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An Irish Adventure & Season Feeding Advice

Hello all,

We have finally completed the reports and orders from our recent Irish 'promotional tour'. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with the trainers and review horses we have helped along the way. Our recent racing success was celebrated in the Racing Post and social media and ensured we picked up new clients on the way who we are currently following our rehabilitation programmes with several promising thoroughbreds. Thanks to all those who offered hospitality and a big shout of appreciation for the Galway Races tickets! To watch the 'Plate' having worked with Shanahan's Turn (a previous winner) provided memories I will cherish.

As the National Hunt season is upon us, just a reminder to yards with newbies or those bringing in horses from summer pasture, young horses moving from nursing to solid food are prime candidates for occasional diarrhoea, so are stable-kept horses when returning to pasture, pastured horses being introduced to concentrated food formulas, horses that travel and another cause is using generic molassed commercial feeds. I, as a general rule, always introduce any dietary change slowly. If changing hay types, mix new with the old for a while, add foodstuffs or supplements one at a time and work up from a small amount to the recommended total. If you use prepared feeds, try to stick with one brand or formula. Read labels so you know exactly what your horse is ingesting, introduce pasture slowly, allowing limited grazing at first. When transporting, carry your own feeds, even water can cause problems when your horse is changing locations. Adding a cup of apple vinegar to each ten gallons of water will help guard against this complaint when travelling. Begin adding the vinegar several days before you leave home and continue either until you return or the horse acclimates to his new home.

Controlling your regime in this way helps you spot sensitivities or allergies to specific foods. These are not a well-documented problem, but they happen. We have had great success identifying horses that are sensitive to molasses, GM soya and fish oils in feed. Our Digestive Support Mix is an economical option for you to get the best results out of your feed regime and start the season off in top form.

Foals introduced to complex foods too young, horses in poor health or with underlying gut issues like ulcers, and aged horses are prime candidates. Allow them plenty of time to acclimate to each change you are making, and watch them closely.

It goes without saying, always use quality feed, best of luck.

Darren Unwin, Unwin Equine Resources.

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