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WEG- A DREAM COME TRUE FOR NICOLE BLANKS

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Omega Feeds is a proud sponsor of the International Equine Connections (IEC) Team. For those who are not familiar with IEC, Alicia (founder) puts plans together to allow ambitious riders reach their equestrian goals. This includes carefully selecting horses to match the goal and the rider as well as planning and training the combination all the way through to reach their goal. In 2013 Nicole contacted Alicia with a dream and is now part of the IEC team. Here is her inspiring story.

Nicole's journey into becoming a para equestrian started back in September 2008 after she had 8cm of her spine removed after being diagnosed with spinal cancer. In 2013 Nicole went off to Europe on a quest to find her dream WEG horse. She viewed over 26 horses and couldn't find the perfect dream horse. Nicole by chance stumbled across the IEC website at the very last minute and was about to fly home when Alicia convinced her to change her flights and stay a few more days. Nicole took that leap of faith and the rest is history!

Alicia found Nicole the perfect partner 'Vledder BM' and also found him a stable and a trainer to train with (Annemieke Vincourt) and together they made a plan for Nicole's success. Nicole made scheduled trips to Holland where she trained with Annemeike and competed at qualifying events throughout Europe. In between her trips, Nicole would ride her own horses at home and train with Alicia on her schoolmasters in Melbourne. 

In the lead up to WEG Nicole has managed to go from not even being on the radar of international sport to gaining some of the highest qualifying scores in the Australian para team, with scores over 70% at international competitions. Nicole has also become the highest ranking Grade IV Australian rider, ranked 6th in the world. On Monday the 25th of June Nicole's story reached climax- It has been announced she is on the long list for the World Equestrian Games! 

Congratulations Nicole, we wish you all the best and hope you make the Australian Team!

Do you want to know how IEC can help you achieve your dreams? Click HERE to find out more.  





WATER - A MAJOR NUTRIENT

Thursday, October 31, 2013

We all know how vital it is to supply plenty of fresh, clean palatable water for the health and wellbeing of our horses, but did you know that water intake rate is variable and the amount required is determined by the amount of fluid lost? 

As you would all know, water is essential for body fluid balance, digestive function and gastrointestinal health (NRC 2007), which means horses must have access to clean, fresh, palatable water for normal body function!

So how is fluid lost and what effects these losses? Fluid is lost through urine, sweat, faeces, respiration and lactation (NRC 2007) and is affected by the amount and type of feed consumed, environmental conditions and the health, physiological state and physical activity of the horse (Pagan 2008).                                     Image obtained from: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs093/1105202361975/archive/1110411098208.html

In order to maintain this fluid balance, water loss must be balanced with water intake. Horses can obtain water through the following sources:
  • By drinking water 
  • Through the moisture in feeds 
  • Through the metabolic breakdown of dietary carbohydrates, protein & fat 
Knowing that there needs to be a balance between water intake and loss and that majority of domestic horses in current management practices consume the majority of water through drinking, we as owners need to ensure our horses and livestock have access to clean, palatable water. This means regularly checking automatic water troughs and cleaning the dirty ones.

Happy Riding!





CHOOSING THE RIGHT FEED FOR YOUR HORSE

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Choosing the right feed for your horse can be tricky as there are so many different products on todays market, so my questions to you are:

  •  Are you unhappy with your current feeding program? 
  • Are you sick of feeding lots of different products?
  • Are you spending a fortune on feed but not seeing results? 
  • Are you looking at changing your horses diet to a well balanced, non heating ration that will keep your horse in top condition all year round but unsure on what the best Omega product is best suited for your horse? 
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions then here is a bit of information that will help you choose the most appropriate Omega product for your horse. 

* NO-GRAIN GOLD - Maintenance feed that has been specifically formulated for spellers and horses in light to medium work. Provides the all important bulk in the diet, whilst meeting a horses vitamin and mineral requirement. No-Grain Gold is an excellent Allrounder feed!

*NO-GRAIN PLATINUM - Specifically formulated for performance horses in medium to heavy work. Contains the same base product as No-Grain Gold, however also has added protein sources and has a higher inclusion of vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrient rich feed. Also suitable for young growing horses!

