Category Archives: Health

Hoffmans Feed – The New Kid in Town

hoffmans

There was a time during my consulting career, that I had decided to keep “feed” at an arms length.  Having been on the front line since graduation, and struggling to find satisfaction in trying to prove one brand over another, I changed my focus to an area where I felt I was truly free to help clients.  Feed was in my periphery, but I was happy to remove it as a sole priority.

For owners, it is overwhelming at times to consider all of the feeding options available across the province.  However, when one break them down, the feeds that are available are actually pretty similar.  Using the same handful of ingredients (soy, corn, midds, hulls, alfalfa), in different proportions, and with different vitamin mineral premixes, the feed companies have carved out “lines” based on nutritional needs for different ages and activity levels.

oat-hulls wheat-middswww

From company to company it’s much the same.  I’m sure many are not strangers to the comparison charts that come out, comparing each company’s senior, development, performance etc. products.  All slightly varying, but ingredient wise, much the same.  Have you ever heard a company consultant compare a feed in their line to a feed that you are already feeding  – but with one more bell or whistle – as a selling point?  I”m sure most have.

Making it even harder to choose, each line has strategic testimonials and endorsements to tantalize the taste buds, as a means of being “different”.

So when a colleague came to me in August, asking if I would stock the Hoffmans line, my first reaction wasn’t overly enthousiastic.  After a chat, I decided to stock a few bags of the ones she was sure would move, with no expectations.

At first, I didn’t pay it much attention.  Then I started to hear bits and pieces about the line.   How it was different, why it was different – and then I realized it really was different.  Much different.  I was getting calls from owners who had to have the feed, who had seen it work and who loved the ingredient list (which is available at www.hoffmanshorseproducts).

So why is it different?

As you look through the feed line, you’ll notice that you really can’t compare it to any feeds currently on the Ontario market.  With innovative ingredients not easily available to Ontario manufacturers, horses systems are responding differently to the nutritional density, digestibility and composition.  Rice bran, malt sprouts, canola, peas, and steel cut flax to name a few.

Many of the formulations are grain free, with added amino acids, yeast, micro AND macro nutrients not typically found in feeds on the market.  Because of the ingredient spectrum, Hoffmans has built a line that has lower NSC and higher digestibility than many of the typical Ontario ingredients allow for in other lines.

Keeping it simple, they have 11 feeds within the line.  Developer for young horses, Maintenance for easy keepers, Elite and Texturized for performance, Senior for the elderly, an IR option, a weight builder for those in high levels of exercise, some treats and Hay Saver chunks, and the infamous Hoffmans mineral.

aaaabag_pro-fat

The trademark Hoffmans mineral, familiar to owners, trainers, breeders and competitors across Canada is one of utmost quality at a great price.  The quality of work that has gone into creating a line of feed to add to the Hoffmans brand is no different.

I am proud to have the opportunity to add the Hoffmans line to my inventory, and I am thoroughly enjoying working with the Hoffmans team to service Southwestern Ontario.

If you have any questions, or- inquiries about distribution areas, please do not hesitate to contact The Figure Seven |  1-855-699-0303  |   jen@thefigureseven.ca  |  www.thefigurseven.ca

 

 

Digestive Support II – Yeast and the Farting Horse

horse fart

When you look at the ingredient list of many feeds and digestive supplements, you will see some sort of yeast inclusion.  Why is this?  How beneficial is it, and when do you need it?

The digestive tract is full of components and organisms that help the horse break down, digest, and uptake nutrients.  Yeast is a microscopic fungus that grows on plant sugars and certain cultures can enhance the activity of good (beneficial) hind-gut activity in your horse.  Not to be mistaken for curing hind gut issues, just enhancing proper activity.

Yeasts are high in B-Complex vitamins, and food yeasts are 40-55% protein and contain all the essential amino acids for complete protein utilization. Brewer’s yeast and distiller’s grains can be incorporated into equine diets as a means of increasing protein values.

Yeast improves utilization of feed and inhibition of pathogenic organisms. The yeast saccharomyces has similar benefits to probiotic bacteria and has been shown to reduce lactate and acidity in grain-fed horses.

