Feeding a Healthy Mash
For years, horse owners and show barns have fed bran mashes, once a week, before a long trip or after a change in the weather, thinking they were treating their horse to a healthy warm meal. More and more horse owners are educating themselves as to better nutrition for their horses as they also take control of their own healthy diets. With an epidemic rate of insulin resistance, Cushings and other metabolic diseases popping up all over the USA, what should we really be feeding our horses? And the bigger concern is why we feed it to them has come to the forefront.
Bran mash has many myths to it and one strong fact, it is a one hundred year old out-of-date practice, that began when wheat middlings and by-product of wheat where given to cattle and horses because it was cheap and they would eat it. Horses were fed pounds of it everyday, upsetting their calcium/phosphorus ratios, and later, linked to the commonly named disease “Big Head Syndrome”. Bran was essentially robbing the horse of the calcium in his bones and weakening his skeletel structure.
Now over a century later, it has become the practice to feed one meal or so per week of bran to a horse to help prevent colic, act as a laxative or “clear the gut”. Bran is doing none of these, and what is actually happening inside your horse’s stomach is an upset in his delicate balance of microorganisms. Changing his feed once per week to this high sugar, high phosphorous, foreign by-product kills the good bacteria in the gut, which results in diarrhea (commonly mistaken as the laxative effect of bran).
A better solution to feeding bran mash is to give a balanced nutritional “meal” thart can be fed in any situation.A healthy mash would consist of an optimal fibre source with high quality protein; formulated to give the right blend of sugars and fibres; designed to have slow release energy concept and will not compromise the normal feeding program.
Mashes are ideal for the horse, as the water improves digestibility and gut flow to a greater degree than a dry feed. Hot mashes warm the body core and so help maintain condition in cold weather or provide quick hydration in a simple meal for warm weather.
Emerald Valley has developed high fiber, safe mashes based on two top-selling feed stuff products developed in the UK. Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet have become the best ways to add fiber, water, protein and balance to your horses diet. SuperMash and SavvyMash make the most nutritional common sense approach to treating your horse and helping his digestive track. Both products will not upset your horses daily feed regime.