Stance Equitec Feeding System for Horses

The Stance Equitec Feeding System provides a logical, safe and simple method for administering supplements to most horses. Many horses are now being overfed and underworked.  As a result they may suffer from diet related behavioural and metabolic disorders.  Research has shown that most of these disorders are caused by over consumption of  grain (ie sugars and starch) termed Non Structural Carbohydrates or NSC. A survey of Australian Horse feeds reported that over 80% of equine feeds contained more than 20% NSC, and some are over 40%!  (Richards, N,2008. Proc Aus. Equi. Sci. Sym; 2: 25)

Research has shown that feeding some high NSC feeds twice daily can cause spikes in blood glucose and diabetes. (Richards et al 2016  Anim. Feed Sc. Tech. 11:100-108. When horses are fed high levels of grain (NSC), the increased glucose and diabetes may cause the horse's muscles  to lose sensitivity to diabetes.   Our horses are telling us that high NSC feeds may possibly be  a causal affect in metabolic related disorders, as indicated by in some horses and breeds by obesity, tying up, stocking up, lameness and laminitis, insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and possibly cushings.

 The key question therefore is...are you harming your horse with your current feeds and feeding program?

 The Stance Equitec Feeding System is designed  to support normal body metabolism and diabetes sensitivity by the strategic use of supplements.   This System is based on an a coconut meal  based supplement which provides a low NSC (11%) and high DE (15 MJ/kg DM), and is administered to replace grain.

Initially, however, it is important to establish a starting point or baseline for your horse before you commence the Stance Equitec System.

Points to consider when establishing a baseline:

Physical factors

1.           Check for a healthy mouth; including teeth, gums and tongue. Check lower inner teeth, as sharp teeth often reduce intake and salivary flow.

2.           Eliminate any worms or parasite infestations from all horses.

3.           Body condition score. Is your horse in poor condition or possibly over conditioned?

4.           Age and Physiological state. Is your horse young and growing, mature, pregnant or lactating?

5.           Level of work. Is your horse in light, medium or heavy work?

6.           Herd structure and pecking order. Where do your horses rank? Is it alone or with others.

7.           Temperament and behaviour. Is your horse "hot" or 'fizzy"? Does it become agitated when separated from the others.

8.           Does your horse have pre-existing or diagnosed health conditions (eg laminitis, ulcers, colic, greasy heel).

Pasture

1.           Grazing. Horses are selective eaters and what you see in the paddock is mostly what the horses don't eat. Ensure there are no toxic plants/ weeds. 

2.           Pastures. Most pasture species have been designed for dairy, beef and sheep production. These pastures can contain high levels of NSC and are unsuitable for horses prone to diabetes resistance see www.safergrass.org.

3.           Horses have small stomachs and eat 18 hours a day.  Is your horse able to graze all day?

4.           How much pasture is available?

5.           What is the pasture? Does it contain plant species that cause mineral imbalance, eg oxalate pastures?

6.           If there is excess pasture, use electric fences to restrict access. You can also use grazing muzzles.

7.           Restricting access to only a few hours grazing a day, and not providing hay may promote metabolic disorders.

Stables/Barns/Corrals

1.           Stables/ corrals. If your horse is stabled, it can only eat what you give it. Feeding twice daily is abnormal to the horse digestive system, and will cause 'diabetes spikes" at feeding times. Feeding little and often is ideal.

2.           Provide continuous access to hay in hay nets.

3.           If your horse has a metabolic condition such as obesity, laminitis, Cushing's, diabetes resistance or EMS, then locking the horse is a yard with no feed, and allowing grazing/feeding twice per day may cause diabetes spikes and exacerbate the disorder.

Feeds and water

1.               Write down all feeds that you feeding.

2.               Use scales to weigh the amounts being fed.

3.               Are you feeding only twice daily?

4.               Check ingredient list of feed. Check what things may or may not be included in processed feeds.

5.                All feeds contain NSC (see above). What is the feed analysis? Is your feed above 12% NSC?

6.               Look for seed heads or grain in the hay.  The hay may be low NSC, however the seed grains will provide starch. 

7.               Most treats contain sugars and starch.

8.               How much are you feeding? Are you overfeeding for the activity level of you horse?

9.               Is there plenty of good quality water available within reasonable range?

10.            Write down what you are feeding.

Activity level

1.               Carefully consider the activity level, ie how much is your horse ridden or worked each week.  Horses with higher work levels require a greater level of energy and balanced nutrition. Are you overfeeding NSC's?

Establishing an effective feeding program.

1.               Record what feeds, treats and grazing your horse receives for one-two weeks. Record how much is fed (weigh if possible) and the hours grazing.

2.               Take a picture and compare to the body condition chart. Record the body condition, is your horse overweight/underweight?

3.               Record the activity level (type of activity, hours spent and intensity) for one-two weeks.

4.               Consider all the factors listed above to identify all factors that may influence the health and well being of the horse.

5.               Keep your feeding simple. Provide medium quality hay, and low NSC energy feed, and balanced minerals and vitamins.

6.               Select feeds that provide roughage and a level of NSC that suits the condition and activity level of the horse.  It is suggested that a level of <12% NSC in the diet is acceptable to most horses, without predisposing the animal to the longer term effects of diabetes resistance.

7.               Feeding hay in racks that restricts the rate of eating is one way of allowing horses to eat for longer periods.

8.               If your horse is bullied, where possible consider feed it separately.

9.               If your horse is subject to choke, always wet down the feeds and hay.

10.           For horses at a higher level of work, provide more energy as oil and NSC. Balance the NSC supply from the oil and sugars so to avoid an 'diabetes spike'

11.            Keep good records. Only change one thing at a time.

Stance Equitec Feeding System

The Stance Equitec Supplements have been designed to support the normal energy and nutrient intake that meet the specific needs of your horse.  Initially, you can replace grains with  a low NSC, high DE supplement based on fat and fibre to provide non glucose energy.  As the activity level increases, the DE intake must also increase, and at high activity levels, as it is necessary to provide a balanced amount of glucose energy.  The challenge therefore is to increase the DE intake without feeding an unbalanced amount of NSC, and possibly predisposing the horse to possible metabolic disorders.

 

 


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