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By Eleanor Blazer Copyright @ 2012


It’s alive!! (Sometimes.) Yeast is a live microorganism. There are more than 1,500 types of

Beneficial yeast is used to make bread, alcoholic beverages, nutritional supplements and as an ingredient in probi- otics (products used to support digestive health). Other types of yeast can cause infection, are used in scientific research and in the production of ethanol. The most common yeast used in horse diet supplementation is saccha- romyces cerevisiae. The primary reason horses are fed yeast is to increase vitamin B intake, and some believe yeast aids equine digestion

low fiber diets were fed active s. cerevisi- ae. This diet is not recommended for horses and should be avoided. It makes more sense to eliminate the high starch feeds and increase the fiber portion of the diet

But the horse supplement business is huge and horse owners love to part with their money.

Brewer’s yeast contains s. cerevisiae. It is a by-product of making beer. The active cultures are killed during the brew- ing process. Brewer’s yeast is a good source of B vitamins. It also contains high levels of protein, selenium and chromium. It will not aid in the digestion and utilization of nutrients.

Limited studies, however, to deter- mine if saccharomyces cerevisiae can improve the utilization of nutrients and aid in the breakdown of fiber in the equine digestive system does not give a clear answer.

The studies did not use the same amounts, the same diet, the same classifi- cation of horses (age, activity level and health status) or the same period of time during testing. It is evident more research is required. Some improvement was noted when horses fed high-starch and

Yeast and Horses offer live yeast cultures.

On the label of a product con- taining live yeast culture will be a number stating the level of colony- forming units (CFU’s). It is the mea- sure of live cells in the supplement. For example, it may state “two bil- lion CFU in a scoop”.

a non-climate controlled truck will damage the supplement. Despite what the label says, you can’t be sure the product is still active.

There are several challenges when feeding a live yeast culture product.

Many commercial horse feed prod- ucts contain brewer’s yeast as an ingredi- ent. It aids in the palatability of the feed and adds to the nutrient profile. Rep- utable companies avoid making the state- ment that brewer’s yeast will improve digestion in the large intestine.

Baker’s yeast or active yeast should not be used as a nutritional supplement. It is derived from the same strain of microorganism, but lacks the beneficial B vitamins. Uncooked baker’s yeast will decrease the levels of B vitamins in the body and adversely disrupt the health of the large intestine.

There are products on the market that

Confidence in the quality of the product is an issue. Heat and sun- light kills the live cells. Proper ship- ping and handling procedures must be in place. Having the product sit on a pallet in the hot sun or riding in

Many claims of improvement in digestion are based on studies con- ducted with cattle. Cattle are foregut fermentaters - the breakdown and utilization of forage occurs before the meal reaches the large intestine. Horses are hindgut fermenters – digestion of forage takes place in the large intestine or cecum. This raises the question – “Does the live yeast culture survive the digestive acids in the equine stomach?” Most equine nutritionists believe it does not.

The bottom line is - use your money to purchase better quality for- age and feed plenty of it. If you have any change left over – enjoy your favorite yeast based beverage as you watch your horse eat what is natural. * For information about caring for and feeding horses take the online courses “Stable Management” and “Nutrition for Performance Horses” taught by Eleanor Blazer. Earn certi- fication or work toward a Bachelor of Science degree in equine studies. Go to for more information. Visit Eleanor’s web site at www.theway-

Equine Guelph Combats Colic with Your Help!

By: Jackie Bellamy

Guelph, ON. - Colic is the number one killer of horses (other than old age!) and Equine Guelph is launching a comprehensive colic survey across Canada to better understand colic management practices in the industry and how people are dealing with colic. “Understanding the horse owners’ experiences with colic will assist in developing targeted educationalprograms,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph.

Results from the survey will help develop Equine Guelph’s Colic Prevention Program that includes a Colic Risk Rater and a Colic Prevention eWorkshop (a two- week online short course) with the aim of reducing horse owners’ risk of colic. Dr. Judith Koenig, associate pro- fessor at the Ontario Veterinary College, states, “Colic is a major health issue facing horse owners both emotional- ly and financially. If horse owners are able to reduce their risk of colic through management, it will improve

both the overall health and welfare of the horse.” This is the first survey of its kind in Canada. The survey takes about 15-20 minutes and is available online through The survey will be open from July 25th September 25th, 2012.

Participants of the survey will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of two registrations to Equine Guelph’s upcoming Colic Prevention eWork- shop!

In addition to funding from Standardbred Canada, investment in this project has been provided by Agricul- ture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agri- cultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

For more information about Equine Guelph’s Colic Prevention Program, visit tion/colic.

OEF Annual Conference has something for everyone

Riders, trainers, coaches and horse owners are invited to attend the Ontario Equestrian Federation’s Annual Conference in Mississauga on Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24 to learn from respected pro- fessionals, network with fellow horse enthusiasts and discover the latest industry trends.

The conference offers some- thing for everyone and promises to connect all horse lovers, regardless of discipline or interests. The Friday of the conference features OEF council meetings – industry, horse facilities, competitions, recreation, and associations – followed by the annual general meeting. The day

wraps up with a free party, during which the Ontario Equestrian Federation Awards and the People Make a Difference Awards, will be presented.

Educational sessions take place on Saturday and will cover rider fitness, equine first aid, equine alterna- tive therapy, equine nutrition, natural horsemanship and concussions/spinal injury. There will also be panel dis-

cussions on the future of horse racing, establishing parameters in your search for a new equine partner and trailering your horse.

Special guest Dr. Deb Bennett will host a full-day seminar on conforma- tion to help riders identify and develop partners who are athletically compe- tent, happy, confident, long-lived and free-moving. A noted author and a consulting editor for Equus Magazine, Bennett is considered an authority on the classification, evolution, anatomy and biomechanics of fossil and living horses. Taking a scientific approach to conformation analysis and how it relates to performance ability, Bennett will address the needs and challenges

facing horses of all breeds and disciplines The Ontario Equestrian Federation Annual Confer- ence takes place at the Delta Meadowvale Resort & Conference Centre, located on Mississauga Road, just south of highways 401 and 407. For further information, or to register, visit the OEF website at

Ontario Equestrian Federation Unveils Revamped Website

Large selection of used Western & English saddles.

Lady/Youth Reiner $3995.00

We’re looking for used bailey saddles & good used show clothes for consignment.

#60 Main St., Downtown Ridgetown, ON (519) 674-5312 • email:

The Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF) recently launched a new website featuring a clean, attractive design, more features and easy navigation. Among the many improvements that the new site offers is the ability to perform a keyword search of the OEF directory of products and services. Site users can also browse various categories by geographic location. At the click of a mouse, users can search lesson and boarding stables, associations, organizations and clubs, horse/rider services and products, coaches and instruc- tors and much more.

The new website also allows OEF members to post

free monthly classified ads. Up-to-date event listings keep horse owners informed about upcoming shows, clinics and equine events and discipline-specific quick links allow users to access information tailored to their unique needs and interests.

Connecting with the OEF on social media has also never been easier now that the Facebook, Twitter and Barnmice icons are located on the organization’s home page.

Visit to see what the new OEF website has to offer.

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