Join SmartPak on their exciting field trip, where employees get to delve into the world of horse nutrition. Led by Dr. Lydia Gray, participants learn about the different types of feeds, such as chopped hay, rolled oats, rice bran pellets, and sweet feed, and their purposes. They also explore the considerations for horses with specific conditions like insulin resistance or PSSM. The field trip covers topics like soaking hay cubes, the nutrient composition of steamed or wetted hay, and the ideal percentage of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) in horse feed. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are also discussed for their omega-3 fatty acid content. Join SmartPak on this educational journey to enhance your knowledge of horse nutrition!

On the SmartPak Barn Field Trip, participants are encouraged to ask questions about the horse’s age, activity level, and weight to design the best diet for them. Through interactive activities, like identifying different feeds and discussing their uses, participants gain a comprehensive understanding of horse nutrition. Topics like beet pulp as a fiber-rich feed option, cracked corn’s nutritional value, and the use of hay stretcher pellets to supplement hay supply are also covered. Dr. Lydia Gray guides the participants through this informative exploration, offering valuable insights and clarifying common misconceptions. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to learn more about horse nutrition with SmartPak!

Table of Contents

SmartPak Barn Field Trip

Understanding the concept of barn field trip

A barn field trip organized by SmartPak is an exciting opportunity for employees to learn about horse nutrition and the importance of proper feeding practices. It allows individuals to gain hands-on experience and knowledge, which they can then share with customers to provide better guidance and assistance in meeting their horses’ nutritional needs.

Role of employees on the field trip

The employees play a crucial role during the field trip as they actively participate in various activities and discussions led by experts in the field. They engage in interactive sessions, ask questions, and absorb valuable information to enhance their understanding of horse nutrition. This firsthand experience helps them become more informed and confident in recommending suitable feed and nutritional plans to customers.

Role of Dr. Lydia Gray

Teaching employees about hay, grain, and other feeds

Dr. Lydia Gray, the SmartPak staff veterinarian, plays a pivotal role in educating employees about the different types of forage, grains, and feeds commonly used in horse nutrition. She emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and guides employees on the appropriate portion sizes and combinations of various feeds. Dr. Gray ensures that employees have a comprehensive understanding of the nutritional components in different feeds and their impact on a horse’s overall health.

Interacting with employees to enhance their knowledge about horse nutrition

Dr. Gray’s expertise and interactive teaching style create a conducive learning environment during the barn field trip. She encourages employees to actively participate in discussions and ask questions related to horse nutrition. This interaction helps to deepen employees’ understanding and allows them to clarify any doubts they may have. Dr. Gray’s approachable demeanor makes employees feel comfortable seeking guidance and fosters a positive learning experience.

Identification and Discussion of Different Feeds

Exploring various feeds such as chopped hay, rolled oats, rice bran pellets, and sweet feed

During the barn field trip, employees have the opportunity to explore a wide range of horse feeds commonly found in the market. They learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of feed and understand which horses would benefit most from specific feeds.

Chopped hay, for instance, is an excellent option for horses with dental issues, as it is easier to chew and digest. Rolled oats provide a healthy source of energy for horses engaged in moderate to heavy physical activity. Rice bran pellets are rich in fat and are often fed to horses needing to gain weight or maintain a healthy coat. Sweet feed, although popular, should be fed sparingly due to its high sugar content.

Analyzing the purpose and uses of these different feeds

By analyzing the purpose and uses of different feeds, employees gain a deeper understanding of their role in meeting specific nutritional requirements. They learn how to tailor feed plans to cater to the unique needs of individual horses. This knowledge empowers employees to make informed recommendations to customers, ensuring that horses receive appropriate nutrition for optimal health and performance.

Consideration of the Horse’s Age, Activity Level, and Weight

Importance of these factors in horse nutrition

The age, activity level, and weight of a horse are vital factors to consider when formulating a nutrition plan. Young horses have different nutritional requirements than geriatric ones, while active performance horses need a diet that supports their high energy demands. Additionally, overweight or underweight horses require tailored feed plans to help them achieve and maintain a healthy body condition.

Effect of these factors on the nutritional requirements of horses

The age of a horse affects its growth and development, requiring specific nutrients to ensure proper skeletal and muscular development. Depending on the activity level, horses may need a higher protein intake for muscle repair and growth. Weight management is crucial to prevent metabolic disorders and other health issues. By understanding how these factors influence a horse’s nutritional requirements, employees can provide appropriate recommendations to support each horse’s unique needs.

