How to build condition and maintain a cool head

18th August 2021

Increasing condition in an excitable horse can be problematic. Many of these horses are best managed on a high fibre and high oil diet, as research has shown this is the best way to manage over-excitable behaviour. Normally, the easiest way to increase body weight is to feed increased calories, mainly from a cereal source, like Barley, however, adding extra sugar and starch to help build condition can make these individuals difficult to handle and ride. With this in mind, we should consider the use of alternative sources of energy, like fibres, fats and oils, to help us with weight gain.

Build and Glow, is a brilliantly effective product for these horses as it is high in a blend of oils and fats to improve condition and is a great source of ‘cold energy’ in the individual’s diet. Build and Glow is an extruded pellet, so the oil is blended into a small dry pellet. This helps with fussy horses that do not normally accept an oily feed, it also stops the mess of feeding oils. The feeding rate is 100g per 100kg body weight, so it is an easy product to add to your existing feeding program to help build top line and condition.

Alternatively, if you want to focus on increasing the calories in the fibre source your horse is receiving to help develop condition, consider using Alfalfa Oil Plus as your chaff, as it is higher in oil and protein in comparison to other chaffs, and a lower low sugar and starch content, so should not affect behaviour. Alfalfa Oil Plus is highly palatable, with cubes made from pressed alfalfa leaf and added oil helping to reduce dust and leaf shatter, whilst providing a good source of protein and calcium to your horse’s diet in addition to the added calories and fibre. Alfalfa chaffs have been recommended for pre-feeding horses that are prone to gastric ulcers to aid the formation of a fibre raft, to try to neutralise the slosh of stomach acid, and consequently reduce the possibility of gastric ulcers. Excitable horses are thought to be more sensitive to starches and sugars, and therefore they could be more likely to develop gastric ulceration and digestive upset through an increase in acidity throughout the digestive tract (this has also been linked to their reduced ability to maintain weight).

Seeking products that help support the fermentative and hindgut digestive processes, and therefore energy release, is important. Fibre Fusion is another product option that may help do just this. It is a nutritious blend of sainfoin, alfalfa, and grasses, combined into a low starch and sugar chaff. In addition to its palatable forage blend, it contains digestive and antioxidant support, making it a great choice for horses that you would like to maintain on a fibre-based diet, whilst supporting their achievement of a balanced gut. The supplements included in Fibre Fusion - Fibre Complex, Actisaf yeast, and MOS; focus on supporting hindgut performance to maintain normal fermentation and energy release, and ultimately optimal weight. Top tip: this product blends beautifully with any of our balancers and Build and Glow to achieve a balanced daily diet, in horses where excitability or digestive issues are present.

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