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Dengie uk favourite horse feedThe 2019 British Equestrian Trade Association National Equestrian Survey has showed that once again Dengie is the UK’s favourite horse feed!

We topped the chart for the most popular horse feed brand purchased by owners for the second consecutive time, increasing our lead from the last survey that took place in 2015.

The survey also revealed a marked increase in horse owners feeding fibre-based diets. Clearly horse owners were in no doubt that Dengie is their favourite horse feed brand.

With full traceability and accountability at the forefront of our manufacturing process, and with crops fully traceable from seed to feed, Dengie are a highly trusted company and known for producing consistent good quality horse feeds that prioritise the horse’s health and have been doing so for over 50 years.

‘We are very proud to be able to say that Dengie is the pioneer of fibre feeding. The benefits of a high fibre diet for horses are now generally accepted by equine nutritionists everywhere as the best and most natural way to feed horses’, said Dengie’s Managing Director Ian Hassard. ‘We offer retailers and horse owners a range of horse feeds that are top quality, fully traceable, produced to a high standard; whilst protecting the environment and operating in a way that ensures a sustainable future. We are delighted that the survey results prove that horse owners buy their favourite Dengie horse feed with total confidence’.

In 2007 Dengie sealed their status as leading fibre horse feed producer when they were awarded HM The Queen’s Royal Warrant. Sustainability is a key requirement for holding a Royal Warrant, which is an on-going process of continual improvement and recognises individuals and companies that operate to the highest standards.

Dengie provides a wide range of fibre feeds that promote health and performance in the horse.

For help and advice on all aspects of feeding the horse or pony call the Dengie Feedline: 01621 841188 or click here to request a personalised diet from our equine nutritionists.

Dengie horse fibre feeds

In 2018 four lucky Horse&Rider readers won a 12-month training bursary from Dengie. As part of their prize, they won lessons with Dengie ambassadors, Hannah Esberger-Hancock and Lucy Jackson. Their horses were also given a nutritional consultation with Dengie’s Performance Horse Nutritionist, Claire Akers. We recently caught up with the lucky winners to find out what they had been up to since we saw them last.

Rebecca Finn and Arty

I have been fortunate enough to have worked, managed and trained on large commercial yards where I have gained a diverse range of skills and experiences with both horses and humans. An opportunity recently arose where my husband and I could afford to live in a small cottage with its own private equestrian facilities, so we took the plunge and I managed to realise a childhood dream. My horses, Arty and Ben, and an old friends pony, Frodo, are very settled and I don’t think I will tire of being able to see the stables from my bedroom window! With the move and the various obligations that entails, competing has taken a back seat for the first half of this year.

Ben is 24-years-old so is mostly just hero worshiped nowadays. I have used the time with Arty to improve his training and fitness. Standing at 17.2hh with a definite “joie de vivre” I feel this has been time used wisely. Over winter, following the advice from the helpful Dengie nutrition team, I introduced Performance+ Balancer into the horses diet complementing their staple Alfa-A Molasses Free and Grass Pellets. Ben maintained a youthful glow right through to spring and Arty, who can eat like, well, a horse(!) kept his condition and his sanity with a high-quality fibre based diet.

I was reminded recently of how precarious our sport can be. Arty and I were enjoying a canter along a familiar track in the morning sun when the ground gave way to a badger set causing us both to fall. I am very thankful that Arty was unharmed, a loose shoe and a muddy saddle is very acceptable. I sustained a fractured hand, concussion and a fat lip. Whilst I am mostly recovered I can still feel some effects of concussion four weeks later. It has reminded me of the importance of correct equipment. Horse riding is outrageous enough without taking unnecessary risks, even if it is very hot and your hair is fabulous!

I have managed to get out to some showjumping shows and we had a great weekend at the David Broome Event Centre for the Welsh Masters. I plan to spend the summer going showjumping to gain double clears for 2020 and intend to venture back into eventing. I have teaching planned including Pony Club camps which are always great fun. I am also entering the final year of my degree at Moreton Morrell in Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation so attention will be directed towards reading around my dissertation.

