Lizzie Drury MSC RNUTR
The Stud range of products from Saracen Horse Feeds is formulated to support young horses as they grow and develop, to provide appropriate nutrition to pregnant and lactating mares, and to support working breeding stallions. The feeds are produced to a fixed formulation giving consistent nutritional quality, and are fully fortified with vitamins and significant minerals. All of the feeds are formulated using the latest in cutting-edge research and ingredient technology which we bring to the UK market through our partnership with US based Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Saracen Horse Feeds recognise that the nutritional requirements of different types of breeding stock differ according to the job being expected of them for example a stallion that is covering his mares will have a different nutrient requirement compared to a foal that is being weaned. Or a foal being weaned will have a different nutrient requirement to a mare entering her last trimester of pregnancy.
It is not uncommon for a general stud mix to be recommended as being suitable for all types of breeding and youngstock, which we believe is just not the case. To cater for the differences in nutritional requirements of mares, stallions and youngstock, Saracen Horse Feeds have a complete range of stud feeds formulated to meet each category of the horses' individual requirements.
feeding the broodmare
A broodmare’s feeding programme should be divided up into three separate stages:
- Early pregnancy - from conception through to seven months of pregnancy - barren and maiden mares and pregnant mares without foals by their sides, all fit into this nutritional category
- The last trimester of pregnancy, from seven months of pregnancy through to foaling
- Lactation, which generally lasts for five or six months after foaling
The nutrient requirements for these three stages differ markedly and adjustments should be made in the mare’s feeding programme to accommodate these differences. The most common mistakes made in feeding broodmares are overfeeding during early pregnancy, and underfeeding during lactation.
Saracen Mare-Care is a specifically formulated diet for broodmares during late pregnancy and lactation. Mare-Care is fortified with Stamm 30® for nutrient continuity and can even be introduced just 30 days before the mare's due date to provide her with balanced and appropriate nutritional support leading up to foaling. Mare-Care provides the following benefits:
- Elevated levels of vitamin E
Due to modern management practices, including early breeding dates, mares may not be receiving adequate vitamin E nutrition through rations composed largely of hay and cereals and limited access to fresh pasture. Mare-Care will help to increase circulating levels of vitamin E, which may support fertility.
- Contains a properly balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for the production and distribution of hormone-like substances which increase the chances of a successful pregnancy, as mares are more likely to carry their foals to term, and the foals are more likely to have higher birth weights. These findings suggest that mares with a history of abortion may benefit from nutritional support with omega-3 fatty acids. Mare-Care provides supplemental omega-3 fatty acids, which can give many reproductive advantages as research suggests that they can optimise conception rates and encourage fertility. Fertility studies have shown that the follicles grow faster, forming more vigorous embryos in omega-3-supplemented broodmares. These fatty acids can be passed from the dam to the foal through milk, so supplementation of the mare can provide for the foal as well. Supplemented mares produce richer colostrum, which in turn could jumpstart the health of their foals by having a well supplemented immune system.
- Contains Bio-Mos to help optimise mare health by attracting and "mopping up" bacteria, such as E-Coli and Salmonella
Bio-Mos is a source of manna oligosaccharide, a five carbon sugar complex derived from yeast cell walls that is not absorbed by the digestive tract. It has the unique ability to bind with pathogenic bacteria and simply carry them out of the horse’s body. Bio-Mos has also been shown to support the horse’s immune system. Studies have shown that the inclusion of Bio-Mos in broodmare diets optimises colostrum quality.
Recent and ongoing research suggests a relationship between the glycemic nature of feed and the incidence of skeletal disorders, such as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in young horses. High-glycemic feeds are those that produce a large blood glucose response post feeding, such as cereal grains and molasses. It appears that the normal bone formation processes in young horses are being disrupted by the elevated blood insulin (hyperinsulinemia) concentrations following the consumption of a diet rich in starch and sugars.
In foals, hyperinsulinemia may affect chondrocyte maturation, leading to altered matrix metabolism and faulty mineralisation of bone. OCD lesions occur on the articular cartilage, which is the cartilage at the end of the bones that protects the joints. The skeleton starts as cartilage, so if there is a problem in the maturation of that cartilage, it can set the stage for lesions to develop.
