The challenge of providing chew time for those with poor dentition
The number of enquiries regarding poor dentition and how to use hay replacers to the Dengie Feedline has increased significantly in recent years. In 2020 there were 5 times more enquiries regarding hay replacers than in 2015 and the winter months are when enquiries peak each year. Interestingly it’s not just older horses that present a challenge, dental issues can be seen in younger horse’s too.
Alicia Wilkinson’s event horse Perfect Timing II (Pooh) lost a lot of weight and was ultimately diagnosed with diastemas that had reduced her ability to chew long length forage. Along with dental work, a change of forage was required to ensure she received sufficient fibre in her ration. Although Pooh is now able to manage a small amount of steamed hay, she also has Dengie Grass Pellets and Alfa-Beet soaked to a mash, on recommendation of Claire Akers Dengie’s Performance Horse Nutritionist, to partially replace her forage. Pooh went on to complete at various International Horse Trials including Tattersalls, Blenheim, and Burgham on this ration, so clearly using a forage replacer is no bar to health and performance. “Providing digestible fibre in a form that Pooh can manage has enabled her to compete at a high level and fulfil her eventing career” explains Claire.
This was one of the reasons that we focussed on alternatives to hay at BEVA in 2021. One of the few feed companies to attend BEVA this year, we highlighted the different formats of fibre available for horses with poor dentition, focussing on Alfa-Beet which can be soaked to a soft mash before feeding. Dengie ran a fun competition on their stand for delegates to guess how many Alfa-Beet pellets were in a jar, primarily to get people thinking about the difference in volume before and after soaking. There were some very scientific approaches to guessing the number of pellets with some resorting to calculators to do the maths, but the eventual winner was Rosina Lillywhite, Clinic Nurse Manager and Head of Centre at Liphook Equine Hospital, who was closest
with her guess of 775 – there were actually 760 pellets in the jar so she was very close! Dengie’s Performance Horse Nutritionist Claire Akers delivered a beautiful hamper of goodies from Fortnum and Mason to Rosina.