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Interactive Feed Advice

Microsteed is the ration evaluator developed by Kentucky Equine Research to assess total dietary intake of nutrients from feed, forages and supplements.

Contribution from each element of the diet can be assessed against nutrient requirement and fit within optimum range. Getting the correct balance and optimised intake for the diet is important for both health, development and performance.

Microsteed can be customised with individual forage and pasture results to give specific and accurate feeding reports against the needs of competition horses, leisure horses, endurance horses and breeding stock. Analysis is set against the latest research from KER ensuring that nutritional intake is designed to maximise performance and not just meet basic requirements.

In addition to reviewing nutrient intake Microsteed also evaluates the provision of energy from protein, fat, fibre and carbohydrate. Understanding contribution from different nutrients is particularly important when considering management of behavioural issues, designing the diet to suit style of work, ensuring steady growth patterns of youngstock and for when needing to alter the diet to improve condition.

The nutritional team at Saracen Horse Feeds provide feed advice tailored to your horses needs. Contact the advice line on 01622 718487 or fill out a feed advice form online and one of the team will get in touch.

Competition Horse

Microsteed analyses the nutrient contribution from all feeds, roughages and supplements against set nutrient requirements.

This example shows the dietary intake for a 500kg showjumper actively competing who has access to pasture during the day and is stabled overnight. The diet is designed to provide energy mostly from fibre and fats as the horse is quite reactive.

Diet Intake

  • Pasture daytime
  • Free choice hay evening when stabled
  • 2.5kg Re-Leve
  • 400g Equi Jewel
  • 50g Restore SR Electrolytes
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Microsteed clearly identifies the relative contribution of each element of the feed program against the horse’s requirements. The contribution of nutrients from feeds such as RE-LEVE is fixed, whereas the contribution from forage and pasture is often naturally variable and so actual daily intake will vary. For this reason, each nutrient has an optimum range rather than a fixed target to achieve.

Reviewing the optimum nutrient ranges helps to identify is the diet is deficient or excessive for any particular nutrient. In this example all nutrients are within the target or normal range. There is some additional calcium and lysine provided above requirement, although the contribution from pasture in particular will change from summer to winter creating a change in actual intake of both nutrients. Microsteed shows that the daily diet is neither deficient or excessive.

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In addition to considering total daily intake Microsteed will also consider the balance of key minerals in the total diet including calcium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. The balance of minerals influences absorption and also activity within the body.

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Once nutrient intake and balance is considered Microsteed also assess the contribution nutrients make toward energy requirements. This is particularly important when considering the temperament of the horse and the nature of the work. Through reviewing energy balance it is possible to see how much energy is provided through ‘fast releasing’ and ‘slow releasing’ energy sources.

In the example diet the majority, 55% of the energy, is derived from fats and fibres. Such an energy balance is well suited for horses that can be over reactive and those that suffer from tying-up. All diets will contain the four major energy sources of protein, carbohydrate, fats and fibres as all are present in both forages and feeds. The balance between them is dependent on the composition of the hard feed chosen.

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Leisure Horse

Microsteed analyses the nutrient contribution from all feeds, roughages and supplements against set nutrient requirements.

This example shows the dietary intake for a 500kg leisure horse living out at pasture who is in light work mostly hacking and occasional schooling.

Diet Intake

  • Summer Pasture 24 hours
  • 500g Essential Balancer
  • 60g Restore SR Electrolytes
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Microsteed clearly identifies the relative contribution of each element of the feed program against the horse’s requirements. The contribution of nutrients from balancers such as Essential Balancer is fixed, whereas the contribution from forage and pasture is often naturally variable and so actual daily intake will vary. For this reason, each nutrient has an optimum range rather than a fixed target to achieve.

Reviewing the optimum nutrient ranges helps to identify is the diet is deficient or excessive for any particular nutrient. In this example all nutrients are within the target or normal range. There is some additional protein provided above requirement, although the contribution from pasture in particular will change from summer to winter creating a change in protein intake. Microsteed shows that the daily diet is neither deficient or excessive.

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In addition to considering total daily intake Microsteed will also consider the balance of key minerals in the total diet including calcium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. The balance of minerals influences absorption and also activity within the body.

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Once nutrient intake and balance is considered Microsteed also assess the contribution nutrients make toward energy requirements. This is particularly important when considering the temperament of the horse and the nature of the work. Through reviewing energy balance it is possible to see how much energy is provided through ‘fast releasing’ and ‘slow releasing’ energy sources.

In the example diet the balance of energy is almost evenly split between protein, carbohydrate and fibre. Pasture during the summer months is naturally high in protein in sugar as well as providing fibre. Essential Balancer at 500g makes very little contribution to energy, its main role is provision of vitamins, minerals and supplements such as yeast.

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