In January 2015 we reviewed the nutritional needs of our twelve horses with the idea of setting up a new feeding program designed to simplify things but also provide the supplementation needed, given that our pasture is predominantly Setaria with the balance being Kikuyu and Blue Couch – all heavy in oxalates. As it is well documented, too much calcium oxalate in the grasses can cause a huge range of health issues and we were concerned that the behavioural problems we were having with some of the horses was a result of this.
Even though our horses are not “performance horses” as such, they must be calm and compliant to do their job of carrying some of the most vulnerable people in society – the disabled. Also, as we are a completely volunteer run charity, the horses are handled by many different people - all with varying horsemanship skills - so their ability to cope with all that is asked of them must not be compromised by an inadequate diet.
It was at this stage that a flyer for EquiFeast supplements came in the local paper and we decided to try Break FREE. We realised that this one product could potentially replace three separate ones we were currently using (Cal-Extra, Bio-Hoof and Placid Rein). After a visit from Trevor and Laura Wozencroft for assessment and advice on our horses, we started on the loading period and remarkably within a fortnight we began to see results. One Thoroughbred in particular, that we were sure had soured with RDA as he had become unpredictable and at times dangerous, had calmed dramatically and one of our Welsh ponies that was biting and unco-operative was happy to be handled again.
After seeing the positive results of Break FREE we also decided to try Fight Back (instead of the QI Ease we were using) for our three horses with Queensland itch and have seen results as well, they are all far more comfortable, not ruining rugs and appear to be more tolerant to the midges.
We have also had an aged Quarter horse on Fight Back to help his immune system as he came to us a year ago with bad hoof problems and was having recurring abscesses – he hasn’t had one now for five months and his new hoof growth appears to be far healthier.
Since using EquiFeast supplements we have had sustained results with:
1. Temperament - horses are calm, willing and interested
2. Wellbeing - they are healthy and resilient
3. Improved hoof integrity
4. Improved coat condition
5. Reduced flightiness, better decision making
6. Reduction in tripping, improved action in all gaits
7. Increased allergy resistance
Also we have noted that the crankiness seen after grazing the fresh flush of grass following rain (concentrated oxalates/sugars in new pasture?) can be controlled by slightly increasing the amount of Break FREE for a few days after rainfall, this seems to work especially well with the Thoroughbreds who appear to be more affected by the young grass than the others.
EquiFeast has become a valuable asset for us at RDA as it enables our horses to be at their best – healthy, calm and sensible, providing a safer environment for our riders and volunteers.
RDA Tweed Valley