Feeding The Ex Racehorse
It is important that you try and obtain as much information about feeding and exercise programmes before your ex-racehorse arrives with you to help you understand his character and to make the changes as gradual as possible.
The diet of a racehorse is much lower in forage than leisure and competition horses, and they may not have been turned out to grass for many months. It is also advisable to provide your new horse with ad-lib hay, but you may find that to start with he does not eat everything you offer. Thoroughbreds can be fussy feeders and he may take a few days or weeks to get used to his new diet, so be patient.
For horses that can be fussy with their forage it is a good idea to provide them with some additional forage sources when they are stabled. Alternative fibre sources such as chaff, chopped grass, Super Fibre Cubes and soaked sugarbeet can be placed in separate buckets and left around the stable. alongside the usual hay or haylage, to help stimulate your horse's natural browsing behaviour.
Top Tip: Have your dentist check his teeth shortly after arrival. This will ensure he is able to fully chew and break down his feed and forage, aiding digestion and helping you to see an improvement in his condition a little more quickly.
Which Saracen feed for weight maintenance?
All the Saracen feeds that we recommend for the ex-racehorse use ‘non–heating’ highly digestible “Super-fibres” and oil as the main sources of energy, removing the need for high levels of cereal.
SUPER FIBRE CUBES are a good starting point for any ex-racehorse and are a great way to start increasing the fibre content of the diet. The cubes have a low starch and sugar content and are cereal free, helping to maintain an even temperament as well as supporting good digestive health.
RE-LEVE®-MIX a high-fibre, low-starch, cereal-free ration. Highly digestible ‘Super-Fibres’ and oil supply the energy, reducing the reliance on starch. Some ex-racehorses can have excitable tendencies and feeding low starch feeds can help maintain an even, trainable temperament.
CONDITIONIMPROVER CUBES are a barley and whole oat free cube with the unique Jewel® to help maintain a steady temperament whilst supporting weight gain and topline. High in digestible ‘SuperFibres’ this calorie dense cube is fully fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to provide a fully balanced diet, as well as a live yeast to support and maintain digestive health.
ENDURO-PERFORMANCE provides long-lasting energy for horses that require excellent stamina levels. Many ex-racehorses go on to do a variety of different careers and may need a feed to provide a higher level of energy to support this work. Enduro- Performance contains an inclusion of oats for a higher energy requirement, but the emphasis remains on highly digestible “Super-Fibre” ingredients which release energy slowly supporting controlled performance.
Which Saracen feed for weight gain?
When a horse’s workload increases and energy demands are raised, or your ex-racehorse requires more calories to support optimum body condition, the above feeds can be topped up with Equi-Jewel®. This can be added to the ration and can be fed up to 1kg per day (2 - 4 Equi-Jewel® measuring cups).
Equi-Jewel® is a pelleted, high-oil, stabilised rice-bran supplement designed to increase the calorie density of any ration. EQUI-JEWEL® is an ideal product to support topline and muscle development, no matter what discipline your ex-racehorse is now competing in. Research carried out by KER has also proven its superiority in optimising performance when substituted for vegetable oils. Horses had lower heart rates and subsequent shorter recovery periods after strenuous activity.
Which Saracen feed for a good-doer?
If your ex-racehorse is carrying too much condition, or your pasture is rich, you may wish to reduce the daily intake of concentrate feed, in which case you will need to ‘top-up’ your horse’s ration with essential nutrients (particularly minerals) with a feed balancer.
ESSENTIAL BALANCER is a low-sugar, low-starch balancer that can be fed alongside compound feeds being fed below the manufacturer's recommended levels, or to balance forage only diets. Dense in vitamins, minerals, and quality protein sources, ESSENTIAL BALANCER helps to maintain muscle tone and topline as well as supporting optimum health and vitality. A blend of yeast cultures is also included to support a healthy digestive tract and optimise digestion and energy extraction from the fibre sources in the ration.
If you wish to cut out a mix or cubes all together in the summer when the grass is good and extra calories are not required, ESSENTIAL BALANCER can be fed on its own together with good quality forage at a feeding rate of 100 grams per 100kg body weight per day.
SHAPE-UP™ is a low starch, high fibre mix designed to provide a balanced diet at low intake levels, as well as supporting a normal, healthy metabolism. It can be used as a calorie-controlled ration for those prone to weight gain and metabolic issues to meet micronutrient requirements without excess sugar, calories, and starch intake.
COMPETITION-FIT-BALANCER is in a mix form and has a small cereal inclusion to provide some instant energy and ‘sparkle’ when needed as well as an elevated oil inclusion to support optimal stamina levels. It provides an excellent source of quality protein to support muscle tone and function as well as encouraging topline development. It also contains Acid Buf, as well as an optimal yeast inclusion.
Due to the low forage intake during training, many racehorses may suffer from gastric ulcers at some stage of their career. Any form of stress, such as moving yards can upset the normal gastric balance. If you feel that your new horse may be suffering from ulcers, it is advisable to contact your vet.
RiteTrac™ contains ingredients that quickly and effectively protect the sensitive stomach lining, preventing the damage caused by the continuous production of gastric acid. The antacids contained in RiteTrac™ rapidly neutralize the acid secreted in the stomach, providing a more pH-neutral environment between meals and the hindgut buffer helps to maintain hindgut pH and support an optimal environment.
SUMMARY OF GOOD FEEDING PRACTICE FOR THE EX-RACEHORSE
- If possible, find out as much about your horse’s feeding and turnout routine before you pick him up
- Make all changes to their diet as gradually as possible
- Have your vet or dentist check teeth shortly after arrival
- Watch for signs of stress or ulcers, and treat as found
- Feed little and often splitting feeds into 2 or 3 meals daily
- Encourage a gradual increase in forage to the diet, offering a variety of sources if needed
- Do not mistake protein for the cause of a fizzy temperament
- If you are feeding less than the recommended amount of concentrate feed per day, add a feed balancer
- If extra energy is required on top of your main ration, or your horse requires substantial help to support body condition or topline, add Equi-Jewel® to the ration
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