Research indicates horses who consume large amounts of grain can enjoy improved fiber digestion when also fed yeast probiotics.

Another yeast, aspergillus oryza (also well known as the source for many extremely beneficial digestive enzymes), is often given as a prebiotic and a probiotic. It actually produces lactic acid (the exact opposite of saccharomyces), and provides a source of food for many beneficial bacteria.

So, where does the farting come in?

When fungi die off, flatulence increases.  Many of us pay close attention to changes in flatulence as it can indicate a gas build up and need for concern in certain situations such as colic.  When we see scenarios where the fungi may have been compromised, we need to prioritize replacing the fungi and building up a new level of support.

What causes the fungi to die off?  There are many things that can disrupt the natural flora in the digestive tract.  Things like stress, shipping, feed changes, high sugar feeds, hormone imbalances, antibiotic treatments, and worming to name a few.

So how important is it to purchase a digestive supplement with a yeast component in it?  If you have a horse that stresses, had changes in bowel movement frequency/consistency, travels a lot, or has had incidences of colic, it can be extremely beneficial.

Be careful.  There are many feeds out there that use added yeast as a selling feature, but very rarely do you see any of them list actual levels of inclusion for the yeast.  Paying extra for this potential gimmick leaves many disappointed with the advertised results.  Using a supplement with a listed level of yeast additive is always the best way to ensure your horse has the help it may need to keep a happy digestive tract.

If you have questions on finding the right digestive supplement for your horse, contact us at www.thefigureseven.ca

 

Digestive Support – what do all of those ingredients mean??

dig

As with many supplements, it is so hard to compare one to the other based on a difference in amount and list of ingredients.

Supplement A has Ingredients XYZ.  Supplement B has ingredients YXA.  Supplement C has ingredients ZAB

So how do you determine which ingredients are the ones you want, and what levels are worthwhile for inclusion?

Too many times I’ve heard industry reps bragging about their level of ingredient A vs. the competitors level of ingredient A.  Depending on the ingredient, a difference of 100mg isn’t going to make or break one supplement over the other, and doesn’t justify a significant price gap.

So, over the course of the next few blogs, I would like to look at a few important digestive supplement ingredients and how they function in order to determine their value in a supplement.

Lets assume we are looking at a horse that may not have ulcers, but has possibly had them in the past and may be prone to relapse or have sub-clinical incidences.  This is a fairly common scenario.

Beta Glucans         beta

According to Wikipedia: β-glucans are a diverse group of molecules that can vary with respect to molecular mass, solubility, viscosity, and three-dimensional configuration.

Oats are a rich source of the water-soluble fibre (1,3/1,4) β-glucan, and its effects on health have been extensively studied the last 30 years. Glucans can be highly concentrated in different types of oat brans.

The differences between β-glucan linkages and chemical structure are significant in regards to solubility, mode of action, and overall biological activity.  So, not all beta glucans are alike (just to confuse matters more).

In some cases, Beta-1,3-D-glucan is taken and purified from common baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).  However, Frank Jordan, a Beta Glucan Expert states:

In its most effective form, Beta glucan is extracted from the yeast cell wall (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) of Baker’s yeast as Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, as a purified isolate with harmful yeast proteins removed and a process that prevents reaggregation, or clumping after exposure to water in the digestive sequence.”

This is especially important as I have also heard sales reps imply that their beta glucan components come from the yeast in the supplement. Unless it is extracted, the beta glucan in the yeast component is non admissible.

How do beta glucans work?  James J Gromley of Smooth Run Equine paints an interesting and precise picture on Beta Glucan activity.

“The immune “connection” comes into play when we realize that there is a specific receptor site on a very important immune cell called a macrophage.  When Beta-1, 3-D-glucan attaches to the receptor site on the macrophage this immune cell is then “activated” allowing it to go about its business of attacking and destroying invading organisms.”

