MMSC Feed Trial Results Are In

With limited pasture space, a high volume of horses in various body conditions, and short amount of time to transition them from the racetrack to a new career, nutrition is paramount to us at the MMSC.  At the same time, as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization (and a young one at that), so of course is cost. How do you resolve the impossible conflicting needs of providing top-notch feed at bargain prices? How and where do you compromise?

This spring, in search of answers, the MMSC decided to do a 60-day feeding trial. During that time, the herd was split into two control groups each on a different type of feed from different companies. All height, weight, and body score conditions were recorded at the beginning of the trial, checked every week, and all changes noted.

The feed that made the most dramatic difference in that two-month time period was SafeChoice Perform from Nutrena. SafeChoice Perform is a high fat, pelleted feed with highly bio-available amino acids and trace minerals, along with pre- and pro-biotics, the benefits of which are documented extensively through up to date scientific information. The results were very positive and in some cases, truly dramatic.  All the horses in that group grew shiny, soft hair coats, had improved top lines, and a noticeable change in muscle definition. For the most part, horses seemed calmer as well and had improved focus during training, no doubt because the feed is touted for delivering a long term sustainable energy source.

The results of the trial were impressive considering that all horses came from different farm management styles before coming to the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center. Superior feed does come at a higher cost, however.  Offsetting this, Nutrena has an attractive rebate system and offers great support. For example, they send a nutrition consultant to the MMSC every two weeks to provide nutritional recommendations for every horse. Another attractive feature is the widespread availability of Nutrena feeds. MMSC can put all adopters in touch with their local Nutrena distributor everywhere in the United States should they wish to continue on their products. Finally, the SafeChoice Perform is such a well thought out blended feed that need for supplements is reduced.  For all of these reasons, in addition to the foremost one in our minds—the horses looked better, the value of Nutrena feeds far outweighed the additional expense per bag.

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MMSC Barn Manager Catherine Flowers and Director Susanna Thomas with Rob Martin, a Consumer Marketing Consultant for Nutrena