The horse in natureCavalor Fiberforce bag

If our horses could decide how to pass the time of day themselves, they would spend between 10 and 16 hours a day feeding. This is because the instinct to feed is in their genes. Despite the fact that they are domesticated, their digestive systems are still designed to extract energy from high-fibre plant material. But unlike us humans, horses don’t stop feeling hungry when their stomachs are full; appetite is controlled by satisfying the need to chew. So eating is also an important activity that contributes to the horse’s well-being. The closer their domesticated diet comes to meeting this “natural nutrition” state, the better off they are. Cavalor FiberForce is designed with this in mind.

Considerations when feeding

The first criteria when looking at a feed is how long it takes to eat, which is dependent on the structure of the feed. The higher the crude fibre content, the longer the animal will be busy with it. Feeds that are rich in crude fibre include hay, straw and alfalfa. These natural roughage products, which contain coarse fibres which the horse has to work to grind down with its teeth, have several benefits: appropriate tooth wear, slower feed intake, more chewing activity and greater saliva formation. The latter plays a fundamental role in digestion as it softens the feed and makes it easier to swallow. So it keeps the horse feeling fuller for longer, it is converted better and has a positive impact on all gastrointestinal processes. So it’s no surprise that this indispensable crude fibre is described as the “engine of digestion.” But if rations only contain low levels of crude fibre, such as oats or barley, the horse chews very fast and the feed is not thoroughly mixed with saliva, causing gastrointestinal problems if swallowed as a concentrated pulp.

A diet rich in fibre is particularly recommended for breeds of horses that are easy keepers, including ponies, small horses and hardy breeds such as Icelandics, Haflingers or Fjords. This recommendation also applies to animals suffering from metabolic diseases such as EMS (equine metabolic syndrome), Cushing’s syndrome, PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy), insulin resistance or laminitis. These animals also need rations that are low in starch and sugar in order to normalise hormonal imbalances. This is something that horse owners can only achieve with modified rations. The ideal feed is one that achieves a balance between crude fibre and concentrate and delivers the benefits of both so as to boost the metabolism long-term–like Cavalor FiberForce. FibreForce consists of alfalfa stems and extruded pellets.

“Why does my horse need alfalfa in its concentrate if it is already being fed hay?” you might wonder. That’s easy: because hay qualities differ greatly these days. What’s more, nutrient levels in crude fiber have plummeted in recent years, causing a long-term risk of nutrient deficiencies. Cavalor FiberForce ensures a constant supply of nutrients and a consistently high quality, so it is also ideal for horses with a hay dust allergy or chronic respiratory diseases.

Oil is another important component of Cavalor FiberForce, which is used as a high-quality source of energy. This particularly benefits older horses who have problems chewing or poor teeth and can only take in small quantities of roughage at a time. A shortage of crude fibre is compensated for by this liquid energy source. Cavalor FiberForce may also be used as supplementary feed or, under certain conditions, as a complete feed.

Highly digestible feeds contain:

  • high levels of crude fiber
  • low sugar content
  • reduced starch content
  • a secure source of energy
  • no whole grains

Cavalor FiberForce was developed for horses that suffer from:

  • stomach ulcers
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • insulin resistance
  • laminitis
  • EMS (equine metabolic syndrome)
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy)
  • muscle problems
  • chronic respiratory diseases
  • postoperative problems
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Rob is a director of Equitain and also Kingswood Equestrian Centre. As a Medical Biochemist he takes an interest in all aspects of performance of the horse from a nutritional and saddlery perspective. Areas of speciality : Nutrition, Bitting, Saddlery

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