 “Macrophages participate in reducing inflammation and in the healing of tissues following injury.  The role of macrophages in inflammation is complex, involving the release of molecules that regulate activity of connective tissue cells.  In addition, macrophages secrete angiogenesis factors, that is, factors that bring on the development and growth of new blood vessels.  The same molecules promote growth of endothelial tissue and smooth muscle tissue.  Reducing the number of macrophages in tissues results in poor wound healing.”

So one can see how this ingredient would be an important inclusion in a digestive support supplement for horses prone to ulcers.  Now, what levels are significant?

Any level over 300mg has been shown to be beneficial in the diet.

Next, we will look at the importance of L-Glutamine, and L-Threonine in digestive support and healing.

For more information or a free consultation or a list of available supplements containing Beta Glucans, contact

The Figure Seven or jen@thefigureseven.ca

 

Spring Training – Looking back to move forward

polo

Although the forecast is still pretty chilly for the next couple weeks, many of us are getting the itch.  A little bit of sunshine does that to a person.  Spring is somewhere in the air!  It’s faint but we are sure it’s there.  Time to ramp up and get into high gear preparing for the upcoming show season.

If you are needing a check list, consider the following when hitting the work ring a little harder in the next few weeks.

Feed

This winter was a long and cold one.  Many horses lost more condition than usual simply because they needed more energy than usual just to keep warm.  Take a good look at your horses condition and weight allowing you to evaluate their necessity to put on a few pounds or not.  Making a slight feed increase to increase calories can be proactive in your horse dropping weight more rapidly with increased work.  If you aren’t sure whether you are doing a proper evaluation,  We do free consults, and are experienced in feeds.  There is a contact form at the bottom of this post.

Condition

Take a minute to consider the condition your horse is in yyyycompared to coming out of the show season last year.  Were you happy with their condition last year?  How far off are they this year and how long will it take to get that condition back?  Looking back to look ahead will help you identify where you might need any changes in your program this year.  Whether it be stamina, muscle, coat or hoof condition, The Figure Seven has what you need to keep your horse in tip top shape this year.

Muscle Builders

These typically take 2 to 3 months to show much for muscleresults, so if you are looking for something to tone your horse out, now is the time to start.  There are so many “Body Building” supplements on the market and with such a long time to see results, it’s one of the hardest supplements to choose.  New to the Canadian Market is Muscle Tone from the already popular “Finish Line” collection of supplements.  Used by many top of the line, south of the border trainers, we are extremely happy to add it to our inventory.

Coat Conditioners

While the UV index isn’t all that high quite yet, if your horse spends time uncovered outside, it’s not too early to start thinking about a coat colour protectant.  Fed on a daily basis, coat conditioners and protectants ensure you have a glossy coat for your FIRST and last show of the season.  Nu Image and Nu Image Dark Horse have been used by show men for years with incredible success.

Hoof Conditioners

The common phrase “no hoof no horse” couldn’t be more true with the upcoming muddy season we are about to experience.  Abscesses won’t be uncommon and getting the healthiest hoof possible will put you help ensure you don’t have lay up time this spring.  Grand Meadows Grand Hoof is one of the top hoof supplements in it’s class, and with a pelleted form, has incredible palatability.

Supplement Marketing – Buyer Beware

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The other day I had a few minutes while visiting a local equine supply store, so I thought I would browse the supplement isle.  It never hurts to see what everyone else is selling, find a few new products, and make sure our pricing is competitive.

On a large display along the back, I came across a fairly popular supplement line, and noticed they had some new labelling and a few names I hadn’t heard of yet.  Checking out the labels, I was quite impressed.  Now, had I been a regular customer looking for a good deal, I probably would have fell hook line and sinker for their pretty label claims on value for the product.

On the top of the 1 kg (1000g) pail I picked up – which ended up being a respiratory aid – it said “100 day supply” and “$0.57 per day!”

At first I thought Wow, great deal.  I need to check this out!

I turned to the side label which read:

IMG_00001770_edit

So, there is a 10g scoop enclosed.  If a horse was fed 1 scoop per day, this would indeed be a 100 day supply, and cost $0.57/day.  However, nowhere do I see a single scoop dosage in the feeding directions.

