some horse owners feed one large grain-based meal once per day. However, horses are grazing animals and best practice dictates that horses should be fed smaller meals more often. Up to 2kg maximum should be fed each meal time.

8. No feeding routine

Likewise, horses respond well to routine and an irregular feeding schedule can lead to stereotypic behaviours, like crib biting. A regular feeding routine will help to avoid these unwanted behaviours and make it easier to keep track of your horse’s feed requirements.

9. Sudden feed change

Horses have a poorly designed digestive system, which makes them susceptible to health problems even when making changes to their feed. Feed changes are best made gradually. However, if you feed Running Cool, this is a problem you won’t encounter.

To learn more about how Running Cool avoids this problem, click here.

10. Too many unnecessary supplements

Finally, a forage-first diet supplemented with a nutritionally balanced commercial horse feed, like Running Cool, will supply your horse with the protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids they require. In this instance, supplements won’t even be necessary.

A word of caution - some supplements are toxic if consumed in large quantities, while others will simply be dispelled by your horse’s body if unused. When considering if your horse needs a supplement, speak with your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist first.

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 for Hoof Health

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Your horse’s hooves provide quite an accurate snapshot of their overall health. There are several elements that impact upon hoof health, including hoof care, season, exercise and nutrition. In this article, we’re focusing on the importance of nutrition for healthy hooves.

Just like their coat, your horse’s hooves can tell us much about the status of their health. While it may take longer for hooves to show the signs of ill health - sooner or later, your horse’s hooves will have much to say. As such, a well-balanced diet is important for every part of their body.

Forage first

The average horse should consume 1.5-2.5% of their bodyweight in forage sources, like hay and pasture, every day. A forage-first diet, if made up of high quality forage, can supply your horse with many of the protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids they need for healthy hooves.

For this reason, it’s important to test your horse’s hay for its nutritional quality, as forage sources deficient in these ingredients will need to be supplemented for healthy hoof maintenance. Let’s take a closer look at what high quality forage may naturally contain.

  • Protein, including the essential amino acids methionine and cysteine
  • Vitamins, including B-vitamins biotin and niacin
  • Minerals, including iron, copper and zinc
  • Fatty acids, including manganese, selenium and vitamin C 

Balanced energy and protein

Many horses thrive when their forage-first diets are supplemented with fully extruded feeds, like Running Cool, that provide balanced energy and protein levels for healthy growth, strength and function, including for hooves.

The amino acid lysine, in particular, is most commonly deficient in the diets of horses. It is often the key to improving protein availability in forage-first diets to support tissue repair and rebuilding. Horse feeds, like Running Cool, are the prime choice to provide your horse with sufficient lysine.

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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