Since the recent break down of several high profile race horses, the media and others have tried to elucidate the cause of such catastrophic injuries. Those of us directly involved in the daily management and healthcare of Thoroughbreds know that there can be many factors that cause a horse to break bones, and trying to isolate or blame just one is difficult, if not impossible.
The equine digestive tract is a fragile system and the rigors of training often cause disruption of normal function to occur. Gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric ulcer syndrome, are common among the equine population and are often treated with a variety of pharmacological agents. While we can treat some gastrointestinal disorders with certain drugs, we must also instill good preventive care of the digestive tract so we can lower the incidence of such disorders and help the horse maintain healthy gut function.
“She was fed OmegaTri all the way, never any issues while packing on the pounds, no sickness, no digestive upset, no changes in her feet, just steady improvement all around. Obviously, she was getting a fair bit of concentrates early on (once out of the danger zone) but now she gets nothing but hay and her OmegaTri. I did actually get scale weights on her and her average daily weight gain was 4.7 lbs per day!” – Sue Thompson regarding the rehabilitation of a starved mare with OmegaTri™ oil as an adjunct nutritional therapy.
Today’s Racehorses are selectively bred from a narrow gene pool, asked to perform unnatural exercise regimes, and then fed excessive amounts of unnatural, concentrated grain rations and cultivated, nutrient- dense forages in order to meet their digestible energy and nutrient requirements.
At every level of racing, so much time and money are invested in each horse that trainers and owners want to find the extra edge that will help even the most astutely trained and conditioned athlete be more competitive. Manipulation and timing of feeding, feeds, and supplements can alter the physical performance of an individual horse, and an amazing array of performance enhancers or ergogenic aids are available.
Using bran mash as a weekly ‘cleanser’ is a popular tradition among horse owners and stables. The thought behind the weekly bran mash is that it adds bulk to the stool, helps with hydration, is a good source of fiber, and assists digestion. Despite being fed with good intentions, giving a weekly bran mash actually causes a dramatic alteration to the daily ration and can cause a disturbance in the normal population of microorganisms that reside in the hindgut. Here are some myths and facts about bran mash, wheat bran, and when is the correct time to use it.