Using Molasses in Horse FeedsBy Dr. Joe Pagan · June 27, 2012
Many horse owners are concerned about feeding their horses molasses. Interestingly, molasses has about the same amount of nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) as barley or corn. Most of this is in the form of either sucrose (glucose and fructose) or as free glucose and fructose. Both fructose and glucose are readily absorbed from the digestive tract, and fructose is converted into glucose by the liver. Therefore, molasses would result in an increase in blood glucose in a similar fashion to the digestion of starch.
In a trial at Kentucky Equine Research (KER), four Thoroughbreds were fed one of four meals:
(1) 1 kg (2.2 lb) of whole oats,
(2) 1 kg (2.2 lb) of cracked corn,
(3) 0.9 kg (2 lb) of oats + 0.1 kg (0.22 lb) of molasses, or
(4) 0.9 kg (2 lb) of corn + 0.1 kg (0.22 lb) of molasses.
Blood glucose was measured in these horses for four hours after feeding. The glycemic response of the horses when fed oats was nearly the same as when they were fed corn even though corn has 40% more NSC than oats. This is because the starch in oats is much more digestible than the starch in cracked corn.
Adding molasses to oats had little effect on glycemic response. Until three hours after feeding, the glucose curves were about the same for the two treatments. After three hours, glucose remained slightly elevated in the horses fed only oats. When molasses was added to corn, there was a large difference in glycemic response. Adding molasses to corn caused a large increase in glycemic response that was particularly pronounced in one horse.
Why adding molasses affected corn and oats differently may be explained by the rate with which the horses consumed each diet. When fed straight oats and corn, the horse’s average rate of intake was equal to 107 and 105 grams/minute, respectively. When molasses was added to oats, intake rose to 122 grams/minute, a 14% increase. When molasses was added to corn, rate of intake rose to 156 grams/minute, an increase of 49%. At this high rate of intake, the sugar in the molasses was digested rapidly, resulting in a large increase in blood glucose.
Combining molasses with a more digestible starch source (oats) with a lower rate of intake buffered the glycemic response of the molasses. Therefore, it appears that the way that molasses affects blood glucose in horses will depend to a large degree on what other NSC sources are in the feed and how quickly the horse eats its grain.
“Hot shoeing,” also called “hot setting” or “hot fitting,” is a common practice among farriers. After the foot has been trimmed, rasped and is ready for the new shoe, the farrier will heat the shoe in the forge and place it briefly on the foot to sear the path where the shoe will ultimately lie.
The purpose is to create a smooth interface surface between the hoof and the shoe and to seal the cut horn tubules, making them less likely to dry out in a dry climate or take on moisture and soften in a wet environment. “The intense heat also tends to kill any fungi and bacteria that may cause problems in the hoof,” says Paul Goodness, who manages a group farriery practice called Forging Ahead in Round Hill, Va. Goodness says he hot shoes nearly every horse in his practice, because the climate in Virginia is so moist.
Hot shoeing also helps stabilize shoes with clips. “This burns the base of the clip into the hoof wall and it’s locked into place,” says Mitch Taylor of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. “It takes a little more time to hot shoe a horse but you get a better fitting shoe if you do it correctly.”
Care must be taken not to damage the foot. “You want the shoe hot when you’re searing it onto the hoof if you want the interface to be perfect,” says Tia Nelson, DVM, a veterinarian and farrier in Helena, Mont. “You just barely touch it to the foot and take it off again.” Mistakes can produce serious sores and abscesses in the foot.
But hot shoeing is not always necessary. “I don’t think you need to hot shoe a horse to do a good job,” says Nelson. Hot shoeing may aid a smooth interface, but a good job of trimming ought to have already accomplished this goal. “What you do to the foot before you add the shoe is more important than what you put on the foot,” she says. If the foot has been shaped and prepared properly for the shoe, the shoe does not need to be hot, she adds; if a foot is not balanced, hot shoeing won’t resolve that.
Find the basic information you need to navigate the sometimes confusing world of equine footwear in “A Consumer’s Guide to Horseshoes” in the February 2008 issue of EQUUS magazine.
- Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin brought her country its second dressage gold medal aboard Valegro in the individual competition (© 2012 by Nancy Jaffer)
August 9, 2012–Fate struck one last cruel blow to the medal-less U.S. team today, as normally rock-solid Steffen Peters and his equally steady partner, Ravel, finished 17th, next-to-last, in the individual dressage competition. While most folks in the know, including Steffen, didn’t expect him to medal, they felt assured he would be high in the standings—though likely not in fourth place, as he was in the 2008 Hong Kong Olympics.
