It’s hard to believe but we have now completed 32 of 52 days of live racing at Hastings Racecourse.
We are just a few weeks away from Derby Day and oh yeah the PNE starts this Saturday. We are sure to have some sloppy tracks as the PNE always seems assured to bring the rain.
After 32 days we have a run a total of 246 races, 223 overnight races and 23 stakes races. A total of 483 horses have started in those 246 races. The field size continues to hold nicely at 7.10 horses per race. Personally I think that is really pretty good considering we have had only 483 start.
DAILY AVERAGE PURSE
Our daily average purse payout is currently at $155,199.00 per day for a total of $4,966,361.00 for the 32 days. The average overnight race payout is $17,248.00 which consists of $15,365.00 for all breeds per race plus $1787.00 for BC Bred Bonus average per race and $96 for 9-12 finishers average per race.
WINTERING INCENTIVE PROGRAM
The Wintering Incentive Program has now paid out a total of $212,000.00 or 106 horses received $2,000.00. This program will also be offered for 2018.
MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT PROGRAM FOR BC BREDS
The new MSW Program started this season in an attempt to reward BC Breeders for improving the breed of horses but also as an incentive for Owners to buy BC Breds at the Annual CTHS Yearling Sale and for those that bred to run also improve their breeding stock.
The total payout to date is $130,000 or 13 Maiden Special Weight winners. I might also add we have run several more MSW races in 2017 then 2016.
FRESH HORSE PROGRAM
The Fresh Horse Program that was also implemented this season has come to an end with all horses that qualified have all started at least 3 times with a total of 23 horses receiving funding from the program.
DAILY WAGERING CONTINUES TO TRAIL 2016
The daily handle totals $18,435,375.00 compared to $20,538,224.00 in 2016 or 10% down. Hopefully that will improve over the last 20 days of meet but I’m projecting a loss of $3,400,000.00 for the season.
THOROUGHBRED ALLOCATION AND BUDGET
The British Columbia Horse Racing Industry Management Committee has recently has revised their 2017 Budget and Allocation to Industry Stake Holders and the Thoroughbred Industry is now budgeted to receive $600,000.00 less then originally budgeted.
The three associations are working hard together to come up with solutions to get us through to the end of the 2017 season with a minimum amount of budget changes to offset this loss of funding.
New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16, at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be held at Ricky’s All Day Grill, 1090 Lougheed Highway, Coquitlam BC. To learn more, visit www.newstride.com or check us out on Facebook.
Especially in the summer months, odor smells in gravel or sand paddocks can get pretty intense–a real concern if you have neighbors close by. Plus, breathing ammonia is unhealthy for horses and unpleasant for us. We’ve noticed some odor issues at Sweet Pepper Ranch recently, so this week I thought I’d share some of my solutions with you.
Try alleviating paddock odors by simply raking or dragging the paddock to aerate footing and encourage aerobic microbes to break down organic materials.
The most important concept is to begin with healthy soils and good topography BEFORE you put down any gravel. Don’t begin by dumping gravel or sand on top of a bunch of muck or in a wet area and then wonder why it smells bad. Be absolutely certain that you have a good, even slope to the surface you are putting footing on top of. Any depressions in the underlying soils, however slight, will pool water (and urine) under the gravel, potentially causing odors.
The simplest and cheapest solution to odors may be to just drag or harrow the paddock. Doing this helps aerate the footing, allowing aerobic microbes to flourish and break down organics.
If that’s not enough help, there are a variety of products that can be sprinkled on urine spots to neutralize odors. At Horses for Clean Water, we have found beneficial microorganisms to also be very useful and long-lasting. These microbial sprays contain different types of “friendly” bacteria, enzymes, and/or fungi. They come in highly concentrated solutions that can be diluted and sprayed onto smelly paddock areas with the aid of a garden sprayer. Beneficial microbes break down ammonia and organic material that cause odors and attract flies. These safe solutions can be applied as often as odors are detected as well as before or after rainfalls. Beneficial microbial sprays are available at organic garden supply companies. The product we use is EM-1 Microbial Inoculants and can be purchased from Arbico Organics.
Microbial sprays containing “friendly” bacteria, enzymes, and/or fungi come in highly concentrated solutions that can be diluted and sprayed onto smelly paddock areas with the aid of a garden sprayer.
