Supplementing for Sales Success

Supplementing for Sales Success
5 July 2017 | Foran Equine

Producing a quality foal for sale helps breeders maximise their return. How do you achieve that quality foal to interest buyers?

Producing a quality foal for sale helps the breeder maximise their return on the foal. But how do you achieve that quality foal that gets buyers interested?

A quality foal has a nice pedigree, good presence, an athletic correct walk, good bone and looks healthy and well-conditioned.

The first eighteen to twenty-four months of a horse’s life are a period of rapid growth. Horses attain two thirds of their bone mineral content by six months of age, along with 84% of their mature height. Obviously, in this period of rapid bone growth and calcification, it is essential that intake of calcium is optimised. The correct calcium to phosphorus intake proportion of 2:1 is essential to bone mineralisation. Lysine is the limiting amino acid in bone growth, meaning bone can only be laid down as long as lysine is available. Correct provision of these nutrients, along with a good diet ensures steady skeletal growth in foals, minimising the risk of bone development problems such as osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). Supplements containing calcium, phosphorus and lysine can ensure these nutritional needs are met and promote good bone formation.

The intensive growth rate of young horses is not just related to their bones. Joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles are also growing rapidly alongside the bones. The strength and integrity of these musculoskeletal structures are also crucial to the future soundness of your foal.

Weaning and sales preparation are times of great stress for foals. This stress can negatively impact their immune system, health or appetite and lead to an increased need for vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin and mineral supplement supplies nutrients such as; B vitamins for energy and protein utilisation, iron for blood formation, vitamin E and selenium as antioxidants, biotin for hoof strength and iodine for metabolism regulation. Together these and other nutrients combine to support the immune system and optimise health.

In copper deficient areas, a foal’s copper stores reduce rapidly after weaning. Copper supplementation can help counteract this. Copper is needed for the growth and formation of bone, ligaments, tendons and hair.

To engage a buyers interest a foal must look well, in this area first impressions count. A healthy glossy coat and bright alert eye should be your foal’s first impression. Addition of oil such as karron oil to your foal’s feed has many benefits, including maintaining a healthy shiny coat. These oils also supply the essential fatty acids Omega 3, 6 and 9, which are well known to support joint health and the immune system.

The key to successfully preparing a foal for sale is to produce a foal that buyers want. While there is no magic formula to producing such a foal, the use of appropriate supplements can help you in your sales success.

References: Principles of Bone Development in Horses. L.A. Lawrence.

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