*PONYPLUS- A low starch, low sugar feed that has been specifically formulated for horses and ponies with metabolic conditions. It is important to note that this feed is NOT just for ponies! No soaking required. 
The above 3 feeds are all COMPLETE FEEDS when fed in conjunction with hay, chaff and/or pasture!

* WEIGHTGAIN- A high calorie SUPPLEMENT that has been specifically formulated to improve body weight and condition in horses of all ages. 

*MAXICOAT- Coat and Hoof SUPPLEMENT specifically formulated to improve coat colour and shine and hoof condition. Also an excellent source of 'cool energy'!



GET THE OMEGA GLOW!

Friday, September 27, 2013

With Spring here and horses loosing their winter coats, how is your horse looking after the cold winter months? Are you looking for a supplement that will help bring those dapples out and give your horse and soft shiny coat that glows?

Here at Omega Feeds we have been working hard to formulate a well balanced and unprocessed coat and hoof conditioner that will make your horse stand out in the crowd and give you the winning edge!! MaxiCoat is a nutritious and concentrated supplement that is composed of sunflower kernel (I must add that this kernel is the same kernel used for human consumption, which means it is of the highest quality!!!) and has the benefits of organic minerals and biotin. 

The biotin, organic zinc and organic copper work together with the sunflower kernel to enhance hoof and coat condition, giving your horse the 'Omega Glow'. For those who haven't read our previous blogs, you may be wondering what are the benefits of organic minerals and why do we use them in MaxiCoat? The reasons for adding organic minerals into the MaxiCoat is because scientific studies have shown that organic copper and zinc are more bioavailable to the horse and have a higher rate or absorption, which means the horse can better absorb and utilise these minerals. 

Because MaxiCoat is based on Sunflower kernel, it is a natural unprocessed source of oil. So why feed MaxiCoat over oil?

  • Solid not a liquid = no mess and less wastage 
  • Fortified with a balanced blend of vitamins & minerals 
  • Added benefits or organic minerals for optimum uptake 
  • Economical 
  • Same kernel used for human consumption 
  • Quality Protein 
Get the Omega Glow today and stand out in the crowd when your next out competing!!



PREPARING FOR PONY CAMP

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Many Pony Clubs have there annual Pony Camp coming up and I bet there is a lot of excitement among the children participating for a fun filled week of riding and socialising! Although Pony Camp is a time of excitement for all involved, it can be a long, hard going week for your horse if not fit and fed correctly. 

Daily activities usually consist of troop drill, flat riding, sporting, jumping, cross country, camp drafting, polocrosse and tent pegging just to name a few, so it is important to have your horse properly conditioned and fed for the week ahead. Some horses and ponies receive minimal exercise prior to camp, so children need to be encouraged to increase there horses fitness in the weeks leading up to camp, not only to ensure the horse remains fit and healthy through out the week but also to ensure the horse isn't full of itself on day one of camp. 

A well balanced diet that will provide adequate energy without causing hot or hyperactive behaviour is important. When selecting a feed, always look at the ingredients used in the product. Feeds containing cereal grains such as oats, corn, barley etc. are often responsible for altering a horses behaviour and temperament. 

Many horses don't require grain in there diet, in fact horses have evolved on high fibre diets and have a limited ability to efficiently digest the large amount of starch present in grain, which is why we produce safe, palatable, nutritious and non heating fibre based feeds to support the nutritional needs horses in various disciplines. No-Grain Gold is ideal for the Pony Club mount as the fibre content will provide adequate energy without the fizz, whilst the balanced blend of vitamins and minerals will help ensure optimum health!

Happy riding and have a wonderful week at camp!



A DREAM COME TRUE

Thursday, September 12, 2013
With the upcoming 1st birthday celebrations for PonyPlus, I would like to share a very special and personal success story with you. As some of our Facebook fans would know Maryanne Smith, a valued customer from Yarra Heights Pony Stud has been keeping us up to date with the progress of her broodmare, who previous to being fed PonyPlus was a chronic founder pony that kept slipping foals. 

Here is what Maryanne had to say... straight from the horses mouth!