I’ve also found zeolite products to be effective. Zeolites are naturally occurring minerals found in clay that have a very porous structure. Among other beneficial uses, zeolites are used in industry for purposes including odor control, toxin removal and as chemical sieves. For horse owners, they can be used to bind with ammonia in urine.
The pores in the zeolite minerals bind with ammonia molecules, holding onto them until naturally occurring bacteria break down and eliminate the ammonia. Zeolite is in many brands of stall deodorizer products such as Sweet PDZ, Stall Fresh, and several others. These products, which look like finely ground kitty litter, can be purchased at feed stores. Sweet PDZ, a product I have been using for many years, comes in a powder and granular size. In some areas of the Pacific Northwest, an additional larger size (usually ½-inch pieces) called “Sweet PDZ Paddock Product” is available, which is very useful for a horse’s outdoor areas.
The most effective way I have found for using Sweet PDZ is to buy several bags of the Paddock Product, three to four per paddock. I work two to three bags into the horse’s “pee spot,” digging down and stirring it in well. Then, I take part of a fourth bag and sprinkle it across the top. We find this method to be quite effective and to last a long time.
I hope one of these options will be useful to you. Keep me posted on what you try and let us know what works and doesn’t work for you.
Alayne Renée Blickle, a life-long equestrian and reining competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award winning, nationally acclaimed environmental education program. Well known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approaches, Alayne is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners for over 15 years teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Alayne and her husband raise and train their reining horses at their ranch in sunny Nampa, Idaho.
Thoroughbred breeder and owner Barbara Banke, who, along with her late husband, Jess Jackson, has been a longtime advocate for reform in various aspects of the racing and breeding industries, threw her support behind the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 at The Jockey Club’s 65th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing. The event took place Aug. 13, at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Banke is the chairman and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, the nation’s largest seller of premium wines, and owner of Stonestreet, a Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation based in Lexington, Kentucky.
“My family and I are vested, financially and emotionally, in the healthy future of this industry and that is why I support the Horseracing Integrity Act,” she said. “To win in the long term, we must demonstrate to both new and future racing fans that our industry acts with integrity and elevated standards of care to protect the health of our athletes.”
The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (HR 2651), introduced by Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) in May, would require that a uniform, anti-doping and medication control program be developed and enforced by a private nonprofit self-regulatory organization known as the Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority. The authority would be governed by a board composed of the chief executive officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), six individuals from the USADA board, and six individuals selected by USADA who have demonstrated expertise in a variety of horse-racing areas.
“The morass of conflicting state medication thresholds and rules is too confusing and slow to change,” Banke added. “With this bill, we can achieve comprehensive reform that is meaningful both to horse owners and the general public. We would benefit significantly and immediately if we standardize best practices across our industry in medication regulation and testing, which the bill would accomplish. This will increase the perception that our industry is organized and responsibly self-governed.
“A centralized and undeviating program with shared standards will afford us economies of scale, efficiencies, branding, and strength when facing common obstacles,” she continued. “USADA has expertise in anti-doping programs, including the Olympics, that we can use. Today, I’d like us all to think seriously about supporting legislation that will build faith among our present patrons and attract future ones.”
In a brief presentation preceding Banke’s remarks, Shawn Smeallie, the executive director of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, discussed the growing support for the HR 2651. He noted that the bill currently has almost 60 co-sponsors, with the total expected to rise above 100 by next month.
He emphasized that HR 2651 will be beneficial to the horse and racing’s stakeholders.
“The Horseracing Integrity Act will ensure the rights of the owners, trainers, bettors, and most importantly, the equine athletes are protected,” Smeallie said. “Independent, uniform anti-doping programs work, and they make the sport they manage stronger.”
As in recent years, the Round Table featured presentations from an international speaker and a speaker representing another professional sport.
Amanda Elliott, the chairman of Australia’s Victoria Racing Club, spoke about the Melbourne Cup and the keys to racing’s success in that nation.
“We all need to have a customer focus to our business,” she said. “We need to redefine the perception of a day at the races and we need to attract the next generation of racegoers. We have to innovate and evolve.”
Rachel Jacobson, the former senior vice president of global partnerships for the National Basketball Association (NBA), discussed the successes of the NBA’s sponsorship deals and recommended ways in which the Thoroughbred industry could follow its lead.
