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Tribute Horse Seminar


By Tommy Brannon

On March 17, 2015 R & J Feed Supply in Jackson, TN sponsored a horse nutrition seminar and dinner at Paul Latham’s Bar B Que in Jackson.  The guest speaker was Daniel J. Burke, Ph.D., Director of Equine Nutrition for Tribute Equine Nutrition/ Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. The $5 registration fee went to support Redemption Road Animal Rescue in Jackson, TN. In addition, the proof of purchase sticker on each bag of Tribute feed, when redeemed at R & J, donates 25¢ to Redemption Road Rescue, Ginger Kemp owner of R&J told the participants.      

Dr. Burke’s presentation was “What Your Horse’s Body Tells You About Your Nutrition Program.” He told the audience, “It’s not just about protein, fat, and fiber levels anymore.” He said all Tribute horse feeds are milled in a single plant for consistency, and in a separate section from other animal feeds, so that there is no cross contamination of ingredients that benefit some species but are harmful to others. He showed photos of the mill, emphasizing the separate section where horse feeds are produced.

He told the audience that sometimes feed labels are not what they seem. He compared “fixed” vs. “least cost” feed formulations. He explained what the terms on the list of ingredients can mean. For example, some feeds list animal protein, but that may come from ground chicken feathers. Milk products should only be used in feed for foals. Wheat meal is sticky and is used as a binder, but too much is bad for horses. Beet pulp may be listed as a byproduct, but is good for horses. Ground oat hulls may take up space and add weight to the feed, but are not digestible. That is why crimped oats are better digested than whole oats. Feed should have the optimal amount of organic minerals so they are more readily absorbed. Some minerals, such as selenium, which can be toxic in too high a concentration, have to be measured precisely. This is one of the reasons that Tribute horse feed is made with high tech equipment.

Dr. Burke said that nutrient recommendations for horse feed is published in the National Research Council Nutritional Requirements for Horses 2007 (NRC 2007). The NRC requirements are stated in specific amounts rather than percentages of volume. They also reflect a total diet which includes both forage and, concentrates (grain). For additional nutrient information, Kalmbach works with several universities in studies for equine nutrition. “Anyone who recommends a supplement without analyzing your hay is not correct. Hay in this area is copper and zinc deficient and can vary from one cutting to the next,” Burke said.

Dr. Burke introduced the Nutritional Wellness System, complete with illustrated handouts. This system takes the Henneke Body Conditioning Score System a step further. The Body Condition Score, of which most horse owners are familiar, rates a horses body condition 1 through 10, with 1 being emaciated  and 10 extremely fat. This is scoring system is determined visually. The Nutritional Wellness System starts with the Body Conditioning Score to determine caloric needs, but then measures the presence of fat deposits over the crest of the neck, on either side of the tailhead, and behind the shoulder blade to determine metabolic issues, such as insulin resistance, then it considers the topline of the horse to indicate amino acid status. This wellness system separates the caloric requirements from the non-caloric nutrient requirements, such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It addresses the correct amount and source of calories for a particular horse. Tribute feed can help individual horse owners determine a feeding program for specific horses using the Nutritional Wellness System.

About the speaker: Dr. Dan Burke received his B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois and his M.S. in equine reproductive physiology from Texas A&M University. He earned a PhD in Equine Nutrition/Exercise Physiology from the University of Illinois where he performed the initial research leading to the use of higher fat diets in horses.
At Kalmbach, Dr. Burke is the author of numerous scientific publications and he lectures extensively to professional and lay audiences alike. Dr. Burke recently acted as Editor for the Equine Nutrition Chapter in the publication and website “Clinical Veterinary Advisor = The Horse.” He has presented equine nutrition seminars approved for continuing education credit for veterinarians in numerous states, including three seminars at the Midwest Veterinary Conference in Columbus, Ohio. He has spoken at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, the Equine Affair, The Ohio State Veterinary College Breeding Management Seminar and the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers Association. Dr. Burke has bred, raised and trained horses for 30 years – he has a high level of expertise combined with over 25 years of practical experience.

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