But Ravel just wasn’t in the mood today, and made several mistakes in his freestyle to music from the movie “Avatar,” ending up with a score of 77.286 percent. Steffen felt the horse was “a bit distracted.”
Unfortunately, it was the last time Ravel will compete before going into retirement.
“That’s why it was so sad it didn’t work out today,” said a downcast Steffen.
“There’s no way of sweet-talking this; it just wasn’t a good freestyle. This is not the way I wanted to finish. There were some wonderful things in it, but you can’t look past the mistakes. This one will leave a scar, for sure.”
He would like to see Ravel, the most decorated dressage horse in U.S. history, have a big retirement party, where he could “hopefully ride the freestyle once more and do it a little bit better than here.”
Putting it all in perspective, Steffen said, “I’ll remember Ravel for his career and if you put it all together, then this was just a little glitch today, but certainly very sad it happened at the end of his career. But I still love him, and he’s given us so much; just not quite today.”
Steffen’s appearance marked the end of the least-successful Olympics for U.S. equestrians since 1956, the last time they came home without any medals. There are plenty of questions to be asked and answered in that regard.
“We are going to have a long, hard, honest assessment of our programs and how they need to change to target medals in Rio (site of the 2016 Olympics),” said Jim Wolf, the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s executive director of sport programs.
“We have new coaching staff in at least two of the three disciplines and I am sure they have a lot of ideas about what we need to do to get back on the medal stand. I plan to have in-depth discussions with all of the stakeholders when we return from London to obtain the basis for a four-year high performance plan.”
The freestyle, which again drew a capacity audience of 23,000 to Greenwich Park, was a new way to end the equestrian portion of the Olympics. In the old days, show jumping was always the last event in the main stadium. In more recent years, as equestrian facilities tended to be outside the host city limits, show jumping was still the last event for horse sports.
This was a refreshing change of pace for the Games program. Spectators got what they came for, more than just British gold and bronze, courtesy of stars Charlotte Dujardin with Valegro, who took top honors, and her teammate from the country’s gold medal squad, Laura Bechtolsheimer, who rode to the bronze on the imposing Mistral Hojris. The silver medal was taken by the Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen on Parzival, who is ranked number one in the world. Each combination who entered the arena had something exciting to offer the appreciative crowd.
No matter who you were rooting for, the whole event was amazing. I recall the 1984 Olympics, and how we all were awed by Germany’s Reiner Klimke with Ahlerich. Very few horses in those days had that kind of stature. Today’s horses, however, are in a different league, with more finesse and style. Of course, they didn’t do the freestyle in the Olympics then, and it has added a whole new dimension to the sport. Without the freestyle, it never would have reached the popularity it has achieved.
Charlotte rode to a perfectly choreographed melange of “The Great Escape,” “Pomp and Circumstance,” the James Bond theme, “Live and Let Die,” an Olympic fanfare and the chimes of Big Ben, beautifully woven into the score. She earned 90.089 percent (just missing her British freestyle record of 90.65 percent) to 88.196 for Adelinde and 84.339 for Laura.
Understandably emotional, Charlotte kept wiping away tears with her white gloves (I felt like offering her a handkerchief) as she waited for the medal presentation.
“I just wanted to go out there today and enjoy it and not regret anything,” she said. Although Valegro was tired, “he went out there and gave it his all,” she said. Charlotte and her horse are quite a young combination. Valegro is 10 years old; she is only 26.
Her only major mishap, which she said was the result of “greenness and tiredness” came at the end of her performance, when Valegro had a mix-up about when he was supposed to canter and then do a piaffe pirouette.
- On the podium, the individual show jumping medalists: Gerco Schroder, the Netherlands, silver; gold medalist Steve Guerdat, Switzerland; Cian O’Connor, Ireland, bronze (© 2012 by Nancy Jaffer)
August 8, 2012–Dreams were both dashed and delivered on a day of surprises in the individual Olympic show jumping, where relative longshots prevailed in the medals and Britain’s luck finally ran out.
Hometown favorite Nick Skelton had a clear trip on Big Star in the morning round, which included 37 starters drawn from the top ranks of those who had vied for victory in three previous competitions.
The horse, discovered as a 5-year-old by his partner, the USA’s Laura Kraut, hadn’t come close to touching a fence during his outings in Greenwich Park. But in the second round of 22 riders, it all went wrong. The capacity crowd of 23,000 was just waiting to cheer 54-year-old Nick (called a “golden oldie” by one of the city’s papers) when he went through the finish line. Of course, that wouldn’t have been the end of it, because in order to take the title, he would have had to win a jump-off against Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, the only double-clear to that point.
