THW: Equine Nutrition

THE HOARSE WHISPERER  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 5 August 2009, Wednesday

Equine Nutrition        

Ask any equine specialist the number one factor for horse performance in racing and chances are she’ll answer, ”Nutrition.” As in any sport, athletes need to be well-nourished to reach their peak condition and and sustain it, something that goes for horses as well as humans.

 The debate on type and quality of feeds has raged for decades in racing circles. Some trainers and horseowners advocate the simplicity of locally-produced feeds such as oats and ”matamis” (sweet feed), while those with bigger budgets may opt for imported brands.

Is there a difference between local and imported formulas? Many veterinarians say a slight edge in performance is noted with the use of imported feeds. Says veterinarian Dan Arreola, ”I used to be in the feeds business before I started my veterinary practice. Whether it’s feeds for horses, pigs, or other animals, the quality of local feeds depends on the availability of ingredients -which aren’t always available.” If money were no object, which would he recommend? “I’d say go for the imported for its formulation and quality control.”

One of the brands gaining many fans here is Australia’s Hygain, especially for their racing blends Racetorque and Powatorque.

Racetorque is a complete micronized sweet feed with added bio-available silicon (for strong bones), Vitamin E for antioxidant and immune system benefits, chromium (reduces lactic acid build-up after races and workouts), and selenium (prevents fatty oxidation that may cause tissue damage). Rice bran oil, omega essential 3, 6, 9, and other nutrients are included to improve skin, hoof, and coat condition, and provide other nutritional benefits that maximize horse health and boost performance.

Equine nutritionist veterinarian Steven Duren will arrive from Singapore on August 12 to give a presentation that evening about Hygain feeds at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club. Admission is free for interested parties from all the equine disciplines. Call Josie at 331-5076 to inquire.

Meanwhile, racing circles are abuzz with the speculation that a 2YO racehorse currently competing in the elite juvenile ranks was foaled two months earlier than its registered date of birth of January 2007. The horse is an ”island-born”, born in this country to a broodmare imported in May 2006 while pregnant.

The Australian breeder of the horse provides a December 2005 “last cover date” or service date for the mare. Since light horses such as thoroughbreds, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, have a gestation period of 11 to 11.5 months, this would mean that the controversial 2YO was carried by its dam for 13 months.

The Philippine Racing Commission inquired into the matter, and the horse’s connections replied that this particular case was “abnormal” in that the gestation period for this horse really was 13 months. Citing information from one of the foremost breeding ranches in Australia, where cases have been reported of 13 to 14 months’ gestation periods, the horse’s connections contend that such prolonged periods of gestation are not totally unknown in breeding circles.  

Why the brouhaha over this issue? What’s a couple of months here or there? There are railbirds who are vigilant about matters like this, since a couple of months’ advantage in age may mean the difference between winning or losing. More than that, the requirements of a level playing field must be met, for fairness and sportsmanship to prevail in a sport that depends for its income on its credibility with bettors.   ***

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1 Comment on THW: Equine Nutrition

  1. NiHAWmA
    5 August 2009 at 10:53 am (3951 days ago)

    We ALL live in a society that has bought into the idea that “Character, honesty, credibility and integrity aren’t really that important.” Many would conclude that credibility, integrity and character will put a person in a position to be taken advantage of! Nothing could be farther from the truth! Look at those corrupt government officials who has placed our beloved country, the Philippines, in to shame.

    I do not know what happen on the year 2004. I just only heard over the radio about a telephone conversation regarding DAGDAG BAWAS.
    Hello! Padding. (by the way, padding is not his name).

    In horse racing, I still can recall about a jockey who was suspended (should be BANNED FOR LIFE) when he was found to have cheated on his handicap weight (lead weight). The jockey was found to have cheated on his actual handicap weight (about 58kgs). Other people were implicated. The lacking handicap weight was allegedly hidden and was intended to give it back to the jockey after the race.

    WHATELSE CAN NOT BE CHEATED? We will all be surprised one day if we see a horse who’s blinker is weighing almost a cavan of rice. Horse owner, if you’re doing this. WHERE IS YOUR CLEAN CONSCIENCE?

    There should be a good accurate record keeping from the moment the horse was served, as well as the actual date of the sale and arrival. The imported broodmare isn’t going to make it easy to predict when she’s going to discharge his package IF you do not have an accurate record.
    For the benefit of your readers, a BROODMARE, is a female horse used for producing foals.

    A miscalculated date of the foaling will be a problem. To prevent an error the seller should furnish the buyer a veterinary certificate that shows the expected date of the foaling. Length of gestation. There are factors also. There is a significant effect regarding the duration of pregnancy. Stress and nourishment can also prolong the gestation. Mathematical calculations in projecting the foaling date will also depend on the signs. There are certain changes which will give you a clue. Examining the calcium level of the milk can help you predict the time of foaling. There is a calculator which will assist you also. Foaling Gestation.