Special Considerations for Elderly and Compromised Horses

Use of soaking hay cubes for older horses with dental issues

Older horses often experience dental problems that make it challenging for them to chew and digest regular hay. To address this issue, employees on the barn field trip learn about the benefits of soaking hay cubes. Soaking hay cubes in water before feeding them to older horses helps soften the cubes and increases their palatability, making them easier for horses to consume.

Nutritional considerations for horses with conditions like insulin resistance or PSSM

Conditions such as insulin resistance (IR) and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) require special attention in terms of nutrition. Horses with IR need a low-sugar and low-starch diet to manage their blood glucose levels. PSSM horses may benefit from a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates. By understanding the unique nutritional requirements of horses with these conditions, employees can provide tailored feeding recommendations to help manage their health effectively.

Myths and Facts about Hay Preparation

Comprehension that steaming or wetting hay does not change its nutrient composition but reduces dust and mold for the horse’s respiratory health

There is a common misconception that steaming or wetting hay alters its nutrient composition. However, employees learn during the barn field trip that this is not the case. Steaming or wetting hay does not significantly affect the nutritional value of the forage. Instead, these practices help reduce dust and mold, improving the respiratory health of horses, particularly those with respiratory conditions.

Insight of soaking hay for IR horses for about 60 minutes in cold water and 30 minutes in warm water to remove sugars and starches

For horses with insulin resistance, employees gain valuable insights into the practice of soaking hay. Soaking hay for approximately 60 minutes in cold water and 30 minutes in warm water helps remove excess sugars and starches, reducing the risk of insulin spikes. This technique allows employees to provide specific guidelines to customers with IR horses, enabling them to manage the condition effectively through proper hay preparation.

Ideal Ratio of Nutrients in Horse Feed

Understanding that the ideal percentage of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) in horse feed is around 10-15%

When formulating a horse’s diet, employees learn that the ideal percentage of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) in horse feed should be around 10-15%. NSC includes sugars and starches, and a high intake of these can lead to metabolic disorders and other health issues. By understanding the recommended NSC percentage, employees can guide customers in selecting feeds that maintain optimal health and prevent potential problems associated with excessive sugars and starches in the diet.

Role of Seeds in Horse Diet

Inclusion of flaxseeds and chia seeds as high sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the horse’s diet

During the field trip, employees become aware of the benefits of incorporating seeds into a horse’s diet. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are particularly beneficial due to their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and promoting overall health. By recommending the inclusion of these seeds, employees can guide customers in providing a well-rounded and nutritionally balanced diet for their horses.

Preparation of these seeds before feeding to the horse

Employees learn the importance of proper seed preparation before feeding them to horses. Flaxseeds and chia seeds need to be ground or soaked before feeding to enhance their digestibility and absorption. Whole seeds may pass through the digestive system without providing the desired nutritional benefits. Equipped with this knowledge, employees can advise customers on the appropriate methods of preparing and feeding seeds to horses.

Understanding the Use of Hay Stretcher Pellets and Cracked Corn

Use of hay stretcher pellets to stretch out the hay supply especially in conditions where long-stemmed forage cannot be chewed or hay is not readily available

When long-stemmed forage is not easily chewed or hay availability is limited, employees learn about the option of using hay stretcher pellets. Hay stretcher pellets are an alternative source of fiber and provide essential nutrients to horses. They can help stretch out the hay supply and ensure horses receive an adequate amount of forage, promoting proper digestion and overall health.

Understanding that cracked corn is nutritionally better than whole corn but it is still not an ideal feed due to its high omega-6 fatty acid content

While cracked corn may be nutritionally better than whole corn, employees learn that it is still not an ideal feed for horses. Cracked corn has a high omega-6 fatty acid content, which can disrupt the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a horse’s diet. This imbalance can lead to inflammation and other health issues. Employees gain an understanding of the nutritional limitations of cracked corn and can recommend alternative feeds that provide a more balanced fatty acid profile.


The SmartPak barn field trip provides employees with invaluable knowledge about horse nutrition. Through interactions with experts like Dr. Lydia Gray, employees gain a thorough understanding of various feeds, the importance of considering factors like age and activity level, and special considerations for elderly or compromised horses. They also learn about myths and facts regarding hay preparation, the ideal ratio of nutrients in horse feed, the role of seeds, and the use of hay stretcher pellets and cracked corn. This comprehensive education equips employees to provide informed guidance to customers, ensuring the health and well-being of horses through proper nutrition.