Feeding your horse a healthy mash

Creating a balanced nutritional mash for your horse.

For years, horse owners and show barns have fed bran mash before a long trip, or after a change in the weather, thinking they were treating their horse to a warm, healthy meal. Now, more people are educating themselves about better nutrition for their horses as they also take control of their own diets. With epidemic rates of insulin resistance, Cushing’s and other metabolic diseases popping up, what should we really be feeding our horses?

Bran myths

Bran mash has many myths surrounding it – and one strong fact. It is a century-old out-of-date practice that began when wheat middlings and by-products were given to cattle and horses because it was cheap. Horses were fed pounds of it every day, upsetting their calcium/phosphorus ratios. Later, bran would be linked to the commonly-named disease “Big Head Syndrome”. Bran was essentially robbing horses of the calcium in their bones and weakening their skeletal structure.

Now, over 100 years later, it has become the practice to feed one meal of bran per week to help prevent colic, act as a laxative, or “clear the gut”. But the bran is doing none of these things. What’s actually happening inside your horse’s stomach is an upset in the 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 bran’s laxative effect).

Healthy mash

A better solution to feeding bran mash is to give the horse a balanced nutritional “meal” that can be fed in any situation. A healthy mash would:

• offer an optimal fiber source with high quality protein
• be formulated to give the right blend of sugars and fiber
• be designed to have a slow release energy concept
• not compromise the normal feeding program

Mashes are ideal for the horse, as the water content improves digestibility and gut flow to a greater degree than dry feed. Hot mashes warm the body core and help maintain condition in cold weather – or provide quick and simple hydration in warm weather.

Emerald Valley has developed safe, high fiber 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 horse’s diet. SuperMash and SavvyMash are the most nutritional common sense approaches to treating your horse and helping his digestive tract. These products will not upset his daily feed regime.