Go Coconuts – why coconut meal is a valuable feed for horsesACFS2021-06-22T13:13:55-08:00
When it comes to feeds for horses, coconut is probably one of the last things you’d think of. But this “cool” new feed is low in non-structural carbohydrates, high in trainable energy and fiber, and makes feeding simple.
Many so-called “modern” horse feeding practices are compromising the wellness of our equine companions. A lot of horses are now being underworked and overfed with too- rich pasture and grain concentrates. As a result, they sooner or later often suffer from behavioral and metabolic disorders.
Research has shown that many of these disorders are caused by the overfeeding of sugars and starch (non-structural carbohydrates or NSC). It is suggested that feeds containing more than15% NSC can cause increased blood glucose and insulin levels, and that over time the horse can lose sensitivity to insulin, becoming obese and insulin resistant. The NSC content of so- called “cool” feeds varies considerably between available feeds, from 15% to over 45%.
Horses are designed to eat little and often. With our busy lifestyles, it is more convenient for us to feed them twice a day. Using grain-based feeds, this can cause massive spikes in both insulin and glucose, contributing to metabolic chaos. These grain-based feeds not only contain high levels of NSC, but feeding them twice daily exacerbates the problem.
The case for coconut meal.
Feeding coconut to your horse may sound like a surprising concept, but coconut oil is a staple food used in a growing number of health-conscious kitchens around the globe. Coconut oil is extracted from the white endosperm (the white flesh) of the coconut, leaving a feed residue called coconut or copra meal.
Coconut meal is unique as it is the only natural, GM-free, low NSC feed high in trainable energy available in the world. Premium quality coconut meal contains approximately 1,630 cal/lb of digestible energy, 10% oil, only 11% NSC,21% crude protein, and 15% crude fiber. It is not a high oil feed; when fed together with medium quality hay, the combined oil intake is less than 7%. Coconut meal is low in calcium, but that’s usually balanced out from the calcium in your hay/pasture, or with an added trace mineral vitamin mix (we recommend Medicine Bag Complete).
Cool Stance® copra is low in Non Structural Carbohydrate (NSC), while maintaining a high digestible energy content. Research has shown this product, as part of a balanced diet, promotes health and increases energy in horses.