Three fences from the end of the course, however, at the Cutty Sark obstacle (named after the tea clipper ship that is an attraction nearby) a rail fell, making Steve the champion.
Remember I told you in a previous postcard that I wondered if going fast in the jump-off for the team gold two days ago would make Big Star jump flatter than usual? Was that it, or was it the fact that the one extra round in the team fray had tired the 9-year-old Dutchbred stallion, the youngest horse in the competition. We won’t know, and Nick isn’t analyzing it, at least not in public.
“I just touched the pole at the wrong time and that was it,” said Nick.
Steve certainly was happy, tossing his helmet in joy as he delivered his exuberant victory gallop on the French-bred Nino des Buissonnets, but he was not overwhelmed by his achievement. In fact, his comments reminded me of those made by Michael Jung, who won the individual eventing gold last week, though it seems like 10 years ago because so much has happened here since (and when you’re working hard at the Olympics, time is a relative thing).
Although naturally he is pleased with the gold medal around his neck, Steve explained, “I don’t do it for this. I do it because I love it. I love riding. I love jumping. I love competing. But I had a goal to be here one day. It is a dream come true.”
We did have a jump-off, however. It was for the silver, as Gerco Schroder of the Netherlands and Cian O’Connor of Ireland were tied with 1 time penalty each.
Let me interrupt my saga here to say that when I called Steve, Gerco and Cian “relative longshots” for the medals at the beginning of this piece, in no way did I mean to say that they weren’t top riders. All have great credentials; it was just that their names weren’t mentioned in the same breath as Nick, or world number one Rolf-Goran Bengtsson of Sweden, the 2008 silver medalist.
Okay, back to the postcard: Cian, who was penalized for being 0.02 seconds over the time allowed in the second round after jumping clear in the first, has quite a story. He won the gold in 2004 at the Athens Olympics, as you’ll recall (your memory should be especially good if you’ve read my previous postcards, because I already have explained who he is.).
Short version: He lost his medal after his mount, Waterford Crystal, tested positive for a prohibited substance. The situation became a long, drawn-out saga because the horse’s “B” sample was stolen and papers involving the case went missing.
Some people are tracked by danger, others are tracked by drama. Cian is among the latter. He originally wasn’t chosen by the Irish to represent them at these Olympics. The man who was, Denis Lynch, got tagged when his horse tested for hypersensitivity (and it wasn’t the first time that had happened). So Cian got called up with Blue Loyd, a horse he bought last year with hopes of making the Games.
Jumping Individual – Day 12 Times
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Aussie duo to jump for goldAAP | August 7, 2012
UPDATE: EDWINA Tops-Alexander will lead a two-pronged Aussie assault on gold in London today.
It is the final two rounds of the showjumping.
Tops-Alexander was fourth in qualifying after dropping just one gate in three rounds of competition – her only error coming on the 10th obstacle on Monday when her horse Itot du Chateau clipped the top rail for four penalty points.
Fellow Aussie Julie Hargreaves – much to her own surprise – also progressed, her 13 penalty points enough to see her scrape into the 34-person field.
With all competitors to start on zero for the last two rounds on Wednesday, both Hargreaves and Tops-Alexander will be in contention for medals.
But the form of the latter proves she will be one of the leading fancies for gold, with only three jumpers doing better than Tops-Alexander over the opening three rounds.
Tops-Alexander admitted she had allowed herself to think about the prospect of a medal.
“Of course I do, you’ve got to look for that,” she said.
“You’ve got to stay positive, you’ve got to have your focus on that – that’s what we’re all here for at the end of the day.”
With designers expected to produce two tough courses for the final rounds, Tops-Alexander said the day’s rest would help her horse.
“He was a little more tired than he has done but that’s normal, it’s the fourth day of jumping now – he put in a great round,” Tops-Alexander said.
“It’s all about the horse trusting you, the horse believing you. The horses are so sensitive and got amazing instinct – he knows me.”
Hargreaves thought her competition was over on Monday after she picked up a one-point time penalty to go with her four-point penalty for a knocked rail.
“I think that my time fault will cost me the next round for sure,” Hargreaves said after her ride on Monday, when three-quarters of the field still had to compete.
“They will take the equal 12s maybe and that time fault will put me out of it so that time fault’s extremely disappointing.”
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Stand out: Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander on Itot Du Chateau competes in the second individual showjumping qualifier.
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