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Adding Fat to your Horses Diet -A Personal Story

May 30, 2016

 

 Top Picture: (before)  Jay with weight loss, after winter, in early spring

Bottom Picture: (after)  Jay about 1 yr. later.  Weight gain program successful.  

 

It took 3-6 months before I noticed a difference in his weight.  It came on slowly, just as it had come off slowly over time.  Nearly 2 years later, Jay still looks just a tad bit under weight when spring comes, but has not returned to the condition seen in the before picture.  He quickly puts on muscle and what little weight he did lose in winter by being on grass.  After about 6-8 weeks on grass his weight has returned to normal.   

 

Balance, Environment, Minerals, Love, Stress, quality of foods, species specific diet, genetics, toxins, etc.  

 

Keep in mind all the factors of your horse.  No two horses are alike, in addition to each of us resonating with our intentions on how to improve our horses' health.  Do a thorough assessment of your horse. Consult with your veterinarian and other trusted holistic practitioners. Gather all the information and determine the best path for your horse.  Give your chosen program time to assist the body into wellness again.  Listen to your intuition.  Make any necessary changes or improvements and be persistent and consistent in those changes.  Time will tell the story.  

 

 

It is not an easy task taking on the care of our animals and ourselves through natural health and self-doing interventions.  It takes due diligence and extra time, energy and oomspa!  

 

My gelding Jay offers me many opportunities for learning more about natural health. Along with the importance of many aspects, that leave me with a dance of balance and a life long journey of learning.  And I drink up the opportunity with zealous motivation.   

 

Last year I had to move my gelding Jay 2x, to new farms. The 1st farm put Jay (and myself) under great stress.  I began to see signs that Jay was losing weight. I did everything I could do, with the constraints of boarding against my best intentions.   I tried to keep positive about it, but the signs of stress on Jay became more evident. He began to lose weight, his ulcers were acting up, and his stress level and confusion increased.  

With luck, I was able to move him, in late fall to a wonderfully peaceful farm.  Only to be confronted with one of the most brutal winters we have had in a long time.  

 

I addressed his ulcers and weight loss with this protocol:  

 

Increased his Minerals, Chia Seeds and added alfalfa hay cubes, increased slightly his hay pelleted food portions and in a month or two added additional alfalfa hay cubes (everything soaked in hot water prior to feeding).  The weight continued to be lost, but seemed to have plateaued, at about a 100-150 lb. total loss. 

 

I did several fecal tests and consulted with my Vet about his weight loss. We did a Panacur worming on him, even though the Vet said he has never seen a horse's fecal test so clean from parasites. We wanted to rule out any possibility of 'encysted worms'.  Did that for 7 days, during the full moon cycle and waited a month.  Still no weight gain.  

 

His attitude, curiosity, energy, all checked out positive. I added some accupressure points testing, dowsing (not one of my favorite tools, but worth including), many hours of research and went thru the process of elimination to get to the root of the problem.  

The winter continued on with much force.  Cold, cold temps, gusting winds and a lot of snow, ice and the likes of what seemed more like from Alaska, then Michigan.  

 

Next step, blood tests, to rule out any liver, kidney, or melanoma interference.  That was a grueling 4 days of waiting, but I prayed often, got support and had positive energy sent my way, and meditated every chance I got.  Thru it all I also was able to get a connection to Jay thru my animal communication, which was a blessing in itself. When I heard from Jay, I knew it would be fine.   Blood tests came back all negative!  

 

So, what happened!?!  

 

Here is what we determined:  

 

Stress

Ulcers relapsed

Hard, cold winter

No chance for him to balance himself out from stressful barn to a hard winter

Not enough fat in his diet to keep warm

Poor quality of hay & limited sources to get quality hay late in the season due to repercussions of bad boarding situation   

 

So, with the help of horsey friends, a whole lot of research and the consultation with my Equine Vet, we determined he needs some fat in his diet.  Jay is a TH, so being more sensitive & thin skinned adds additional consequences to the equation. He is not an easy keeper, but I wouldn't classify him a hard keeper…at most times.  

 

So, I wanted to offer my story and the research I found on adding a quality fat to your horses diet. Here is the info. I found:  

 

It's important to think about these things when including a product to add fat into their natural diet.  

 

1. Not including too much protein in their diet. 

2. Balancing the Calcium - Phosphorus intake

3. Don't overdo your Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3's)

4. Avoid animal fats or high levels of Linolenic Acid (corn, soy, wheat germ) they cause inflammation

 

Oils and or EFA's (essential fatty acids) are the most common way to add fat into the diet.  However, horses do not have gall bladders that serve as a storage pouch for bile. When they consume a large amount of fat the gall bladder releases bile into the small intestine. 

Horses, on the other hand have a small amount of fat in their diet and the liver easily manages that. The horses liver can compensate for higher fat in diet, but needs to adapt over several weeks.  
-Dr. Getty - Equine Nutritionist

 

The Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) in their diet, which is found in flax seed & chia seeds. Chia has fewer Omega 3's.  Flax is (oil or seeds) is 4:1 with omega 3's to omega 6's. (remember that Omega 6's usually dominates our horses and our diets, it is the Omega 3's that we and they are in need of)Fish oil does not provide ALA.  Horses can create DHA and EPA from ALA, so supplementing with flax will better mimic the omega 3's from plants.  However, Flax Seed and oils can rancid quickly. Here are some general rules about feeding flax seed;  when buying whole flax seed you need to grind what you need for 1-3 days, so that it won't go rancid.  If you purchase ground flax meal, then once the bag has been opened you must use up what has been opened with a few days, or it too can go rancid.  There is also some information out there about Flax oils going rancid. But I won't go into further detail about that. 

