Running Cool Blog

Feeding Horses for Coat Health

Cameron Jensen - Friday, September 30, 2016

A full, shiny coat not only signifies health and vitality, but it can help your horse stand out in the competition arena this show season. With a few simple daily steps, you can bring out the best in your horse’s coat.

Many of us know that nutrition plays a huge part in the health of our horses’ skin, coat and hooves. If you’re looking to support your horse’s health and give their coat that added shine, follow these five steps to a healthier, shinier coat.

1. Select high quality forage

Lucerne and other legume forages are rich in protein, helping your horse’s coat find its natural shine. When selecting hay for your horse, take into consideration their body condition and any conditions exacerbated by incorrect nutrition to ensure they’re eating the most suitable variety.

2. Remove sugars, add fats

Ensure your horse is receiving calories in the form of fats, not sugars. Quality commercial feeds, like the Running Cool range, contain high-fat ingredients, like canola oil and full fat soyabean meal, which are shown to improve coat quality and provide your horse with important health benefits.

Be careful not to over-estimate your horse’s ration and add unnecessary fat. Quality commercial horse feeds, like Running Cool, formulate the inclusion rates in each feed product to give your horse total nutritional balance for better health.

3. Feed a well-balanced diet

A healthy, shiny coat is a positive by-product of a healthy horse, supported by a well-balanced diet. When selecting a commercial feed for your horse, choose one that supports your horse’s needs in regards to activity levels and breeding. The Running Cool range is nutritionally balanced and provides the required amounts of protein and fats for any discipline and breed of horse.

4. Manage biting insects

Allergic reactions from biting insects can damage your horse’s coat with persistent scratching and rubbing. Rug your horse during the warmer months to shield them from insect bites and during rainy weather to protect from rain scald.

5. De-worm regularly

Finally, a regular de-worming program, developed in consultation with your veterinarian, will also protect them from debilitating health problems and a lacklustre coat. You should also groom daily to promote skin and hair health, and look for lumps, bumps and injuries. 

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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Managing Mares and Stallions During Spring

Cameron Jensen - Sunday, September 18, 2016

In the southern hemisphere, the breeding season is well and truly underway with the arrival of Spring. In this article, we share the essentials of mare and stallion care during Spring, including their nutrition, handling and health.

Nutrition 

A balanced diet, rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals, is the first step to supporting your mare or stallion this breeding season. Your horse’s daily ration is vital to supporting breeding success - providing your stallion with cool energy for breeding and your mare with nutrients for pregnancy.

However, like any horse, mares and stallions must be carefully managed if encountering lush pasture for the first time since Winter. Acute and chronic conditions, such as colic and laminitis, can debilitate your mare or stallion’s health and, ultimately, their breeding potential.

Handling

Breeding season can bring a number of stress factors to your mare or stallion. Maiden mares who haven’t bred before must be handled carefully to ensure their safety and comfort during live cover or artificial insemination.

Likewise, stallions can exhibit aggressive behaviour without reinforced training. Handling must be correctly enforced to prepare your stallion for the breeding routine, whether it includes live cover or the use of a reproductive dummy.

Health

Breeding and pregnancy place great physical demands on your breeding stock, so it’s imperative their overall health is maintained throughout breeding season. Regular vaccinations, dental and hoof care are vital for their health and wellbeing.

In addition, it’s important to conduct breeding soundness examinations prior to any breeding activity. A breeding soundness examination will identity any physical conditions that could worsen with breeding or pregnancy, and protect your mare or stallion from transmittable infections.

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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Common Horse Nutrition Mistakes During Spring

Cameron Jensen - Monday, September 12, 2016

During Spring, there are higher risks associated with fast grass growth. However, incorrect pasture management and prolonged turnout time aren’t the only common mistakes. In this article, we outline three avoidable feeding errors so you can easily navigate around them.

Mistake 1: Not assessing body condition

Regularly assessing your horse’s body condition is a fundamental part of a well-balanced diet and exercise regime year-round. However, in Spring, the rapid growth of lush pasture makes body condition scoring even more critical.

Many horses are relatively inactive during Winter, often spending large periods paddocked or stabled. Because of this, some horses will gain weight over Winter, while others will lose weight. Formulating a healthy feed ration is only possible by knowing your horse’s current score.

Mistake 2: Not providing essential nutrients

During any time of year, your horses’s daily feed ration should incorporate a large quantity of forage, such as hay or pasture. With the influx of grass growth in Spring, some horse owners may decrease the amount of grain given, potentially limiting essential nutrients.

While grass is high in protein, with large amounts of vitamin E and magnesium, your pasture may be deficient in other amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Pasture testing and choosing a quality high-fibre, low-sugar feed will help you make the right dietary choices for your horse.

