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Carbohydrates - What are they?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Carbohydrates are a major component of plant tissue and are the main source of energy for horses, but are you aware of the different types of carbs and how they are digested in the horses body? Did you know that a horses digestive tract is designed to digest a particular type of carbohydrate and has a limited ability to digest another? Lets start by identifying the two types of carbohydrates:

1. Non Structural Carbohydrates also known as Non Fibrous Carbohydrates 

2. Structural Carbohydrates also known as Fibrous Carbohydrates 

Non Structural Carbohydrates (NSC's) are found inside of the plant cell and are referred to as STARCH & SUGAR. NSC's are broken down by enzymes present in the small intestine and are absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood stream as glucose or are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen.

Structural Carbohydrates are found in the cell wall of plants and are referred to as FIBRE. These carbohydrates bypass enzymatic digestion and are fermented by the good bacteria living in the horses hindgut (cecum & colon). The process of fermentation produces volatile fatty acids which are used and an energy source by the horse.

Why are Structural Carbohydrates so important for the horse?

Horses have evolved on high Fibre diets (Structural Carbs) and have a limited ability to digest large amounts of starch (Non-Structural Carbs) due to limited enzymes present in the small intestine which break the starch molecules down. When a diet high in NSC's is fed, some escapes digestion in the small intestine and overflows into the hindgut where it is rapidly fermented. When NSC's are fermented, lots of acid is produced which alters the pH of the hindgut causing acidosis, killing the good bacteria present. This predisposes the horse to metabolic conditions and digestive disturbances (colic). 

You may be wondering what feedstuff is composed of starch? Cereal grain is composed of starch. When rations containing high levels of grain is fed, excess starch will escape digestion and rapidly ferment in the hindgut causing acidosis and increasing the risk of digestive upsets, metabolic conditions and poor performance 

ALWAYS remember, horses are hindgut fermenters- They need fibre to keep their digestive tract functioning! If you feed your horse grain, ensure the base of the diet is composed of adequate fibre and make sure your horse isn't consuming large quantities of grain at once. A diet too high in grain or one lacking in fibre, can cause serious health issues.  

Happy Riding!







4 reasons you should choose Omega Feeds products

Friday, March 17, 2017


Why choose Omega Feeds?

Why is the Omega Feeds range different to other premium feeds? 

Here are the top 4 reasons why feeding Omega Feeds is the better choice for your horse:

  1. Our products are based on sunflower seeds not grain (like most others on the market). Because the equine digestive system is poorly designed to digest large quantities of grain, there's a limit to how much grain you can feed without risking dangerous conditions like colic and laminitis or causing a ‘hot’ temperament. Omega Feeds is a cooling and calming product.
  2. Sunflowers are a known Superfood. And what makes our products even more special is that we dehull the sunflower seed and separate the hull (the fibre) from the kernel (the fat). By dehulling the seed, we make the seed more digestible (started breaking the seed down for the horse). Feeding whole seeds can be fruitless as they can pass through undigested.
  3. Sunflowers are full of rich Omega fats. Fat is a safe and excellent energy/calorie source for horses. Fat contains more than twice the energy content of starch, and horses digest and utilise fat well. Supplementing fat into the diet can increase calorie intake without greatly increasing the quantity of feed, so it can be more economical to use Omega Feeds.
  4. A quality fibre source is essential in a horse’s diet for proper digestive function.The horse’s digestive system has been designed to digest fibre NOT grain, which is why our 3 complete feeds are based on the fibrous hull of the sunflower.

Sunflowers are packed with nutritional benefits and by separating the fibre and fat components we are able to manufacture and 
range of products suitable for a variety of horses from easy keepers to hard doers. 

Here at Omega Feeds we want to ensure you horse gets the most out of every seed and feed.

The 6 essential requirements for a balanced diet

Monday, January 30, 2017

BACK TO BASICS WITH OMEGA FEEDS

What are the top 6 essentials for a balanced diet?