 

Choices for Adding Fat: 

 

Flax Seed Oil is often recommended

Rice Bran Oil is another top recommendation 18-25% fat

Coconut Oil or Coconut Meal (copra)

Rice Bran

 

Adding fat to the diet can be beneficial to horses that 'Tye up' (azoturia), which in summary, is excess carbohydrate storage in muscles. There is a genetic predisposition in Thoroughbreds. Blood test can test AST levels in CBC count. Causes of Electrolyte Imbalances(low sodium), Vit. E deficiencies and/or Selenium are possible causes of tying up.  

 

Oils high in MonoSaturated Fatty acids can be added to diet, if already high in Omega 3's, like Rice Bran & Olive Oils.  

 

The problem I ran across finding a product that can add fat was: 

 

1. Many of the fat products recommended are high probability of

    being GMO products.  

2. I already have a Chia seed in his diet, so Flax was not an option 

    for me, to add more Omega 3's. That would overload his Omega 3's. 

3. Cost. I looked into coconut oil as a fat additive, but way too costly

     and it just was not settling well with me about adding up to 2 cups of oil into his diet per day.  But, if oil was an option, I would  choose coconut oil (non GMO). 

 

Here is more information I learned as I was searching for the right product for Jay.  I did NOT want a GMO product going into my ulcer prone, almost organic horse.  I knew that would not settle good. When I, myself, have begun to see subttle signs of eating 'wheat', which I recently discovered is a GMO product. So, I knew there was no way I could add GMO product to his diet.  And since we have no regulated labeling on GMO, I just have to hope and pray that those who say they are NON-GMO, are telling the truth.  I found by talking to several companies about their products, they are honest about what products are GMO, and which ones are not.

I will offer some links at the end of this article for further inquiry, for those interested.   

 

Here is info. I found about the products I was most interested in:  

 

1. Coconut Oil

In order to feed this oil, it needs to be fed with a quality source.  

*Unrefined 

*Non Gmo

*No Solvents used

*No Hydrogenated oils added

*Highly Saturated

*Do Not need to refrigerate 

 

Excellent source of fat for people and horses/pets. Highly digestible and does not go rancid.  

 

2. Coconut Meal

Typical Feed Grains are Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC) which contributes to ulcers, IR, Cushings, Lameness, etc.  

Coconut meal is highly digestible fibre and low NSC (11%)

Coconut meal is fed widely throughout Australia and also the U.K, and is also available in the U.S.  

 

3. Stabilized Rice Bran

NO added calcium

•GREAT balancer for calcium-rich beet pulp

•DENSE energy source

•NATURALLY rich antioxidants

•EXCELLENT weight gain

•EFFECTIVE supplement for working/show horses

contains gamma oryzanol. Gamma oryzanol is thought to help muscle repair and rebuilding. Many horse owners have reported increased lean muscle mass in horses that are on RB.

It has a significant amount of fiber in addition to the fat. The fiber in the RB makes it less likely to cause digestive upset than other calorie sources that contain large amounts of starch.

**Make sure you purchase "Stabilized" Rice Bran, so it does not go rancid, and lose it's nutritional status. 

Here are some of the Products I found that I thought were quality products. I spoke with two manufacturer's that were very service oriented and spoke of having quality product and were honest about their products. I was looking for a NON GMO product. Then the next obstacle I had is trying to find it in my area, or even in my state, for that matter.  In order of preference. 

1. Renew Gold - Mannapro product
2. Stabilized Rice Bran - Omega Fields
3. Coconut Meal (copra)
4. Coconut Oil
Runner Up….
5. Cool Calories 100 - Mannapro

I was unable to get the Renew Gold product, which is a new product, that I fell in love with.  It has coconut meal, flaxseed and rice bran in the product. All NON-GMO. Newer product of theirs and is available in most states, but has not quite reached this far north or east.  They plan on having it Tractor Supply Stores (my local grain store) within about 6 months.  Cost:  $30 for a 30 lb bag.  
So, I ended up with Stabilized Rice Bran from Omega Fields.  There are NO - NON GMO products available in Michigan.  As far as adding fat content.  

Here are the links to the products:  

http://www.mannapro.com/products/equine/renew-gold/

http://www.omegafields.com/omega-stabilized-rice-bran.html

http://www.stanceequine.com/announcements/copra-or-coconut-meal-as-a-horse-feed

http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/virgin_coconut_oil.htm#Buy-Gold-Label-Virgin-Coconut-Oil

https://www.smartpakequine.com/cool-calories-100-3725p?cm_mmc=Google-_-NB_SP_3rd%20Party_WeightGain-_-Cool%20Calories%20100-_-cool%20calories%20100&gclid=CJX70I3r0b0CFaw-MgodcDkAcw

 

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