Assuming the average horse would be in the 1000lb range, we are talking 3 scoops per day.  Well that changes things!  Now this $57.00 pail becomes a 33 day supply, at $1.71 per day.

Only feeding an 850lb horse?  That makes it a 50 day supply for $1.14 per day.

Unfortunately, this deception was a common thread throughout the newer supplements in the same line.  Advertising that the container would last so many days, and cost x amount per day, but those figures didn’t coincide with the feeding directions on the side.

I suppose nothing is free of the dishonesty that comes with marketers trying to make a buck, so like everything else, it’s up to the consumer to be aware of what they are buying, check and double check.

Here at The Figure Seven, we inform our customers what the exact dosage is they are purchasing, and the exact price per day they pay for that dosage.  30 days lasts 30 days, no gimmicks, no false marketing.

To get your exact dose at a precise price, no hidden directions, visit us at The Figure Seven

 

Prebiotic or Probiotic – when to use and how

horse winter

This is a nice follow up to the flu season “nanosill” post as digestive issues typically correspond with sickness or “stress”.

While many owners typically use either a prebiotic, or probiotic during the show season (or sometimes both), it’s important to understand how each one works and when it is needed.

Also keeping in mind that foaling season being just around the corner, and the importance of keeping everyone digestively happy pre and post parturition.

The digestive microbial population is made up of several hundred different types and strains of organisms. The numbers and ratios are constantly shifting as the horse eats and drinks, but a healthy balance is usually maintained. Illness, modifications to feed or exercise schedule, or any other kind of stress can cause a large enough change in the intestinal environment to allow one type of microbe to multiply quickly or another type to decline in numbers.

The result of these changes may be mild problems such as diarrhea, or more serious conditions such as colic or laminitis.

 Probiotics:

Probiotics are live microbial cultures. They may include bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus faecium, and Bacillus subtilis; fungi such as Aspergillus oryzae; and yeast strains such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Included in a feed mix in powdered or granulated form, probiotics continually introduce beneficial organisms that may be depleted by daily management.

Research with horses indicates that live yeast culture supplementation helps to limit undesirable changes in the intestinal ecosystem, reducing variations in lactic acid concentrations and pH levels after large grain meals. In growing horses, yeast increased the digestibility of ADF, NDF, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Prebiotics:

Prebiotics are substances that support intestinal microorganisms. By providing easily utilized nutrients or creating a favorable environment, prebiotics encourage the growth of a microbial strain that may have been depleted or overwhelmed by a digestive upset. Yeast, a common prebiotic, furnishes amino acids and oligosaccharides that nourish desirable bacteria. There is also evidence that some prebiotics enhance the equine immune system.

There are several supplements on the market that combine both Prebiotic and Probiotic components, and can help keep your horses digestive system running efficiently, and keep them working happy.

To find the supplement that is right for you contact us via email, or phone.

Jen@thefigureseven.ca   |    519-699-0303

Collodial Silver – Flu Season is here!

nose

Living through the flu season with school and daycare aged children at home is no easy task.  Dealing with a bug running through the barn isn’t much different and can sometimes be harder to manage.  You can’t simply keep your horse home to avoid getting sick or getting others sick.

So how do you prevent the flu bug from hitting your horse?  There are a number of immune boosters out there that aim to help the system in the event that they are exposed to viral or bacterial sickness.  There are also antibiotics that can also help depending on the cause of infection.  Otherwise, are we stuck with waiting it out??

Enter stage left – Colloids

In the European horse world, which is extremely strict when it comes to administering anything to your competing horse, colloidal silver has been used to heal everything from respiratory infections, to skin abrasions.  It is capable of killing several viral and bacterial strains that are untouchable by other methods of cure.

Colloidal Gold has long been used to increase mental acuity, improving calmness, manage inflammation – specifically in the joints, and treat skin conditions.

After a great deal of research, The Figure Seven is happy to announce an addition to our already great lines of supplement. Nanosill is a combination of colloidal silver and gold with an endless list of health benefits.

nannosil

To learn more about keeping your herd healthy with Nanosill, visit our info page here.

Wishing everyone a healthy, phlegm free few months!