I look forward to what the rest of the year has in store and hope to continue with happy horses and developing myself so I can aid their performance.

Eileen Beach and Enzo

I recently took Enzo to the British Showjumping’s Bexhill Horse Show where he went double clear in both his classes coming 4th and 5th –  qualifying for the second rounds! Qualified riders compete in the National Amateur Second rounds with the top 12 qualifying directly for the Championships and securing a ticket to the final at Aintree Equestrian Centre at the end of the year. I also recently completed a 100 mile ride over the whole of the south downs way from Winchester to Eastbourne with my cousin (Tara Millen) with our two amazing horses Pride my Cob x ID and Rupert my cousin’s New Forest x pony. We had the most incredible time we stayed at a B&B called Shotgun Cottage the first night with the horses in a paddock, the next night was Gumber Bothy were we stayed in cabins and the horses in a big barn, then the final night was Claylands Barn were we camped and the horses stayed in a paddock. Mum picked us up on the last night at Eastbourne, the horses loved it! We are now planning on doing another long distance ride in the Autumn which we will do for charity.

I also took Mo, my 6-year-old,  to Heathfield Horse Show, where she came first. Enzo is entered for the 1m05 and newcomers at the South of England show – wish us luck!

Tessa Ward and Finley

Finley is nearing the end of 2 months box rest following an injury and will be moving into a small paddock as the next stage in his rehab. We don’t really know what the long term prognosis is yet until we (hopefully) start working him again. He may well need to take a step down from some activities. As he isn’t in work at the moment we’ve swapped his ration from Alfa-A Molasses Free to Alfa-A Lite plus balancer and soaked hay. He’s in good spirits and managed to stay at a good weight thanks to his Dengie diet!

Click here to watch the video of the bursary winners lessons with Lucy and Hannah.

We are proud to announce that we have introduced carbon-neutral packaging for the first time. Following extensive trials and development work over the last few years, the sustainable raw material used to make the packaging is derived from sugar cane and has been certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust; the new packaging is still fully recyclable (LDPE 4). The first product to feature the new packaging material will be Dengie Hi-Fi Original.

“We are delighted to have been able to take this step” commented Katie Williams, Dengie Technical & Product Development Manager. “Our ethos is to produce sustainable feeds. The alfalfa and grass we grow tick that box and so recent efforts have focused on the packaging. We can’t move away from plastic packaging completely due to the nature of the ingredients we use and so it has been important to identify packaging that is as environmentally friendly as possible. This is a huge step in the right direction.”

The packaging will also break down quicker than traditional plastic packaging. “We have to be careful not to make our packaging too bio-degradable as we have a long shelf life on products and so the packaging has to be robust for many months!” added Katie. “It’s no good making packaging more bio-degradable if it results in more feed waste as that is the least environmentally friendly thing we can do!”

Look out for Carbon Neutral logos on the back of the new Dengie Hi-Fi Original pack from June 2019! Before recycling we advise you check with your local council if they accept LDPE 4 packaging.

For help and advice on all aspects of feeding call the Dengie Feedline: 01621 841188 or fill out our feed advice form.

What is Dengie packaging made from?

If you’re a user of Dengie Horse Feeds then you will know that we use plastic to package our horse feeds. Over the last 5 to 10 years we have significantly reduced the amount of plastic we use in each horse feed bag by reducing the thickness, but there obviously comes a point at which we can’t go any thinner, as the feed bag simply fails to provide the level of protection our horse feeds require.

What are the alternatives to plastic packaging?

We have therefore investigated alternative packaging materials, one of which is compostable packaging, but it is not as straightforward as it might first appear.

Compostable packaging comes from starch sources, such as potato as well as cellulose. The rate at which it biodegrades depends on the thickness of the packaging and the environmental conditions, but it is nowhere near as strong as the plastic we use currently for our packaging so it would have to be thicker or we increase the risk of additional waste through damages.