I will start this story over 12 months ago. We breed welsh mountain ponies and have a small stud in Wyong Creek NSW. One of our mares 'The Heights Maybee' had not had a foal in 4 years due to chronic founder and my husband David and I had made the decision we were going to put her down. She looked terrible and was locked up more than being able to be free in the paddock. We had a phone call from Omega Feeds asking if we would like to trial their PonyPlus made especially for lamintic ponies. We knew we had 3 ponies that pushed all those buttons so we quickly said yes as anything was worth a try.  


Maybee and our other 2 ponies were started on PonyPlus straight away and within 3 days I could not believe the difference in this mare. She was so much brighter in herself and was moving around quite freely. We started serving our other mares and Maybee started to show quite a bit of interest in the stallion, so we thought why not so we did. Much to our delight and disbelief she went straight in foal.      

 

Maybee was kept on PonyPlus in her night feed, which she was locked in a stable and out every morning for the day with a small butt of hay and a Jenny Craig paddock. She looked amazing all through the pregnancy and her feet now have no founder rings. On monday night the 9th of September she gave us the perfect gift, a beautiful chestnut filly with 4 white socks and a blaze. Both Mum and Bub look amazing and we cannot thank Omega Feeds enough for making this dream come true. 


We have decided to call our perfect filly 'Yarra Heights Bee Plus'. Our next PonyPlus foal is due in October and this foal is also much awaited.  We now have all our show team on PonyPlus and they look amazing. Also, one of our fillies 'Imperial Boo Who' was Supreme Champion Welsh Exhibit at Sydney Royal this year on PonyPlus...needless to say our ponies will always be fed on Omega PonyPlus because the results speak for themselves”


I hope you all enjoyed reading this, we certainly did!!


BREEDING SEASON

Thursday, August 22, 2013

With the breeding season rapidly approaching and foals starting to hit the ground, sound nutrition is paramount when preparing mares, maintaining optimum condition and producing strong, healthy foals. Poor nutrition will not only affect fertility, it can also affect a foals growth and development, which is why an appropriate well balanced diet is vital for a successful breeding program. 

Maintaining an ideal body condition score prior to serving a mare and during pregnancy is important. For those who are not familiar with the breeding side of things, keep in mind the following points:

* Mares entering the breeding season in poor condition typically display a delayed onset of oestrus, irregular oestrus cycles, require more services per conception and have lower conception rates (Lawrence, 2011).

* Mares in moderately fleshy condition generally cycle early in spring & ovulate earlier during oestrus, have fewer cycles per conception, have a higher pregnancy rate and maintain pregnancy more easily then thin mares (Scott, 2002).

* High fertility tends to coincide naturally with the flush of grass in late spring (Frape, 2010). 

Once a mare is in foal, attention to correct nutrition is still vital. The foetus does not grow at a constant rate throughout pregnancy, so it important to understand that a mare will have different nutritional requirements throughout her pregnancy. Obviously, a mares highest nutritional requirement is during lactation. 

Last but certainly not least, correct nutrition for our stallions is also essential.  Stallions not only need to maintain maximum fertility, they need to be able to maintain an ideal body weight throughout the breeding season. During the breeding season stallions on average have a 25% higher nutrient requirement then mature stallions during the off season (Gibbs, 2012). Always feed a balanced diet that meets his energy, protein, vitamin and mineral requirements. Regular monitoring of body condition will allow you to detect any changes so you can adjust the diet accordingly. 

The team at Omega are looking forward to seeing some photos of your Omega fed mares, stallions and foals!!

STEREOTYPIC BEHAVIOUR IN HORSES

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rather then focusing purely on nutrition for this weeks blog, I thought I would look at aspects of horse health and equine behaviour, focusing on stereotypic behaviour. So what is stereotypic behaviour? Stereotypic behaviour is described as being a abnormal and repetitious behaviour  that has no obvious function (Mason, 1991).  It is generally associated with  modern management and feeding practices, boredom and sub optimal environments. 

It is important to realise that not all horses in a given environment will develop stereotypies, however stabling, isolation, stress, limited exercise and poor nutrition along with genetic predisposition are all contributing factors in the development of this seemingly functionless behaviour. Various studies have suggested that over 15% of domestic horses display stereotypic behaviour, which is commonly seen in stabled horses. 

