Roughage as the basis of your ration

Elaine Pen says; The old, but new formula - made possible by EquiFirst

Despite the fact that we were restricted by corona and rhino this year in the possibilities with our horses this year, we have not been idle. Sporting successes, such as the reserve place
Olympic Games in Tokyo with my horse Divali, participation in the World Championship 6
eventing horses with Kite-man and Kiss me Kato, and a Dutch title and a bronze
and a bronze medal at the Dutch Championships 6 years old eventing horses with Kite-man and Kiss me Kato. But also this year we started a big investigation into the rations of my horses. The entire ration, think of concentrated feed, roughage and supplements, of my horses has been scrutinized and then you come and that's when you come up with some really good and interesting insights. At the end of the day, we want the best Ultimately, we want the best combination for all horses in the ration so that they don't lack anything.
Whether they are sport horses, broodmares, foals and yearlings or recreational horses.

Managed roughage


The basis of a horse's ration is really roughage. No matter how much we like it
and how good it is to provide our horses with the best concentrate and supplements, we have to manage our own roughage.
supplements, we always have to start with the roughage. Our
stable has a large number of pastures and therefore we manage our roughage ourselves.
management. Experience in pasture management combined with taking samples, then
we can specifically influence the growth of the grass, which will eventually become hay and silage.

To measure is to know

The saying "to measure is to know" is there for a reason. Without taking samples of
of the hay and silage, it will remain a wet guess as to the amount of protein, sugars and energy that the grass is proteins, sugars and energy that the horses actually obtain from their rations.
This year, we have used different plots of land for roughage, with different fertilisation methods, timing different ways of fertilising, timing of mowing and packing. Through the
samples, we have been able to establish that these different ways of pasture management actually produce different amounts of protein sugars and energy in roughage. Perhaps a striking conclusion; the roughage that looks and smells the best is not always the best for every horse.

Different horses, different requirements


Because not every horse needs the same amount of proteins, sugars and energy.
For instance, it is very important for sports horses that they get enough protein and energy from the roughage. and energy from the roughage. If you have a horse that is prone to laminitis, you need to look closely at the amount of sugar in the roughage.
roughage.
We ended up taking 4 different samples of roughage with different amounts of
This is the starting point for the whole ration for my horses. We now know what the proportions of roughage are and from this basis we will supplement with concentrated feed.

What do I feed


I use the following types of concentrated feeds in my stable:
Sport Plus Cube, Balance Cube, Breeding Cube, Growing Cube, Recover Mash, Herbs & Fibre Mix and the Fibre Mash.
My horses get either the Sport Plus Cube or the Breeding Cube as a base. In combination with the roughage they are given at that time, I know exactly what they are getting by taking samples of the roughage and the nutritional values of the feed, I know exactly what the horses are getting. Depending on the type of horse and the work he/she has to do, I add the Balance Cube, Growing Cube, Recover Mash, Herbs & Fibre Mix and the Fibre Mash.
A few examples: the sport horses that have just had a heavy training or competition
Recover Mash extra immediately after work. My pregnant mares get the Breeding Cube during the last 3 months of pregnancy, and our young horses in growth I give the Growing Cube extra.
At times when the horses need something extra, for example when building up training after a period of rest, training towards an important/heavy competition, part of the feed concentrate is replaced by the extra mash.
part of the feed concentrate is replaced by the Balance Cube. We use the Fibre Mash to help horses that are lagging behind in terms of condition.
It's a lot of calculation, puzzling, and also a lot of feeling and looking at your horse, but if you do this, you will get a lot of results.
But when you do it, you get a lot of interesting insights.
My horses deserve the best and I like to do my best for them. Thanks to the good cooperation with EquiFirst, I can further professionalise my horses' rations with roughage as the basis. An old, yet new formula. 

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February 2nd, 2022

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