The most significant challenge though, is that compostable packaging will start to decompose as soon as it is exposed to the air and so there would be virtually no shelf life on the product. Given the seasonality of feeding horses, it would be difficult for most horse feed manufacturers to make to order in the winter months and not need to store product for a few weeks at least.

There is also an additional cost to the compostable packaging – probably amounting to around 50p a bag. Whilst many people would be willing to pay this for the benefit of being able to compost the packaging, not everyone could afford this increase, including businesses such as riding schools that buy large quantities of feed, which is something we have to consider.

In the meantime, please see our top tips on ways you can help to reduce, reuse and recycle your Dengie packaging.

 

How to recycle, re-use or upcycle Dengie packaging

Here are our top tips to help you reduce, reuse and recycle:

Clearly, we can’t change things overnight but your feedback will help us to make decisions about what we do in the future, so click here to contact us please let us know your thoughts!

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a sales professional to work within the Dengie Sales Team in the South East of England.

The role is predominantly key account management, category management and developing retailer’s awareness of the Dengie portfolio through training.

The role is field based, so you will be out visiting retailers and customers daily.  In addition you will be required to visit yards to discuss feed rations as well as holding yard clinics using a portable weighbridge, attend shows and open days/evenings.  The position will involve some weekend/evening work and staying away from home when necessary.

Applications are welcome from other similar field sales environments including Agri or small animal.

The successful candidate will have:

Candidates need to be flexible and self-reliant.  Full product training will be given.  Applicants need to be based within the area and must have a full clean driving licence.

In order to successfully cover this territory, candidates need to reside centrally within the area to be covered.

We offer a competitive remuneration package including a full expensed company vehicle, plus other benefits.

To join our fun and well regarded team, please forward a covering letter and CV detailing current salary level to – emma@equine-careers.co.uk

Please state Equine Careers when applying for this vacancy.

We would like to introduce our newest member of the Dengie Sales Team, Kate Deegan who joins us as the Area Sales Manager for Ireland.

Kate moved to Ireland in 2006 with her husband Paul Deegan where they ran a successful racehorse training business together for 12 years, but now Kate is looking for a new challenge.

“I’m really excited to join the team. Dengie has a wide range of products that are suitable for not just leisure horses, but also the racing market too. I’m looking forward to combining my passions and developing the Irish market for Dengie.” says Kate.

Coming from a farming background and regularly competing at Pony Club, Kate studied at Cirencester gaining a BSC honours in International Agriculture and Equine Business Management. Utilising her degree Kate spent time in New Zealand working on stud farms before returning to the UK to work as a pupil assistant to jump trainers in Lambourn and then as an assistant trainer in Newmarket. In her spare time, Kate now competes in show jumping and partakes in Riding Club activities.

“Dengie are thrilled to have Kate on board. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from her previous positions and will be a great asset to our team.” says Laura Dolphin, National Sales Manager.

 

There is concern regarding a potential forage shortage this winter. Many horse owners ran out of forage before the end of last winter and a dry summer has seen the early use of hay and haylage harvested this year. So if you find yourself short of hay and haylage this winter then what’s the alternative?

Forage Replacers

Not all feeds can be used to replace forage. To fit the bill as an alternative to forage the product must be fibre based with a similar nutritional quality to hay and have low levels of starch. Ideally the product should also encourage plenty of chewing, unless the horse has dental issues in which case a soaked forage replacement is more suited.

If you know forage supply may be an issue then starting by ‘extending’ your forage ration can be a useful way of managing costs and making a gradual transition before a total forage replacement is required. Many of the Dengie horse feeds can in essence be used as partial forage replacers as even Alfa-A Original can be fed up to 3kg daily for a large horse meaning you can reduce your forage by 3kgs per day. This can be particularly useful if forage quality is poor as Alfa-A is much more nutritious than grass forages and contains sufficient energy to reduce reliance on concentrate feeds too.

