With vitamins and minerals, it’s as much about balance and quality as it is about quantity. Minerals, for example, tend to interact with each other so adding more of one may tie up another making that less available to the horse and, in effect, leading to a deficiency. The balance of vitamins and minerals in all Baileys feeds is based on our interpretation of the latest research and designed to provide the best possible nutrition for the horse.
It’s important not just to supply minerals at optimum levels but also to ensure that they are present in a form that the horse can utilise to the maximum. This is why, across the range, Baileys include chelated minerals, where key minerals are attached to other molecules, like a protein or a simple sugar, so they are readily absorbed by the body and so more available to the horse. The importance of the role of vitamins and minerals in the production of strong healthy youngstock cannot be over emphasised so it’s simple logic to ensure that they can make the most of what they eat.
Selenium is an important mineral which acts as an antioxidant, by helping remove free radicals from the body, as well having roles in fertility and the immune response. With this in mind, it again makes sense to ensure that the selenium which is included in Baileys Racing feeds is as available as possible to the horse which is why we use organic selenium . This is where the selenium is attached to yeast cells and, as such, is more readily absorbed by the body than “conventional” inorganic forms of the mineral.
Like Selenium, Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties and is also involved in immunity and fertility. Baileys use a combination of natural and synthetic sources to ensure that this important vitamin is highly bio-available so that the horse can absorb as much as possible from the feed.
The greater the demands placed on the body, such as those of ongoing training and racing, the greater the need for antioxidants to counteract free radicals produced in the horse’s body. Baileys Racing feeds are formulated to provide levels of antioxidant support to match the increased requirements of horses in training and, through the use of sophisticated bio-available ingredients, to ensure that these antioxidants are readily absorbed and utilised.
This mineral plays an important role in muscle function and the structural integrity of bone as well as certain enzymatic reactions and the transmission of nerve impulses. As levels of this, and other minerals, are declining in today’s pasture and forages, Baileys ensure that all their feeds are formulated to account for this and their importance to the health of the horse.
Since dietary protein supplies the building blocks for all body tissues, it is of particular importance in feeds for horses in training, some of whom are still growing as well as needing to gain strength and fitness. Protein is made up of component molecules called amino acids, some of which can be manufactured within the body and some which must be provided in the diet and are known as “essential”. The protein sources used in Baileys Racing feeds are chosen to supply all these essential amino acids and ensure that body tissues, like muscle and bone, are able to develop and grow using the best quality building blocks.
This short chain fructo-oligosaccharide (scFOS) acts as food source that only the beneficial bacteria in the horse’s gut can use thus allowing them to flourish at the expense of potentially pathogenic species. Not only do these beneficial gut microbes help with the digestion and fermentation of fibre in the hindgut, some produce essential B vitamins for the horse, whilst others play a role in the body’s immune response.
This live yeast strain is approved for inclusion in animal feedstuffs and is proven to stimulate fibre-digesting bacteria resulting in improved fibre digestion as well improved utilisation of the micronutrients it supplies. Research has also shown that foals from supplemented mares retain more nitrogen (an important component of protein/amino acids), calcium and phosphorus than those from non-supplemented mares and also grow faster during their first four weeks of life (Ref 1).
The inclusion of Acti-Saf and Digest Plus in certain Baileys feeds supports therefore, not only improved gut efficiency and digestion but also overall health and well-being as well as bringing additional benefits to the growing youngster.
Oils are comprised of fatty acids, of which Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are particularly physiologically important and, being “essential”, must be supplied in a horse’s diet. These fatty acids have different functions within the body, with Omega 3 fatty acids being metabolised to anti-inflammatory compounds which help reduce pain and swelling. Omega 6 fatty acids, on the other hand, have a role in the immune response and are pro-inflammatory to encourage the body’s reaction to infection.
The body requires a balance of these two fatty acid groups and an imbalance can lead to an altered physiological state so, for this reason, levels supplied in Baileys feeds are calculated to help maintain this balance. Soya is a good source of Omega 6 fatty acids and linseed is rich in Omega 3s; both are included in Baileys Outshine high oil supplement which is included in several mixes to supply an elevated oil content.