Food For Thought

By: Horse Deals

Food For Thought
The latest advice is to have hay analysed before feeding it to laminitic animals

New hay-soaking research revealed

New research, conducted by the WALTHAM–initiated Laminitis Consortium, has raised questions over the assumption that soaking hay will make it safe to feed to laminitis-prone horses and ponies.
Over-consumption of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) has been associated with the onset of laminitis and it has been recommended that hay with a WSC and starch content of less than 10% should be fed to obese animals and those at risk of laminitis. Owners have been told to feed soaked hay to reduce the WSC level.

The study, completed earlier this year, examined the loss of WSC from nine different hays submerged in water for up to 16 hours.
Previous studies showed that the prolonged soaking of chopped hay in large volumes of water could result in leaching of nutrients, including WSCs. However, because common practice in the UK tends to involve long-stemmed hay soaked in relatively small volumes of water over varying timescales, the study aimed to replicate this practice.

The nine different hay samples were analysed for WSC, then soaked in cold water. The soaked samples were subsequently analysed at intervals of 20min, 40min, three hours and 16 hours.
"The results showed a highly variable leaching of WSC and substantially less than reported previously," explained Spillers’ nutritionist Clare Barfoot. "The concern is that this strongly suggests soaking may not render some hays safe to feed to horses and ponies prone to laminitis.
"Our current advice is that, ideally, you should have your hay analysed before feeding it to an animal at high risk of laminitis and choose hay with the lowest WSC content you can find. Soaking provides an additional safeguard, but shouldn’t be relied on."

The study also highlighted that if hay is soaked for extended periods, it may not meet the animal’s nutritional requirements because substantial amounts of other nutrients will be lost. In such cases, it is even more important that the horse or pony receives a balanced supplementary feed.

Herefordshire store takes TopSpec prize

The team at RT Animal Feeds in Bromyard, Herefordshire,has won £500 in the TopSpec display competition, which focused on highlighting the dangers of obesity and laminitis.
Philippa Jones of RT Animal Feeds said: "We put in a lot of effort and it’s great that’s been recognised. Laminitis and overweight horses and ponies are serious issues and we felt this was an issue very worthwhile highlighting in the store."
Three regional winners also received £100. These were Millbry Hill, Richmond; Broomhill Equestrian Centre, Grindleton and Peterborough Feeds.TopSpec’s Jane Powell (right) presents the cheque to Philippa Jones of RT Animal Feeds.

Feed company goes green

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, British Horse Feeds has developed a new bag for Speedi-Beet that is fully recyclable but also uses 12% less paper.
Simon Parker of British Horse Feeds said: "By working closely with our designers and bag manufacturers, we’ll continue to find ways to reduce the impact our products have on the environment."
Where possible, the company is extending the initiative across other products in its feed range.