“The business of sports is evolving and things move quickly with technology advancements to bring fans closer to the sport,” she said. “Horse racing has all the right assets to appeal to a much broader fan base.”
Ben Vonwiller, of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, provided an overview of how data can be used to improve coordination of races on a daily basis and on big-event days to avoid conflicting post times, which detract from handle at racetracks and annoy fans interested in betting on both races.
Cathy O’Meara, of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, and Stacie Clark, of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, gave updates on the work of their organizations and plans for the future.
James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, provided a report on the club’s activities, which included an update on the implementation of mandatory microchipping and plans for the transition to digital foal certificates in 2018. He also announced the Thoroughbred Safety Committee’s three latest recommendations:
The first recommendation calls for discontinuing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 48 hours prior to race day;
The second calls for all racetracks to self-publish their Equine Injury Database summaries; and
The final recommendation calls for all North American racing associations and regulatory authorities to require the transfer of all veterinary medical records to new ownership.
In closing remarks, Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club, reiterated the organization’s perspective on federal legislation.
“We at The Jockey Club believe it is appropriate for the federal government to police racing,” he said. “Those who cheat are corrupting the interstate wagering system—the very definition of federal responsibility and a system made possible by the federal Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978. … [This legislation] wouldn’t address all of our sport’s issues, but it would be a great start and meaningful foundation for growth. I hope you will all join with The Jockey Club to work toward that day.”
The conference was attended by approximately 400 people and was live-streamed on The Jockey Club’s website. For the first time, the conference was also shown on TVG2 and tvg.com/live.
A video replay of the entire two-hour conference is available on jockeyclub.com and full transcripts will be available by Monday afternoon on the same site.
The Jockey Club Round Table Conference was first held on July 1, 1953, in The Jockey Club office in New York City. The following year, it was moved to Saratoga Springs, where it has been held every August since.
The fats we typically supplement as oil are predominately triglycerides, or dietary fats. These fats provide horses with essential fatty acids and fat-soluable vitamins.
Fats serve many important functions for your horse, from increasing calorie consumption to reducing gastric ulcer severity
Society has seen its share of diet crazes, even in the past decade. From low-carb and high-protein to low-fat and high-fiber, trends have come and gone and come again, making food selection challenging. Luckily, horse owners don’t have as many options when they’re picking their charges’ feed. As herbivores, our horses’ diets must be high-fiber complemented by a commercial product fit to meet their life stage (performance, breeding, growing, etc.). The high-fat diet era began as a way to effectively increase calories without drastically increasing feed volume and, as researchers learn more about the benefit of fats for our four-legged friends, it appears that high-fat diets are here to stay.
What Exactly are Fats?
Fats and oils are part of a class of molecules called lipids. Structurally, all fats contain the following components:
A single glycerol molecule A chain of three carbon atoms, each with a hydroxyl group (oxygen and hydrogen) bound to it; and
Fatty acids Long hydrocarbon (containing, you guessed it: hydrogen and carbon) chains.
The fatty acids attached to glycerol vary in length and in how their own carbon molecules are linked. When single bonds link carbon atoms, the fatty acid is considered saturated. Saturated fat originates predominantly from animal fat sources such as tallow. Conversely, when one or more double bonds link the carbon atoms, the fat is unsaturated. Horse diets consist mainly of unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils.
Fats can be found in forages and grains in many forms, including di- and triglycerides, sterols, and phospholipids. The fats we typically supplement as oil are predominantly triglycerides. Each fat type varies significantly in its availability to the horse, which we will discuss later.
Digestion and Absorption
Once a horse ingests fat, enzymes (called lipases) in the stomach begin to break it down. A majority of fat digestion takes place in the small intestine, specifically in the duodenum and jejunum. After absorption, fats move along to the liver, adipose tissue, or elsewhere as needed for storage or use. Fats that do not get absorbed in the small intestine travel to the hindgut (the large intestine and colon), where they will be excreted in the feces.
In several studies researchers have found drastic differences in the digestibility of various fat sources in the horse’s diet. Fats from forages appear to be 55% digestible, whereas fats from oil are 100% digestible. This makes sense, considering that cell wall components more than likely surround the fats in forages and make them less available for digestion.
