Fall Transition Colic, Winter Hard Keepers, Feed Tag Labels

Fall Transition Colic, Winter Hard Keepers, Reading Feed Tag Labels, Natural & Artificial Flavoring

Fall is in the air!  That being said……many horses will colic or find themselves in a Pre-colic situation in the Fall Transition.

Prevention…Colic can be caused by many different factors.  During Fall and Winter, weather plays a major role. As the temperature swings can result in frozen or ice-covered water. This can result in horses drinking less water. At this time of year some horses are also shifting from a high moisture diet (grass) to  a low moisture diet (dried hay). Make sure your horses have water available as sometimes the water may freeze during the night and not melt until late morning. Also alway keep a  white salt block close by the water buckets to encourage water consumption.

Paying attention now will help you prevent impaction colic  from developing as a result of diet and weather changes and  the lack of water intake.

Many horses in the colder regions have problems holding their weight during the colder months.  If you own a “hard keeper” keep the following in mind.

Horses need whole nutrition! Feeding hollow calories or food which is digested very quickly such as processed food which is generally byproduct waste is NOT a good thing! Processed food is digested very quickly and the horse must deal metabolically with all the carbs or sugar very quickly, RIGHT now! Whole nutrition is digested much slower and will not be completely digested, the horse now has time to metabolically adjust to the nutritional onslaught especially where sugar or carbs are concerned. Fatty acids and soluble fiber will slow the release of glucose into the horse’s blood stream.

Feed that has been stabilized in order to keep it from going rancid is a “DEAD” food. All the natural enzymes have been destroyed and will cause more organ stress than natural whole foods. Please visit Equinechallengeir to read on processed feeds and byproduct waste.

If you have a horse in need of weight gain, please visit the Weepago Diet page for help in putting and keeping weight on your hard keepers.

​Each horse is an individual and should be treated as such, and I encourage all our Equine Challenge™ customers to contact me if one of their horses is not doing as well as another of their horses doing exactly the same thing.

How to read and Discern a Feed Tag. Most of the time these feed tags are designed to be confusing and virtually impossible to decipher with great intention. Let’s make it a bit easier to figure out.

The first ingredient is the most by volume and the last is the least by volume. So, if the first 5-7 ingredients are byproduct waste, ignore the clever text and pretty colors on the bag and just Walk Away.  If the minerals are in the Oxide form, know oxides are the cheapest form of minerals the least bio-available to your horse. So, if your goal is not to produce a mineral fortified urine and manure, then just Walk Away!

If the clever text on the bag tells you that this particular feed contains Probiotics for the thriving gut of your horse, and the tag indicates that most all the probiotic are Extracts, know that Extracts can not reproduce themselves, can not manufacture B-Vitamins, produce Antibodies or Co-factors and more, just Walk Away.

If the Probiotics are reported as Viable but the feed is in pellet form, recognize the viable probiotic were killed while being extruded into a pellet due to heat, so if it is not your goal to feed dead probiotic to your horse, just Walk Away!

If you see any Soy bean byproducts in our horse’s feed, do not just Walk Away…in this case, Run Away!

If you see the use of processed oils, remember oils are needed especially if it is a loose feed to keep the dust factor down and mineral oil is used to minimize the possibility of impaction. Why does your DVM use mineral oil if your horse has a potential gut problem? If you can not think of a reason why horses can not find a fountain of processed oil (corn, flax, canola, mineral, soy, vegetable) in all of horsedom, then just ….Walk away.

If you can buy a 50 pound bag of feed which reports to be a “Complete” feed and it costs $8.00, it is obviously too good to be true, just Walk Away, you should not be thinking “WOW, What a great deal!” Know that every one along the line has made a profit on this product except your horse. Someone must ship in all this byproduct waste, the bag must be manufactured, the printing be put on the bag, the cheap and virtually worthless, vitamins, minerals, and feed grade molasses have to be added, it may have been put through a pelletizing machine, the bags must be shipped to the warehouse, then to the feed store, and you get this great deal for only $8.00………………..”Please just Walk Away.

If you can buy a 50 pound bag of feed for $25 – $35 dollars the same forementioned “Complete feed” will apply but there are greater over head considerations at hand. The bag is glossy, the text is much more clever, the advertising and marketing of this feed on RFD, the glossy horse magazines, the banners at the horse shows and the high money endorsing horse legends,  the shipping and storing of this product, the Company Reps who show up and put on a horse and pony show…….all of this costs a bit more and of course the profit margin needs to be a bit higher…..just Walk Away.

Walk over and spend $10 – $13 for the 50 pound bag of Whole oats, your horse will thank you. This feed tag will be so very easy to read ……….”Recleaned Whole Oats”. Keep it Simple!

We from time to time we are asked to define what is meant by the terms Natural and Artificial Flavoring. We are also from time to time asked why the need to use artifical flavoring in Equine Challenge.

First I will address Natural flavoring because it is the easiest. Natural flavoring is the flavor that exists in the item naturally. For instance, flax has a taste, carrots and whole oats have a natural flavoring which will of course distingish it as, in this case flax.

Artificial flavoring is that which is added in most cases to mask an unpleasant natural taste or smell. For instance, methionine, an amino acid, a common ingredient in horse supplements, is a very unpleasant smelling and tasting amino acid but methionine is a very necessary amino acid for your horse. Copper and zinc are not nice tasting minerals but most would not know that in so far as humans will take these valuable minerals in tablet form and swallow with water so you never know or experience the unpleasant taste of these two minerals.

Giving your horse tablets is a difficult thing but your horse has a very sensitive and educated smell and taste as a survival mechanism so….sometimes it helps to mask the nasty stuff with something which is more pleasant.

So, what exactly do we use as the molasses flavoring in Equine Challenge™? The “molasses flavor” comes from a proprietary blend of vanilla notes, botanical extracts and some aroma chemicals (all chemicals are EU approved as they are naturally found in different extracts, plants, etc). Equine Challenge™ can be the best horse supplement in the Unites States but if your horse will not eat it, what would be the point? And as we all know, the vast majority of horses love Equine Challenge™ and suck it up like vacuum cleaners!

I would like to take this time to thank you for choosing Equine Challenge™ Supplements.

Thank you for your continued support, see you next month!


Kathy Hartwig


Mackie Hartwig

“You’re never wrong when you do the right thing”