If you need to completely replace your forage ration then check whether a feed can partially or totally replace the forage ration. In the Dengie range of fibre feeds those that are suitable as complete forage replacers contain a larger proportion of fibre sources other than alfalfa. Hi-Fi Senior for example contains approximately two thirds high temperature dried grasses and one third alfalfa.

Dengie Forage Replacers

Product Energy MJ/kg Digestible EnergySugar %Starch %Max amount per 100kg bodyweightSoaked Feed?Molasses Free?
Hi-Fi Good
Do-er
791.3Ad-libNo
Hi-Fi Lite7.571.5Ad-libNo
Hi-Fi Molasses Free8.52.51.5Up to 1kg*Yes
Hi-Fi Senior8.5101.6Ad-libNo
Grass Pellets10122Ad-libYesYes
Alfa-Beet10.552Up to 1kg*YesYes
Meadow Grass with Herbs11.5122Up to 1kg*Yes

*for specific guidance contact the Feedline

How Much Forage Should a Horse Have?

At minimum all horses and ponies should have 1.5% of their bodyweight on a dry matter basis daily. For a 600kg horse this equates to 9kg of dry matter in a 24 hour period. If your horse is out on reasonably good grass then this will account for part of this daily intake. It is practically impossible to know how much a horse consumes when out at grass and so at best we have to use a rough estimate based on time. For example, assuming the above horse was stabled for 12 hours then we would use at minimum half of the recommended amount. If the horse is not overweight and doesn’t put on weight easily then ideally all forage and forage replacers should be fed ad-lib.

How to Feed a Forage Replacer

One of the first concerns many horse owners have about feeding forage replacers is meal size. It is appropriate to leave large meals of fibre based feeds for your horse to eat just as you would a net of forage. It is only concentrate feeds that provide larger amounts of starch from cereal grains that need to be fed in restricted amounts. Ideally introduce all new feeds and forages into the ration gradually by slowly increasing the amount fed over the period of a couple of weeks.

Forage replacers can’t be fed in a net, but instead should be offered in several rubber trug buckets in the field or stable to encourage foraging activity. Try to increase eating time by dividing the forage replacer up into smaller meals where practical. Intake can also be slowed by the use of very large smooth pebbles, which are too big to be consumed and won’t cause harm, that have to be manipulated out of the way for the horse to eat. Soaked feeds should be made morning for night and vice versa to keep them fresh and any hay replacer not consumed within the day should be discarded.

For feeding advice contact the Dengie Feedline 01621 841188 or complete our feeding advice form.

The Dengie Story

Our commitment to the nutritional care and well-being of horses will always be the main reason you can rely upon Dengie. We grow as many of our own ingredients as possible which keeps our ‘feed miles’ low and provides the best traceability possible – every bag can be traced back to the field it was grown in.

Working with Nature

Alfalfa is a member of the pea and bean family and has deep roots that enable it to access water and minerals deep in the soil. This makes it a very nutritious crop as well as being beneficial for soil structure. Alfalfa is able to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into amino acids in its own tissue and also puts some back into the soil. This means that no additional fertilisers are needed for the alfalfa or the crops that follow in rotation. Alfalfa is left in the ground for three years reducing the tillage of the land which research suggests is beneficial for carbon capture.

Our British grown grass from the fields of Lincolnshire is 100% natural and is free from pesticide residues. The grass is harvested between the months of May and October and dried to produce a consistent, clean source of soft, highly digestible fibre.

No GM raw materials are used in our feeds, making them suitable for use on organic holdings. Since 2013 we have changed to using UK grown rape seed oil rather than soya oil from Brazil. This allowed us to maintain our non GM status and reduce the feed miles of the oil we use.

Every one of our fibre feeds has been developed by our technical team, who select the highest-quality ingredients to meet the specific needs of your horse or pony. Extensive feeding trials ensure that every feed is safe, effective and truly tasty! Our team of nutritionists is on hand to offer sound, practical help and advice so feeding never needs to be confusing or complicated!

 

 

Keeping horses comfortable, at a healthy weight, and working happily are all challenges that face everyone who owns or cares for a horse or pony with ulcers. Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) affects roughly 40% of leisure horses, 60% of competition horses and up to 90% of racehorses.