Chew the Fat
Researchers have compared the palatability of both animal and plant-based fat sources to horses and found corn oil to be the most acceptable, but other sources can be just as readily consumed. See common sources of fat used in equine diets in the table below:
Avg. Fat (%)
Points to Consider
Highly palatable source of calories
Serves also as a quality source of amino acids
Contains trypsin inhibitors and must be heat-processed prior to feeding
High in omega-3 fatty acids
Due to hard outer coat, should be ground prior to feeding
Good source of fiber and contains gamma oryzanol, an antioxidant that might improve muscle quality
Inverted calcium to phosphorus ration
Contains a naturally occuring enzyme (lipase) that increases rancidity if not stabilized
High in potassium and omega-6 fatty acids
High in omega-3 fatty acids
Odor can be a deterrent to horses and owners
Why Horses Need Them
“It is important to understand that there are two types of fats: dietary fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids,” says Stewart K. Morgan, DVM, PhD, clinical nutrition resident at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, in Blacksburg. Dietary fats, also known as the triglycerides mentioned earlier, are a concentrated source of dietary energy that provides essential fatty acids (EFAs) and can carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Because hydrogen and carbon atoms make up these vitamins’ structure, they are hydrophobic in nature. Have you heard the saying “oil and water don’t mix”? Hydrophobic literally means “water-fearing” and describes oil’s propensity to separate from water. Therefore, fat-soluble vitamins need fats to help transport them across the small intestine. Extremely low-fat diets can potentially reduce fat-soluble vitamin absorption, as seen with decreased vitamin E levels in ponies fed an extremely low-fat diet.
Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fatty acids can be metabolized to form compounds that serve biological functions. “These include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to the horse,” says Morgan.
Horses cannot synthesize EFA on their own and rely on dietary sources to meet their needs. The two most biologically relevant EFAs, α-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6), play a vital role in the immune system, central nervous system, and cell membrane structure, to name a few. The average equine diet tends toward greater omega-3 intakes than omega-6.
In a two-year study conducted at the University of Florida, researchers found that the fat content in bahiagrass (a warm-season pasture grass species) contains 40-55% omega-3 fatty acids and as hay contains 18-35%. Although hay and pasture are low in total fat content, typically offering less than 5%, most of the fat is made up of omega-3 fatty acids, whereas the fat in cereal grains, like what you’d find in horse feed, is made up primarily of omega-6 fatty acids.
Morgan says researchers are still trying to determine horses’ EFA requirements, but there is some evidence that horses might benefit from fatty acid supplementation in certain conditions. Currently, Nutrient Requirements for Horses (2007) suggests horses receive a minimum of 0.5% of dry matter in linoleic acid, equivalent to approximately 50 grams per day for the 1,100-pound horse. Nutritionists have yet to set an exact requirement for α-linolenic acid, but horses more than likely consume adequate levels with good-quality forage.
What Do They Do?
Fats can benefit many aspects of a horse’s health. “Although a typical forage-based equine ration should meet a horse’s EFA requirements, there are benefits to supplementation under certain conditions, such as meeting a medical need to gain weight, managing inflammatory conditions like heaves and arthritis, or preventing and managing gastric ulcers,” Morgan adds. Owners of performance horses, especially those requiring a large amount of digestible energy to support high-intensity performance, feed fats to increase a meal’s caloric density without also increasing its volume. Let’s take a look at the unique benefits of fat unveiled by recent research:
Calories Pound for pound, fat contains 2¼ times more energy than do carbohydrates. Horses use fat for energy production without needing a drastic increase in feed volume. Broodmares and performance horses, as well as horses below ideal body condition, benefit from fat in their diets.
Skin and coat condition Many owners supplement fats to add shine and brilliance to their horse’s coat. “Some supplement with flaxseed oil to improve a horse’s hair coat, but the efficacy and benefit to an animal fed a forage-based diet has yet to be determined,” says Morgan.
Performance and exercise Does adding fat actually improve a horse’s performance? It’s possible. Some of the theories behind fat’s role in improving performance include reducing feed intake, decreasing heat production during exercise, and sparing muscle glycogen, the storage form of glucose horses need to produce energy. Countless factors affecting performance, including training protocols and conditioning, confound the evidence and make it difficult to know for sure whether fat affects performance.
