One of the best ways to evaluate your horse’s diet is to know what is in your hay. If you
purchase at least two or more months’ worth of hay at a time, it is worth having it analyzed. Here are some common terms you will see when hay and nutrition are analyzed:
Crude protein (CP) - an estimation of total protein based on the amount of nitrogen in the hay. Most grass hay contains 8 to 10% CP whereas legumes (e.g., alfalfa, clover,
perennial peanut) can range from 17-20%. Grain hays (oat, rye) generally have a lower CP than grass hay.
Acid detergent fiber (ADF) and Neutral Detergent fiber (NDF) - both measure fibers (there are 5 types). However, there is one type of fiber that is indigestible - lignin. The higher these two values, the more lignin the hay contains. The ideal ADF is less than 31%; ideal NDF is less than 50%.
Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC) - the total amount of sugar, starch, and fructan. To obtain %NSC, add together %WSC (water soluble carbohydrates) + %Starch. If your horse needs to have a low sugar/low starch diet, the %NSC should be <13% on a dry matter basis.
Water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) - measures simple sugars and fructan levels.
Ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (ESC) - a subset of WSC and gives you a better idea of the simple sugar level. WSC minus ESC provides a fair measurement of fructan levels.
Starch - normally digested in the foregut down to individual glucose (blood sugar) molcules; therefore, it has a strong elevating effect on blood insulin levels.
ESC + Starch should be less than 11% on a dry matter basis for a horse with equine metabolic syndrome or PPID (Cushing’s).
Pink Rose Organix Equine Boost & Balance is a USDA Certified Organic feed for an
optimized digestive system and healthy hind gut. A delicious, prescriptive blend of organic proteins, oils, and fiber that works with your pasture or hay to boost digestive efficiency and
balance the diet. Boost & Balance focuses on hind gut function; driving animal health,
attitude, and positive, cool energy!