Spring grass, as we all know, can lead to health problems such as laminitis and also excitable behaviour. This is because it can contain high levels of non-structural sugars and fructans. Typically, as the diagram shows, this sugar can account for 17-20% of the dry content and potentially up to as much as 30%. The total sugar content of Laminitis Trust-approved Speedi-Beet is significantly lower, at around 5%.
The chart also shows that Speedi-Beet, gram for gram when soaked, has more fibre (cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin) than fresh spring grass. It will supply more of the energy needs of the horse, resulting in a lower intake of the grass.
The greatest risk to laminitics is the first feed of the day where intake is proportionately highest and the risk of overloading the small intestine with sugars is most likely.
Offering a good meal (1.5 – 2.0 kg) of soaked Speedi-Beet before turnout will provide a healthy, low sugar first feed and allow subsequent feeding at a lower rate. The rate of passage is slower and there is more time for the sugars to be absorbed out of the small intestine and this reduces the chance of hindgut malfunction.
Reducing the daily intake of spring grass by avoiding the time of greatest fructans intake (first feed of the day), Speedi-Beet can help reduce the potentially negative effects of spring grass.
Unmolassed, 95% sugar free and approved by the Laminitis Trust, Speedi-Beet is available in 20kg bags, RRP is around £9.90.
For more information contact British Horse Feeds on 01765 680300 or visit www.britishhorsefeeds.com. You can also find British Horse Feeds on Facebook and Twitter.