This was an exciting weekend at Springhill Equine. We had a crew at the Climb for Cancer at San Felasco and then did a fundraiser for our Relay for Life team with Gentle Carousel at Tractor Supply in Jonesville. Teeney and I stayed at the clinic and made sure our new cat beds were well loved.
Before all the weekend excitement, I got Dr. Lacher to sit down and talk with me about what’s in her feed room. I got interested in this while listening to Dr. David talk about Senior horses at our Seminar last week and from a chat with Beth at Midwest Feed when she came by the office. I am a very busy cat some weeks!
Let’s start with what type of horses Dr. Lacher has at her house. She has one of every type, as far as I could tell. Don’t ask her how many horses she has. She refuses to count them so she can be in denial. That said there is one hard keeper six year old Thoroughbred, an older easy keeper and an older hard keeper, some young horses, a pregnant horse and some mid to high level performance horses.
So what’s in her feed bins? A 12% pellet, Equine Senior, beet pulp and Equalizer. Supplements: Myristol and Cool Calories 100 and during the summer Solitude. Each horse has a plain and mineral salt block available to them. She said she does feed Seminole Feed but thinks Purina and Triple Crown also make excellent feeds.
Let’s start with the 12% pellet, Gold Chance 12+. This pellet is fortified with extra amounts of the amino acid Lysine. Amino acids make up proteins and Lysine is the most commonly used one in the horse. Adding Lysine to a 12% protein feed makes it very similar to a 14% feed without the added costs of adding more protein. This is the feed most of the horses get at her house. The performance horses, pregnant mare, young horses and easy keeper senior horses are all happy on this feed with no added supplements. The most any of them get is 6 lbs per day and the easy keepers are on the minimum necessary amount of 2lbs per day.
Equine Senior is fed to the hard keeper thoroughbred and senior horse and a horse with shivers. Shivers is a muscle disorder which requires low starch, high fat diets and Equine Senior is the base for his diet. Both the thoroughbred and shivers horse also receive Cool Calories 100 every day as an easy and palatable fat supplement to their diet. Fat is a fantastic way to add a whole lot of calories to a diet and keep grain to a minimum. The thoroughbred eats 10 pounds of senior per day, the shivers horse 2 pounds and the hard keeper senior horse 6 pounds daily. Dr. Lacher said she has had the best luck with Equine Senior for hard keepers. It is a balanced diet for any horse over 3 years of age and is easily digestible. It is also an excellent choice for horses with dental problems (which her hard keeper senior has) because they don’t need to chew the food the release the nutrition.
Seminole’s Equalizer is a ration balancer. Dr. Lacher explained to me this is like Centrum for horses. It is a complete vitamin/mineral/protein in a small package with as few added calories as possible. These feeds are an excellent choice for the very easy keeper because it ensures they are getting what they need without adding calories. Beet pulp is added to increase fiber and bulk in the diet since the recommended amount of Equalizer is 1 pound per day.
Dr. Lacher feeds Equalizer for a completely different reason: she has a horse who is allergic to corn. One of her horses has an insect allergy but her symptoms persisted last year when it was 20 degrees out for 10 days straight. This led her to believe that there was more to the problem than gnats… She began with a single ingredient diet food trial. Her horse started on oats and alfalfa only. After 30 days she was no longer itching her tail or mane. She then added some soybean meal with no return of symptoms. She went through this with barley as well. Since no symptoms were seen, she decided to find a corn free feed and see how her horse responded. Equalizer fit the bill and one year later she continues to itch from bugs only.
What are Myristol and Solitude? Myristol is a joint supplement based on research showing that some fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories in the joint. This product contains cetyl myristoleate which was shown to be particularly powerful in studies at Colorado State’s Equine Orthopedic Center. All of her performance horses are on this supplement. She said joint supplements aren’t for every horse in every job but can be an important addition to some horse’s diets. She chooses Myristol instead of regular Adequan or Legend injections and feels that on her horses it has decreased joint injections.
Solitude is a feed through fly control. It is inactive in the horse and is not absorbed by their GI tract. Instead it is passed in the manure and kills fly larvae. She said she started it last year and noticed she had NO flies. She also used it at her trainer’s facility beginning in the height of fly season and noticed a dramatic drop in flies after about 2 weeks. She starts her horses once temperatures are consistently above 75 degrees which is usually the end of March. She said the only fly spray she used last year was at horse shows!
I asked about hay even though that’s not technically in the feed room and she said she would chat with me about that subject next week since the horses needed to be fed. So tune in next week for what’s in Dr. Lacher’s hay room. In the meantime, may your food bowl be full and your litter box clean.