Adding fat to top dress a feeding program is an excellent way to improve body condition for those hard keepers, high performance, special needs and senior horses. Fat is energy dense and provides more than twice the kcals per gram (9kcal per gram) compared to carbohydrates and protein, (both provide 4 kcals per gram). In essence, a horse would have to consume more than twice the volume in grain to gain the equivalent calories provided by fat.
1 cup oil (250ml) = 4000kcal, 1cup of oats = 1350 kcal, 1 C commercial feed – 1450 kcal
The average sized horse (360 to 540 kg [800 to 1,200 lb]) has a stomach capacity of around 8-15 L (eight quarts or two gallons), By nature, horses are meant to graze 24/7, consuming approximately 1-1.4 pounds (0.5-0.6 kg) of grass per hour as opposed to hay 15-20lbs a day and grain(6-10lbs of grain (2.7-4.5kg) split into 2 feedings, for a horse performing moderate activity.
This amount of feed at one time can cause digestive concerns, especially if the horse eats fast, has history of colic, laminitis, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), characterized by severe muscle cramping and tying up).
Adding fat will reduce the amount of grain required, will improve digestibility of fat soluble vitamins as well as the slowing down the flow of food from the stomach into small intestines where digestive enzymes take action to further break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
By improving nutrient absorption in the small intestines (foregut), less will reach the hind gut (large intestines and caecum), therefore less fermentation, gas, bloating and possible digestive upset.
Feeding smaller amounts of grain more frequently and top dressed with fat, would be better suited to maintain body condition and support the sensitive digestive capacity of the horse.
Wheat Germ and Soyabean Oil Blend is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, as well as Vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin A supports vision, reproductive functions, lining of mucosal membranes and immunity. It is made in the gastrointestinal tract from Beta Carotene. However, if horses did not have access to fresh forage, Vitamin A supplementation will be required.
Vitamin D is required for calcium and phosphorous absorption and good bone health. However, the active form of Vitamin D begins with sunlight exposure on skin, and further converted to active forms by the liver and kidneys. Lack of turnout and exposure to sunlight could impact Vitamin D levels and supplementation would be required
Vitamin E is a best known for its antioxidant properties and is readily found in fresh forage. However, these levels decline quickly upon hay curing and storage as with the case with Beta Carotene. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is an essential nutrient and not synthesized by the horse. Consequently, supplementation is recommended especially when there is no access to fresh forage and when requirements are higher for performance horses, mares and foals.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect and maintain cell membrane integrity and enhancing immune function. Free radicals are commonly produced as part of normal cell metabolism. Cellular damage or oxidative stress is a result from injury, disease and extreme work or exercise. Free radicals can damage the structure of cell membranes; impair function of many enzymes, proteins, hormones and DNA within cells. The more active the cell, the greater the potential risk of cellular damage. Vitamin E helps neutralize these free radicals.
Not only will horse gain a shiny, luxurious hair coat, but it can help maintain body weight for those hard keepers, adding fat calories that are easily digested, does not contribute to risk of colic or founder, or increased bulk in a stomach that is self-limiting in size. The addition of Vitamin A, D and E make this an excellent all around top dressing, palatable and cost effective reducing requirement for additional grain.
Fortified with vitamins A,D and E. Ideal for quicker shedding out in the spring and a shinier show coat. Mix 28 - 56 ml in the horse's daily ration.