Stereotypies can be classified as either locomotor or oral:

Locomotor 

  • Weaving 
  • Box Walking 
  • Fence Pacing 
  • Pawing 
  • Stall kicking 
  • Head tossing & nodding 
Oral 
  • Cribbing                      
  • Wind sucking 
  • Wood chewing 

                                                (Image obtained from:http://www.besthorsestalls.com/2013/03/cribbing-what-it-is-and-how-to-deal-with-it/) 

Because current management practices are very different to how horses have evolved, some horses develop stereotypic behaviour as a coping mechanism (it is no wonder stereotypies are commonly observed in horses housed in unnatural environments i.e. stables). Stereotypies are not only unattractive, they may also have health implications for the horse. 

Prevention tips:

  • Provide regular turn out 
  • Maximise social contact 
  • Limit stressful situations 
  • Feed little and often, rather then 1 large meal/ day 
  • Feed plenty of fibre
Remember, stereotypies are a coping mechanism so successful treatment involves addressing all the causal factors. The best method to help prevent stereotypic behaviour is to allow your horse to engage in natural behaviours, provide sufficient paddock turnout and feed plenty of roughage! 

Happy Riding!

PROTEIN

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Did you know that protein is a major component of most body tissues? In fact protein has more roles in the body then some of you probably realise. Not only does it function in muscle and tissue repair, it is also needed for hormone and enzyme function! 

Protein is composed of different amino acids. Some are classed as 'non essential', which means they can be synthesised by the horse whilst others are 'essential', which means that cannot be synthesised by the horse and need to be provided in the diet. 

Obviously every horse needs protein, but it is important to know that the amount and quality required depends on a number of factors including age, pregnancy, lactation etc.  Young growing horses and broodmares have a higher requirement for protein due to growth, development and milk production and even some of our oldies have a increased requirement for protein as their ability to efficiently digest protein often declines. 

Protein intake should be kept within acceptable limits. A protein deficiency could result poor growth, weight loss, decreased milk production, muscle loss and poor coat & hoof condition. When excess protein is fed, the horse will use it as an energy source by removing the nitrogen which is excreted as urea in the urine. When excreting nitrogen from the body, the horse will have higher water requirements resulting in increased water consumption and urination, which could potentially lead to dehydration if inadequate fresh, clean water is available. For horses confined in poorly ventilated stables, the strong smell of ammonia could potentially irritate the horses airways and cause respiratory issues. 

So remember when feeding protein, think quality and always keep protein intake within recommended levels! 



THE BENEFITS OF FAT SUPPLEMENTATION

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Did you know that fat supplementation has many benefits?? In fact, it has more benefits then most of you probably realise! It is well documented in scientific research that horses can efficiently digest and utilise high fat diets. 

Whether your into showing, dressage, breeding, endurance, eventing or racing, fat supplementation may be beneficial for your horse! So your probably wondering, how can fat supplementation be beneficial for such different classes of horses? Feeding fat is beneficial for a number of reasons. Not only is it an invaluable tool for achieving coat shine and weight gain, it is a highly digestible and dense energy source that does not make a horse 'hot' like the energy from grain is responsible for doing. 

Other benefits of fat supplementation:
  • Calmer temperament 
  • Reduce incidence/severity of tying up 
  • Significant improvement on RER & PSSM affected horses 
  • Enhanced performance 
  • Increases storage & transport of fat soluble vitamins 
  • Increases the energy content, whilst reducing the amount of feed fed
  • Lower lactic acid accumulation in muscles 
  • Palatable & highly digestible 

Did you know that fat contains 2.25 times more energy then carbohydrates??

For those who follow my weekly blogs, you should now be well aware of the problems associated with high grain diets. By supplementing fat into the diet, you can reduce the non structural carbohydrate content by replacing a proportion of grain with fat. This will reduce the risk of digestive upsets/ disorders that are associated with feeding large amounts of grain and will provide your horse with a safer alternative for putting weight on, improving skin and coat condition or meeting the energy needs of a high level performance horse. 

So remember, adding fat into certain horses diets has more benefits then just adding coat shine! You may be wondering, what is a palatable, economical, and mess free source of dietary fat? MaxiCoat is the answer. 

Happy Riding!