PRIME CAN­DI­DATES FOR RA­TION BAL­ANCERS

EQUUS - - Eq Medicalfro­nt -

Horses who re­quire low-starch di­ets. “Con­trol­ling starch in­take is crit­i­cal in the nu­tri­tional man­age­ment of many horses, in­clud­ing those with equine meta­bolic syn­drome or in­sulin re­sis­tance,” says James M. Lat­timer, PhD, of Kansas State Uni­ver­sity. “Horses with cer­tain mus­cle diseases, like PSSM, or those who suf­fer from ex­er­tional rhab­domy­ol­y­sis and tie up can also ben­e­fit from a ra­tion bal­ancer since they are lower in starch.”

Over­weight horses. “Ra­tion bal­ancers are be­ing used more and more as what we might call a ‘Jenny Craig’ feed in a main­te­nance diet—for the horses that are easy keep­ers,” says Ta­nia Cu­bitt, PhD, an equine nu­tri­tion­ist with Per­for­mance Horse Nu­tri­tion. “Let’s say we have an over­weight horse on a diet, but we know that the horse still needs the nec­es­sary vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and a min­i­mum re­quire­ment of pro­tein and doesn’t need all the ex­tra calo­ries of grain or a man­u­fac­tured feed. The horse has ac­cess to hay or pas­ture and all we need to sup­ply are those vi­ta­mins/min­er­als/ pro­teins that might be lack­ing in the for­age.

“If the mare is preg­nant, I can feed her nearly all the way through her preg­nancy on a ra­tion bal­ancer and some good hay, and maybe add a bit more al­falfa to­ward the end of ges­ta­tion to ac­count for the ex­tra pro­tein she needs,” says Cu­bitt. “Be­cause the ra­tion bal­ancer prod­uct is so con­cen­trated, we can eas­ily sup­ply that mare with all the nu­tri­ents she needs with­out the ex­cess calo­ries.”

Grow­ing foals who don’t need ex­tra calo­ries. “Some­times the growth and de­vel­op­ment prod­ucts for foals and year­lings have too many calo­ries for cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als that have growth is­sues,” says Cu­bitt. “We can give these young­sters what I call ther­a­peu­tic amounts of a ra­tion bal­ancer in­stead. This works well for the young­sters that don’t nec­es­sar­ily need all the ex­tra en­ergy of grain, if we are wor­ried about growth prob­lems and DOD [de­vel­op­men­tal or­tho­pe­dic dis­ease].”

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