Rachel o'sullivan MSc
For many owners the colder winter months offer an excellent opportunity to shift those extra pounds that have crept onto their horses during the summer! However, for poor-doers, veterans and performance horses the winter months offer a challenge as owners desperately try to keep on the weight and condition that has been gained with the summer grass. It can be a minefield trying to decide which feed to use without risking overfeeding large bowls of cereal-based conditioning feeds, which can lead to over-excitability, digestive issues and metabolic problems. In these situations Saracen will often suggest the use of Equi-Jewel®. But what exactly is Equi-Jewel® and why do we recommended it so much?
What Is Equi-Jewel?
Equi-Jewel® is a high-fat supplement that is based on stabilised rice bran, a raw material that is very popular in the States, and is gaining popularity here in the U.K. Rice bran is the outer layer of the rice grain, and is a by-product of the white rice milling industry. Rice bran is naturally very high in highly-digestible fibre and oil, making it a popular nutritional ingredient for many human and animal supplements. Due to the high oil level of rice bran (about 20%) it is very important that the rice bran is stabilised before feeding or it will go rancid very quickly.
Equi-Jewel® is solely based on stabilised rice bran with no other additional ingredients, apart from calcium to balance the calcium:phosphorus ratio and vitamin E and Selenium to protect against free radical damage that is increased when high oil diets are fed.
What are the benefits of Equi-Jewel?
Naturally high in oil and fibre, but low in starch, Equi-Jewel® is a versatile and concentrated source of energy (calories) for horses of all ages and activity levels. Oil is two and a half times more calorie dense than cereals, meaning the high oil level of Equi-Jewel® makes it extremely effective at supporting weight maintenance with only a small amount required. In addition, the high oil levels help to support optimal healthy skin and coat condition, keeping your horse looking good during the dreaded autumn coat change and throughout the rest of the winter. Horses fed on Equi-Jewel® quickly exhibit excellent skin condition and coat gloss and bloom.
Equi-Jewel® also offers an excellent slow release energy source for performance horses with elevated energy demands. The supplement is high in digestible fibre and oil for long lasting, controlled energy release, whilst the low starch level helps avoid behavioural and metabolic problems associated with feeding traditional high cereal based diets.
Research has also shown that during strenuous exercise horses fed Equi-Jewel® had lower lactic acid levels, combined with lower heart rates, compared to horses fed corn or vegetable oil. This in turn showed a positive impact on stamina and recovery rates (Kennedy et al. 1999).
Adding just 500g – 1kg of Equi-Jewel® to a horse’s normal feed ration per day will also support muscle and top line development when fed in conjunction with a suitable exercise regime. The oil content in Equi-Jewel® is highly digestible and much more palatable than liquid oil. In addition, you would need to feed in excess of 250mls of liquid oil per day to get the same result as feeding Equi-Jewel®, which can be a very messy process!
Equi-Jewel has a dedicated measuring cup making it much eaiser to feed the correct amount on a daily basis. If you would like a cup please ask your local stockist if they have one available.
It is important to bear in mind that Equi-Jewel® is not a fully fortified feed and does not, therefore, contain all the important vitamins and minerals the horse needs on a daily basis. Equi-Jewel® should therefore be fed alongside a feed or supplement that will supply these nutrients. Popular feeds from the Saracen range that are used alongside Equi-Jewel® include Re-Leve®, Conditioning Cubes and Super Fibre Cubes.
NEED SOME GUIDANCE?
If you would like additional feeding advice for how to support weight gain and maintenance over the winter months. please visit www.saracenhorsefeeds.com and complete our simple and free feed advice form
Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak to one of our qualified Nutritionists for some immediate advice, please call our feed advice line on 01622 718 487