Not all young horses are affected, but some are more sensitive to high levels of glucose and insulin than others, and research suggests that it would be prudent to feed foals concentrate feeds that produce a low-glycemic response.
LEVEL-GROW™ Mix has been formulated to be fed like a conventional stud feed and uses unique carefully selected, low glycemic ingredients, such as alfalfa, sugar beet and soya hulls. High levels of soluble carbohydrates have been replaced by fats and “Super-fibres” as alternative energy sources. Stamm 30® is included to provide nutrient continuity.
Level-Grow™ Pencils also use ingredients to provide alternative energy sources that produce a minimal glycemic response after digestion. After weaning, Level-Grow™ Pencils would be the sole concentrate given to young, growing horses up to the age of three to promote normal growth patterns and more manageable behaviour.
FEEDING THE STALLION
Breeding stallions are often the most frustrating horses on a stud farm to maintain at optimal body condition. Some become too lean at the height of the breeding season, while others remain heavy no matter what. By providing a carefully balanced ration alongside an appropriate exercise plan and monitoring weight regularly, a stallion can be kept at the optimum body condition all year long.
Stallions vary greatly in the amount of exercise they give themselves. Some are naturally more sedentary than others, and some, not quite so much. Once an ideal weight has been achieved, every attempt should be made to keep that weight static through an appropriate exercise plan and correct feeding.
Obesity presents a wealth of threats to the stallion. It predisposes them to laminitis, insulin resistance and soundness problems (particularly of the hind legs, which is reflective of the strain placed on them during breeding). Obesity can even possibly cause heart attacks via aortal rupture. Extremely overweight stallions are also thought to have a lowered libido impacting fertility efficiency. If achieving optimum body condition is a problem, stallions should have restricted access to pasture, especially in the spring, and only should be provided a ration that ensures the stallion's vitamin and mineral requirements are being met.
MANAGING THE OVERWEIGHT STALLION
Saracen's Stud balancer STAMM 30® can be fed to provide a consistent, high quality dense source of nutrients, with a low-calorie content. During the off-season, stallions can be maintained on Stamm 30® and high-quality forage alone if they are good doers. We suggest you seek the advice of an Equine Nutritionist if this is the case to help you to get to, and maintain optimum body condition.
Saracen Stallion Plan provides tailored nutrition for stallions in a concentrated form and provides optimum nutrient levels to enhance fertility and performance. Stallion Plan has been formulated using the most recent research advances in stallion reproduction. Carnitine is included, as research has demonstrated that it increases progressive sperm motility by over 50%.
There is a properly balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids - this has the potential to affect not only sperm quality but sperm quantity. A powerful antioxidant system is provided by added vitamin E and selenium - these nutrients create an environment ideal for sperm protection and function.
The feeds are fortified with optimal concentrations of supporting vitamins and minerals to promote stallion health and performance during covering, and the off-season. Stamm 30® is included in both formulations for nutrient continuity.This also enables a two-part feeding system to be in place when required.
If you have a young, growing horse, broodmare or breeding stallion that is likely to gain excess weight if fed the recommended quantity of a stud feed I will often suggest using Stamm 30, our high specification stud balancer, to allow feed quantities to be reduced, whilst ensuring micronutrient levels are not compromised.
Saracen STAMM 30® is a highly concentrated source of essential proteins, with patented vitamins, minerals and yeasts designed to supplement all classes of horses that require additional nutritional support from performance horses to breeding stock. It can be fed alone when additional calories (energy) are not called for, or to top dress the ration to upgrade the nutrient spec of the ration. Saracen STAMM 30® utilizes bioplex minerals required for correct skeletal development and maintenance of the horse. A specifically designed yeast culture has been incorporated for normal microbial activity, which supports efficient fibre digestion and maintains favourable digestively related bacteria counts in the hindgut.
Need more guidance?
For a personalised feeding plan for your breeding or youngstock, please 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