Computer Programs

Wondering why our Products are not on FeedXL?

The idea of a computer program being able to check out your feeding program for your horse is a great one.

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It CAN be useful when you are feeding a normally functioning horse who is not out on pasture (because the nutrient composition of pasture changes all the time) and who has no health or behavioural issues. However computer programs are not appropriate for the class of horses CHH is helping with, many of whom are ‘not right’ and sometimes have serious health, movement and behavioural issues - where excesses, interactions, different forms of minerals, dynamics and ongoing support, (all explained below) are crucial.

We are often asked so please be advised: here are the reasons why CHH products are not represented on ANY computer feed programme.

Mineral balances are critical to life itself and the computer programme cannot take into account the following aspects:

  1. Interactions, all nutrients require the presence of co-factors (helpers) in order to be able to do their ‘work’. Co-factors might be a specific Vitamin, another mineral or an amino acid. Minerals are also affected by the presence of antagonists – which may be other minerals present in excess which compete for absorption sites or the presence of phytates, nitrates or oxalates all of which effectively ‘rob’ the horse of precious cations in order for them to be excreted.

  2. Excesses are equally as important as Deficiencies. On computer generated reports, nutrients like potassium are often present in significant excess, and this is dismissed ‘as of no concern’. In actual fact it is of serious concern because it competes for absorption with magnesium for instance and interferes with calcium metabolism, just two of the minerals which are at the root of the ‘grass-affected’ issues a great many horses suffer from.

  3. Different forms: Neither can it take into account the difference between inorganic forms of various minerals and the organic forms which are an integral part of our CHH product range.

  4. Dynamics: computer programs cannot take into account the constantly changing seasonal and weather related changes in the horses pasture grass which, when owners have no means of controlling pasture intake cause the need for therapeutic levels/combinations of specific nutrients. The nutrient levels in pasture grass constantly change with the season, weather, fertiliser application or harrowing. Amounts need to be adjusted to suit conditions.

               Pasture grass is the least advised upon aspect of equine nutrition. CHH fully understands this significant proportion of the horse’s diet better than anyone out there and our products are formulated accordingly.      

  1. Support: Feeding horses is just as much of an art as riding itself. It is an integral part of ‘horsemanship’ and about developing an acute awareness of changes in the horse and which therapeutic nutrients are required to assist bringing the horse’s metabolism back to normal.  

  2. CHH seeks to help horse owners so they understand how to manage pasture grass and what to feed their horses no matter what the season or the weather, or which issues the horse may have developed. Then they can make the best possible decisions around feed and environment for their horses well-being going forward.

Broad Spectrum Vs Targeting Deficiencies

In theory it sounds logical to have your horse’s forage analyzed for its mineral content in order to make a supplement containing only the shortfalls.

In reality, it’s not that simple. If you analyse the pasture you have to remember that it changes with the time of day, the season and the weather and the way in which in our bodies absorb and process nutrients — is a much bigger puzzle than identifying shortfalls.

No mineral or nutrient works alone: they interact, join forces, cancel each other out (have antagonists), and compete for position.

Minerals are basically at war with each other unless they are in the right ratios. This is the job of various glands which secrete the hormones that make this happen. So our goal when feeding horses is to keep these and all aspects of his metabolism functioning as well as they possibly can. We need to minimize the presence of antagonists like nitrates and competitors like excess potassium. Balancing minerals is as much about taking some things out as adding things in.

The horse’s staple diet which consists of his available forage, has the biggest influence on his ability to maintain normal function. The common practice of keeping horses on short, green grass 24/7 exposes them to serious antagonists which make calculations of mineral requirements impossible.

For example the presence of clover in the pasture means there will be significant levels of ‘nitrates’ in the forage, as will pasture that has been harrowed repeatedly or fertilized with nitrogen (urea). Whilst cattle have the enzymes in the rumen to make good use of this nitrogen, horses do not. Instead the horse will use up calcium and magnesium in his efforts to excrete them.

Other examples of antagonists are phytates (in grains), oxalates (in kikuyu grass), soil clay toxin-binders, tannins, antacids (most anti-ulcer products). All throw a spanner in the mathematical works.

Then there are the ‘Helpers’ or ‘co-factors’ which need to be present in order for the mineral to become bioavailable and useful. These include other minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. There is no point in feeding minerals at all if their cofactors aren’t also present.

Believe me it is inevitable that if you delve deeply enough into how minerals actually work, you will end up with a broad spectrum product. What happens is you find out that Mineral X needs the co-factor of Vitamin Y so you include that, then when you are researching the next mineral you discover that it needs Co-Factor W so you add that.
By the time you’ve finished you have a high spec broad spectrum supplement like Premium NZ Horse Minerals and Premium MVA (Minerals, Vitamins & Amino Acids), for NZ/UK and Supreme +ShipShape for Australia)

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