Stallion Feature – Feeding a Stallion with Lara Dyson
#EverythingHorseMagazine – Stallion Feature – Horse Health
In this, the first of our two part Stallion feature for February, we look at feeding a stallion with Alltech brand ambassador and Cyden Dressage owner Lara Dyson. Here, Lara provides her thoughts on feeding for optimum fertility, nutritional requirements and the importance of good forage.
Feeding a Stallion
For optimum fertility the stallion needs to be in good overall health and fed a well-balanced nutritious diet, to maintain condition. Going in to the breeding season, if he is too fat he will be lacking in energy but too lean will mean he does not have the necessary reserve to meet the demands of stud duties.
Many stallions combine competing with their stud duties placing extra demand on their energy levels and in the case of the Cyden Stallions, they are also part of the family, living side by side with other horses and ponies meaning their temperaments are crucial to a harmonious life on the yard.
Outside of the breeding season a stallion will have the same nutritional requirements as any other mare or gelding, however they may hold condition slightly better.
Good nutrition has been shown to play an important role in fertility and sperm quality. Protein is vital for all body tissues, including reproductive organs, so most stud feeds will provide elevated levels. Zinc is essential for mobility and viability of sperm, as is omega 3 fatty acid, which also plays a role in sperm counts, making these imperative to a successful mating.
Selenium is probably the most influential of all the minerals when it comes to antioxidants, and is vital for sperm formation.
As with any horses diet, good quality forage should always form the basis of the diet to ensure the health of the digestive system and reduce the risk of ulcers. Forage should be fed ad lib, helping to prevent boredom and vices during periods when the stallion has to be stabled.
By Lara’s own admission all three Cyden Stallions love their food.
Lara said of her boys’ appetites: “I am very lucky that neither Bodyguard nor Amigo go off their food during the covering season and they are both good doers, I never struggle to get weight on them or off them by adjusting their rations.
“I balance their feed depending upon whether they are covering or in ridden work. They both have very chilled out temperaments and get all the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need.
“I feed Lifeforce Elite from Alltech and Baileys Horse Feeds and meet with a nutritionist at least six times a year to ensure the nutritional needs of all the horses on the yard are being met.”
The feeding routine on the yard changes depending upon the time of year, with Lara checking their weight and condition every two to three months. During the summer month’s Bodyguard and Amigo live out 24/7, so are fed smaller meals at 7, 11, 4 and 8pm, as they tend to lose weight when the grazing is poor.
Lifeforce Elite from Alltech is specially designed for competition horses and those faced with stressful situations. It supports a healthy immune system, increases the availability of antioxidants and creates a healthy digestive environment.
Backed by more than 30 years of Alltech’s scientifically proven, fully traceable technologies, Lifeforce Elite contains cutting edge ingredients that fully comply with competition standards, where consistency and safety are a top priority.
A 5kg tub of Lifeforce Elite retails at £120, for a three month supply.
For further information please visit www.lifeforcehorse.co.uk