Mistake 3: Insufficient fresh, clean water

While the weather may seem mild, dehydration can still occur, leading to serious health consequences. Particularly as you bring your horse back into work, fluid loss as a result of sweating can drain your horse of energy and electrolytes.

At any time of day, your horse should have unlimited access to fresh, clean water. The use of a salt lick is also recommended to replenish your horse’s sodium levels. Hang a salt lick at a safe height in your horse’s paddock or stable for easy access.

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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Managing Your Horse During Spring Grass Growth

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, September 06, 2016

With the arrival of Spring, the risk for digestive disease and metabolic disorders can increase as your horse consumes lush Spring pasture. In this article, we discuss three simple management strategies you can implement to avoid these health risks.

In Spring, cool-season grasses grow rapidly and can accumulate high amounts of non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) - namely sugars, starches and fructans; predisposing your horse to acute digestive disease, such as colic, or chronic metabolic disorders, such as laminitis.     

Following a Winter season on sparse pasture or hay, your horse’s digestive tract is unaccustomed to these levels, resulting in the death of good bacteria in the hindgut and the release of harmful pathogens into the bloodstream - a known cause of laminitis.

The risks of Spring grass growth are even higher for horses prone to grass-induced laminitis, or those with insulin resistance, obesity or Cushing’s disease, but without careful management, any horse can be affected. Here are three steps you can take to reduce the risk to your horse.

1. Increase turnout gradually

To reduce the risk of microbial upset, introduce your horse to Spring pasture gradually if they’ve been kept primarily on hay throughout Winter. Turn them out for one hour during the early morning hours when fructan levels are lowest and increase by 30 minute increments daily.

If your horse has been kept on pasture during Winter, you may consider restricting grazing during the late afternoon when fructan levels peak. For those horses considered high risk, their diet should contain hay with less than 10% NSC and a balanced feed.

2. Implement pasture rotation

Over-grazing results in stressed pasture, which leads to dangerously high levels of NSCs, particularly in cool-season grasses. Rotational grazing is a simple method to ensure your horse consumes grasses during growth stage when the stem is closer to the ground.

When pasture is grazed down to 3-4 inches, the paddock should be rested until growth reaches 6-8 inches. Managing pasture so it remains in growth stage will significantly reduce the risk to your horse of consuming dangerous levels of fructans.

3. Avoid turnout during high-risk periods

Finally, there are certain times where fructan levels are highest and should be avoided. Typically, NSCs accumulate in the late afternoon for usage overnight in the stem. Removing your horse from pasture during the late afternoon will reduce over-consumption of NSCs.

Similarly, following cool overnight temperatures or frost, high levels of fructan remain in the stem as they haven’t been used overnight to support plant growth. Avoiding or limiting pasture intake the day after these cool conditions will also protect 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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How to Choose a Senior Horse Feed

Cameron Jensen - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

By definition, a senior horse is any horse over 15. With proper nutritional support to maintain body condition and digestive function, many senior horses continue to perform at high levels. However, there are a few essentials to consider when choosing a senior feed.

As your horse ages, their digestive system becomes less efficient and, thus, their ability to absorb and utilise vital nutrients decreases. A horse feed designed for senior horses is necessary to ensure they receive a balanced diet that supports their workload.

In their prime years, many easy keepers can be maintained primarily on roughage, while horses in moderate to high intensity work require the addition of grain. However, losing body condition is one of the first and most obvious signs that your horse’s dietary needs are changing with age.

It may be time to change to a senior horse feed when your senior horse:

  • Starts losing weight, despite no changes in diet
  • Has difficulty gaining weight
  • Has poor topline, hoof or coat condition
  • Drops food regularly while eating (this may also be a sign of poor dentition)
  • Is consistently producing running manure

When choosing a feed for your senior horse, it’s important to look for a feed that’s:

  • Highly digestible
  • High in fibre and fat, while low in sugar
  • Contains high quality protein, particularly lysine
  • Easy to turn into a mash

In contrast to other senior horse feeds, Running Cool Senior is made from a larger nugget that is easy to chew and digest, and can be fed wet or dry.

Formulated using an extrusion process, proteins, carbohydrates and liquids are readily absorbed in the small intestine. Senior is also low in dust and fines, so it won’t exacerbate respiratory problems.

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 Essential Nutrients Every Young Horse Needs

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

As your young horse transitions from nursing foal, to weanling, to yearling, their nutrition has a profound impact on health, soundness and optimum development. In this article, we explain the nutrient requirements during each of these critical stages of life.

From birth to two years, the young horse achieves 90% or more of its adult size. A well-balanced nutrition plan is designed to support these rapid changes in height, weight and strength, while preventing the development of growth disorders caused by nutritional imbalances.     