But a brand new survey commissioned by Dengie, has found that while awareness is high about the key ways to manage horses with ulcers, some of those easy to deliver methods are still not being widely used.

While over half of the respondents who believed their horses suffered with ulcers (67%) had increased their horse’s access to hay or fibre, only 55% were feeding a double handful of fibre shortly before exercise and 38% weren’t avoiding cereals/starch.

“While we fully understand that some EGUS management techniques are not within everyone’s power to deliver, feeding before exercise is quite easy to do, and reducing starch is universally recognised as being essential for managing EGUS and I’d certainly hope to see both of these strategies used more consistently,” says Katie Williams, Technical Manager of Dengie Horse Feeds.

Very nearly half the respondents (49.4%) had found their horse’s ulcer symptoms had recurred, underlining the need to develop an appropriate and effective ongoing management regime for sufferers.

In addition, for one fifth of respondents it was a challenge to find a feed that was palatable to their horse and almost a quarter struggled to keep weight on their horses.

On the plus side, there is high awareness of the fantastic information and advice available from horse feed companies like Dengie Horse Feeds, who can suggest all kinds of possible solutions. “We now have three horse feeds independently assessed and approved by BETA as being suitable for horses and ponies prone to EGUS which underlies our commitment to produce feeds that are as sympathetic to the horse’s digestive system as possible,” adds Katie Williams.

You can view a full analysis of Dengie’s survey findings here

11-year-old budding event rider Maisie Randle has joined the team of Dengie ambassadors.

Maisie started riding when she was 3-years-old and has wanted to be an event rider since the age of about 5. She has been inspired by her Dad, Tim, a former 4* event rider and equine vet, and from visits to Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials where she has been lucky enough to go behind the scenes. Maisie’s ambition is to ride at Badminton and Burghley 4* events and to go one better than her Dad and ride for team GB at the Olympics!

Introducing the ponies!

Maisie currently has 2 ponies, Felix and Chico.

Felix is a 10-year-old 13.2hh coloured gelding who Maisie has produced herself. This year they have been to the Dengie Novice Winter League dressage championships, finished 2nd at Pony Club Area Eventing qualifying for the Regional Championships and finished 4th at the Pony Club Area Novice dressage where she was the youngest competitor to do the Novice test. Maisie is hoping to start doing BE80’s with Felix next year when she is old enough.

Chico is a 14hh 6-year-old bay gelding, warmblood x welsh who Maisie is producing herself. Chico is very talented but also very naughty and a bit too opinionated – he is currently a “work in progress”! He will start doing British Dressage competitions this winter and will also be aimed at BE80’s next year.

Feeding the ponies!

“Felix is fairly easy to feed although he can be prone to weight gain when there is good grazing available!” says Maisie. “At the moment there is not much grass so he is being fed much the same as he would be in the winter. He is currently fed twice a day on a scoop of Dengie Alfa-A Molasses Free, half a scoop of soaked Alfa-Beet and a mug of Dengie Performance+ Balancer. He has plenty of energy for his competition requirements and is looking in good, fit condition.”

“Chico is slightly trickier to feed…..he is prone to tying-up so we avoid any grain based feeds in his diet” says Maisie. “He is also highly strung and sharp when ridden and in the stable. Claire Akers, Dengie’s Performance Horse Nutritionist, suggested we used the Dengie Alfa-A Molasses Free and he does seem to be calmer, particularly in the stable and at competitions. He also hasn’t tied up since. Chico is now on the same diet as Felix with the Alfa-Beet and Dengie Performance+ Balancer.

Both ponies are looking and feeling very well and are on an easy week out in the field – Felix is recovering from a busy week at camp where we had so much fun riding with others. After their week off we will start getting ready for the Regional Champs at the start of September. Chico is having some ‘time out’ to think about all he’s learnt over the past few months and will hopefully come back into work feeling a bit more grown up and ready to do some British Dressage competitions.