Frequently asked questions about EndurExtra®
Oftentimes horses have a poor appetite because they don’t feel well. Hard keepers in particular are often fed diets rich in starch and sugar. The horse’s digestive tract has a limited ability to digest these simple carbohydrates, especially in large amounts, so the starches and sugars tend to “pass through” the small intestine (where they are normally absorbed) into the hindgut, causing an imbalance in the microbial population. This imbalance disrupts digestion and makes horses feel bad, causing them to back out of the feed tub. EndurExtra contains energy in the form of fat so you can feed smaller meals and less starch and sugar-laden grains, which will reduce the risk of pass-through carbohydrates causing GI tract imbalances. The direct-fed microbials in EndurExtra also support a healthy hind-gut. When your horse’s digestive tract is healthy he will feel better and be more likely to clean up his feed.
There are two ways that EndurExtra supports weight gain. First, it provides calorie-dense energy in the form of fat. Fat contains 2.25 times as much energy as an equal portion of carbohydrate or protein. Once a horse becomes acclimated to utilizing fat, it is easy for them to digest and absorb it. Secondly, when feeding fat you can reduce the size of a horse’s meal. Smaller meals pass through the digestive tract at a slower rate, which increases digestibility and reduces the risk of digestive upsets. To further support optimal digestibility and hearty appetite, EndurExtra is formulated to contain direct-fed microbials that maintain proper GI tract balance. A healthy GI tract will utilize feed more efficiently, and when horses feel good they are more likely to clean up their feed.
Yes. Fat is considered “cool energy” because it does not cause the hormonal spikes and excitability seen in horses fed high-starch diets. Horses that are hard to manage when being fed high-grain diets may experience a positive change in temperament when calories are provided in the form of fat.
Yes. High-grain diets are known to exacerbate some muscular problems, such as recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER), a form of tying-up. Research has proven that reducing the amount of grain fed to horses with RER and replacing those lost calories with a fat-rich supplement is essential in managing these syndromes. Additional vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the incidence of muscular problems and should be added to the diet as well. EndurExtra is high in fat and rich in vitamin E.
When horses consume feeds that contain high levels of sugar and starch, it results in elevated blood glucose levels and a subsequent increase in insulin in the blood. Over time, continued exposure to such conditions increases a horse’s risk for developing insulin resistance and other metabolic dysfunctions. When energy in the form of fat is used to replace starches and sugars, blood glucose levels remain low, reducing the risk of metabolic syndromes from developing.
Yes, high-fat diets are good for young horses, for many of the same reasons they are good for mature horses. Fat is a concentrated energy source, so you can feed less of it, reducing meal size and decreasing the incidence of grain overload. A high-fat diet will reduce blood glucose levels and ward off metabolic problems. In young, growing horses, diets high in starch and sugar can result in abnormal growth. Young horses fed high-fat and high-fiber diets have a reduced incidence of developmental bone disease.
Actually, grass and hay contain anywhere from 1 to 4 percent fat. Oats, a common grain fed to horses, is 4 to 5 percent fat. A horse can tolerate up to 20 percent of the total diet as fat; however, that much is rarely fed.
Fat conserves energy at the cellular level by sparing glycogen. Glycogen is stored in muscle cells and used to fuel activity. Horses fed high-fat diets conserve glycogen, which allows them to perform for longer periods. Horses using fat as fuel accumulate less lactic acid in their muscles. Lactic acid causes fatigue. Horses that accumulate less lactic acid have increased stamina and will recover faster after exercise is over.
Cool energy has a double meaning. On one hand, fat generates less heat when it is digested so horses on high-fat diets tend to tolerate the heat better when working in hot, humid climates. They physically stay cooler. On the other hand, fats do not cause the hormone spikes that can cause excitability, so horses fed fat tend to stay more cool and calm under pressure. They remain more focused on the job at hand and can be easier to handle.
I find many older horses have trouble maintaining their weight, even when they are essentially healthy. Can EndurExtra help my old guys?
Yes, EndurExtra can help. The capacity of the gastrointestinal tract to absorb nutrients becomes less efficient as horses age. Many older horses are eventually unable to maintain acceptable body condition on a normal grain ration alone. Because the fat in EndurExtra is a concentrated energy source, it will increase calorie consumption and improve body condition without risking grain overload. Small meal size and the direct-fed microbials added to EndurExtra support optimal GI tract health, which facilitates digestion. The more efficient the digestive tract becomes, the more nutrients a horse absorbs from the diet and the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight. If a horse has a healthy digestive tract, he will feel better and eat better too. Older horses often need additional antioxidant support as well. The natural vitamin E found in EndurExtra will help older horses maintain a robust immune system, and protect muscle and nerve cells from the oxidative stress that is part of aging.
During late gestation and lactation, mares need additional calories to support fetal growth, milk production, and maintain a healthy weight. Skinny mares or mares playing “catch-up” have been shown to have lower conception rates. A mare that is in positive energy balance is more likely to conceive and maintain her pregnancy. Natural vitamin E has been shown to reduce oxidative stress that supports increased conception rates.
Mares maintained on high-fat and high-fiber diets had higher levels of omega fatty acids in their milk. These fatty acids are believed to protect foals from developing ulcers. Mares on high-fat and -fiber diets also had higher immunoglobulin levels in their colostrum, insuring passive transfer of immunity to their foals. Additional natural vitamin E also has a positive effect on maintaining a strong immune system in both the mare and foal.
Flaxseed contains essential omega-3 fatty acids. They are considered essential because horses are unable to manufacture them in their bodies; therefore, it is necessary to provide them in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin E cannot be synthesized by the horse; therefore, it is considered an essential nutrient. The best source of vitamin E is fresh green grass; however, the potency of vitamin E declines very quickly once forages are harvested and dried.
Vitamin E requirements vary from situation to situation. Multiple research studies have shown that vitamin E is often deficient in the diets of horses that do not have access to continual grazing on fresh green grass, or those grazing on winter pasture. Performances horses with demanding workloads, growing horses and seniors can be exposed to increased levels of oxidative stress and therefore require higher levels of vitamin E in their diets. Studies reveal that horses challenged by neurological disease benefit from supportive natural vitamin E.
The natural vitamin E found in EndurExtra supplies horses with a highly absorbable and readily available source of natural vitamin E that quickly provides the nutrients necessary to meet their individual needs.