The nursing foal

During the first 2-3 months of life, your foal will acquire nutrients entirely from the mare’s milk and pasture. However, in the third month of lactation, the mare’s milk production drops, while the foal’s nutritive needs continue to increase.

Creep feeding can start between 8-12 weeks of age to provide your growing foal with the critical nutrients - protein, vitamins and minerals - to fill this gap. Creep feeds should be fed at a rate of 1% or 1kg per 100kg of bodyweight per day.

The weanling

As their diet changes from milk to feed and forage, it’s crucial that you continue to supply your foal with concentrates, while avoiding over-feeding. Feeding high levels of concentrates can lead to rapid growth and the onset of growth disorders, such as Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD).

Your weanling’s diet should be balanced with unlimited access to good quality forage sources, such as hay and pasture, along with freedom of movement. Running Cool Breed-Ezy is an extruded feed containing large nuggets which, similar to forage, promotes chewing and aids in saliva production.

The yearling

By the age of 12 months, growth rate starts to slow. A yearling can be well-maintained on a diet comprised of forage and concentrates, which should be fed at 0.5-1.5kg per 100kg of bodyweight per day to keep condition.

For a horse of any age, and particularly for young, growing horses, protein is an integral ingredient in the diet. Amino acids, like lysine, are the building blocks of bone, muscle and soft tissue. Feeding a high quality protein supplement, high in lysine, like Running Cool Breed-Ezy, is ideal.

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: Feeding Your Broodmare

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The most common mistake when feeding the broodmare is over-feeding during pregnancy and under-feeding during lactation. Providing your mare with optimum nutrition is an essential part of a successful breeding program. In this article, we explain the importance of diet during each stage of your mare’s pregnancy - from conception to lactation.

Conception 

Body condition has a massive impact on your mare’s breeding ability. A mare in healthy body condition (approximately 5 on the Henneke Scale) will find it easier to conceive and carry her pregnancy to term. To support your mare’s conception, she should be fed good quality roughage, along with concentrated vitamins and minerals.

Early pregnancy

At seven months, the foetus is only at 20% of its birth weight. Your mare’s nutritional requirements during early pregnancy are, thus, similar to the mature pleasure horse. However, from five months onwards, foetal growth will start to accelerate. While your mare can continue on a diet of good quality roughage, supplemented with concentrates, you must be careful to avoid over-feeding.

Late pregnancy

In the final four months of pregnancy, 80% of foetal growth occurs. Your mare’s nutritional requirements, including energy, protein, calcium and phosphorous increase dramatically. Similar to a stallion, the quality and quantity of the amino acid lysine in your mare’s diet is vital to support her and her foal. A high quality protein supplement, high in lysine, like Breed-Ezy is recommended.

Lactation

The lactating mare has the highest nutritional requirements of any horse. Supplying adequate amounts of energy, protein, calcium and phosphorous are crucial at this stage to support milk production, repair of the reproductive tract, body condition and fertility. Without proper nutrition, your mare’s present health and future ability to re-breed are compromised.

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: Feeding Your Stallion

Cameron Jensen - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nutrition plays a vital role in the performance of your stallion during breeding season. A well-balanced diet, with adequate protein, will ensure your stallion’s nutritional requirements are met, resulting in a successful breeding season for your clients and stud. In this article, we outline the three key ingredients of your stallion’s diet that are crucial to their health, wellbeing and performance.

1. Energy

Today, it’s not uncommon for sought-after stallions to be expected to perform in the breeding shed and the arena. The caloric needs of your stallion must be taken into account when devising a suitable nutrition plan.

The demands of breeding and competition require a higher caloric intake. High quality roughage sources, high in fibre, should form 50% of your stallion’s ration. A low-sugar, high-fibre diet will meet your stallion’s energy requirements, without producing hot or aggressive behaviours.

2. Protein

While often misunderstood, protein is one of the most important components of your stallion’s diet. Without protein, your stallion’s body is simply unable to support the growth and repair of bones, muscles and soft tissues.

Protein delivers amino acids - the building blocks of life - to your stallion’s body, of which the most important is the amino acid lysine. Without sufficient levels of lysine, your stallion will have difficulty using any of the other amino acids available.

3. Vitamins and minerals

Finally, there are a number of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to improve stallion fertility, including selenium, vitamin E and vitamin C. Research suggests selenium is important in sperm motility, while vitamin C may increase sperm concentration.

Antioxidants, like vitamin E, in combination with omega-3 fatty acids, have also been shown to improve sperm quality. In addition, optimal levels of omega-3, 6 and 9 promote muscle development, top line, and a healthy skin and coat.

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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