We do know that in low-intensity, long-duration exercise (think endurance riding), supplementing at least 8% fat appears to keep blood parameters such as glucose and free fatty acids closer to baseline. Researchers have also seen lower levels of plasma lactate in horses performing low-intensity exercise on this diet. These results suggest fat helps decrease carbohydrate use, having a “glucose-sparing effect.” The same cannot be said for high-intensity exercise, such as racing, in which fat-supplemented horses did not use glycogen any differently than unsupplemented horses. This could mean carbohydrates play a larger role than fats in fueling higher-intensity exercise.
Behavior When comparing calorie sources, some researchers have suggested that replacing typical grain diets or starch content with some fat can potentially reduce horses’ reactivity. Holland et al. observed less spontaneous activity (distance moved per day) and reactivity in horses fed a diet supplemented with 10% fat than horses fed a control diet with no added fat. In several studies fat-supplemented diets have resulted in decreased cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, even in young, growing horses. Foals fed a fat and fiber diet appeared less stressed and reactive after weaning versus those fed a traditional sweet feed. And in one study out of Spain, scientists found lower cortisol levels and startle reaction intensities when horses consumed high-fat diets versus a sugar and starch control diet.
Reproduction Adding fat to pregnant and lactating mares’ diets can be key to controlling meal volume when the high calorie requirements during early lactation mean feeding more concentrate per day. “For broodmares, the fatty acid profile of broodmare milk is influenced by the fatty acid profile of the diet, and for stallions there is evidence that diets supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids may improve fertility,” says Morgan. In fact, in studies, stallions supplemented with fish oil high in omega-3 fatty acids showed improved sperm production and motility over control stallions.
Tying-UpRecurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) are two equine muscle disorders. In Thoroughbreds with RER, substituting fat for starch in the diet actually reduced excitability and nervousness, known triggers for RER-prone horses, along with heart rate. Serum creatine kinase, an indicator of muscle breakdown, also decreased. Owners of horses with PSSM can lower the risk of tying-up episodes by feeding fat to reduce and replace glucose uptake and abnormal glycogen breakdown.
Gastric ulcers Substituting fat for nonstructural carbohydrates as a calorie source appears to help horses prone to gastric ulcers. Though there’s a lack of research in this area, we know that fat delays gastric emptying and reduces gastric acid production and could theoretically reduce gastric ulcer severity.
Insulin resistance Says Tanja Hess, MV, MSc, PhD, associate professor in equine sciences at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, “Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in horses may improve insulin sensitivity (the body’s responsiveness to insulin signaling the removal of glucose from the blood) in insulin-resistant mares, as shown by a trend for improved insulin sensitivity in resistant mares supplemented with flaxseed or a marine supplement containing eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (forms of omega-3 fatty acids).”
She also described a study (Brennan et al.) in which supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid decreased basal insulin and glucose in horses with dexamethasone-induced insulin resistance.
Metabolism When mature horses consumed high-fat meals, as opposed to meals high in non-structural carbohydrates, researchers saw a decrease in both blood glycemic and insulinemic responses.
It’s important to take caution when feeding a high-fat diet to ponies, however, especially when feeding above their caloric intakes. Researchers in Germany observed higher plasma glucose and insulin concentrations after an oral glucose test in Shetland ponies fed high-fat diets. Higher insulin levels combined with elevated glucose implies that a pony is insulin resistant. Also, avoid supplementing fat in diets for any horse or pony prone to hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the bloodstream), as this condition can be fatal.
How long does it take to see these physiological changes associated with feeding fat or individual fatty acids? Nutritionists say a minimum of 10 to 12 weeks, although some researchers have reported changes in three to five weeks’ time. Consistent feeding is key to seeing results.
Dietary fats and essential fatty acids help meet a horse’s daily nutrient requirements but potentially provide other health benefits, as well. Morgan says that in any situation, horse owners should consult with an equine nutritionist to determine if and when they should add dietary fat or fatty acids to their horse’s diet.
Kristen M. Janicki, a lifelong horsewoman, was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences from the attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky, studying under Dr. Laurie Lawrence in the area of Equine Nutrition. Kristen began her current position as a performance horse nutritionist for Mars Horsecare, US, Inc., and Buckeye Nutrition, in 2010. Her job entails evaluating and improving the performance of the sport horse through proper nutrition.