The majority of CRYSTALYX® self-fed supplements are designed for beef cattle on pasture, with several specialty products for calving, weaning and growing cattle. Early in the development of the CRYSTALYX product line, ranchers recognized the benefits of nutrient delivery, ease of use and the time savings associated with using CRYSTALYX when supplementing their cattle. They also noticed that the horses liked the molasses-based product but had concerns about whether a beef product was adequate for their horses. This led to the development of an equine-specific formula that addressed intake and nutrient requirement concerns for equines.
CRYSTALYX® Stable-lyx® is a low-moisture self-fed supplement for all classes of equines. In addition, CRYSTALYX® Stable-lyx® with ClariFly® is available to provide fly control. These products are popular for horses on ranches, working and buggy horses on farms, breeding mare operations, pleasure horses and equine competition athletes. This is a wide array of customers, activity levels and feeding situations, and thus, there is a need for different container options. The feeding directions on the tag recommend feeding at the rate of one container for every 3–20 head, but two containers may be necessary in each lot or pasture to ensure proper accessibility. Typical intake is in the range of 0.25 to 3.0 pounds per day. Again, this is a wide intake range that reflects the various feeding situations that exist. Equines must be managed so that consumption of Stable-lyx does not exceed three pounds per head per day. The smaller package options of the 60-pound and the new 33.3-pound flat back containers make it easier to limit access to get the desired intake. Actually, I have never met the “typical horse” or seen a “standard” feeding situation for horses, which is why Stable-lyx is a great product to ensure a solid plane of nutrition for your horse, regardless of your specific situation. I will go into more detail on the nutritional benefits later in the blog.
On ranches and farms where groups of horses are pastured together, the 200- or 250-pound barrels are popular. For large groups, it is recommended to have at least two containers to prevent a boss animal from dominating the barrel. In general, the intake of a low-moisture block is limited by the amount of surface area exposed. This works great for cattle because we have herds where a ratio of one barrel to 25–30 head is common. However, the majority of horse owners have just a few animals, and the 60-pound container works well in small-pasture or open-pen settings. Recently, we introduced a new container, the 33.3-pound flat back pail, which offers another level of convenience for horse owners with just one or a few animals. The light weight of the 33.3-pound container with a handle makes it easy to move to different locations and to limit the amount of time that a single horse has access to the product. It will work well in stalls or loafing pens, where hanging the pail to the stall door or a gate will allow for easy access to both the horse and the horse owner. As stated earlier, equines must be managed to get the desired intake, and it is not recommended to allow unlimited access to Stable-lyx in stall or small pen settings.
Nutritional considerations: Consistent daily delivery is a strong benefit of CRYSTALYX Stable-lyx
Horses need to have their nutrition needs met every day. Their protein and carbohydrate (energy) needs will vary based on their activity level and stage of growth; however, their trace mineral and vitamin needs will be fairly consistent. It can be a real struggle to get the necessary trace mineral and vitamin intake, given all the variations in feeding programs and individual animal intakes. The biology of the equine digestive system necessitates some important considerations. First and foremost, water is the most critical. Horses will consume 5–10 gallons per day or more when active and during warm weather. Next, forage as pasture or hay is the largest and most important part of the diet. A minimum of 1% of a horse’s body weight in forage should be consumed every day. Forage is actually the main source of carbohydrates for the horse because horses are hindgut fermenters, meaning the microorganisms in the cecum and colon are able to break down the fiber carbohydrates into useable energy for the horse. The fermentation of forage requires water, some protein and simple carbohydrates to allow the microorganisms to digest the fiber.
CRYSTALYX Stable-lyx is a nutrient-dense supplement that provides extra horsepower for top performance. Its molasses base is a safe carbohydrate source and, combined with the salt level in the formula, helps ensure good water consumption. In addition, Yea-Sacc® is included in the formula to help support improved fiber digestion and maintain proper gut pH to support gut health. Stable-lyx is a 12% all-natural crude protein supplement. Over-supplementing protein can increase the ammonia in the urine. We realize that most of the protein needs of horses can be met through forage and commercial feeds, but CRYSTALYX Stable-lyx contains 12–14.4% salt to help manage intake. It also contains BIOPLEX® trace minerals for improved availability and to support immune function and animal performance. B-vitamins, such as biotin for hoof health and thiamine to support appetite, are also included.
That’s enough of trying to fit equine nutrition 101 into a short blog. I will explain the benefits of CRYSTALYX Stable-lyx in a question-and-answer format below. This also lowers my risk of being exposed as a ruminant nutritionist who is also a horse lover.
1. Where and how will all the water, forage and feed fit into the animal?
2. Why do I need a self-fed supplement with all that the horse is eating already?
The answers to these questions are related. To start, there is not enough room to put everything in at once. The horse’s stomach is first in line for digestion; however, it is small relative to the intake of forage that the horse needs. The stomach is 2–4 gallons in size, but this is only 1% of the total digestive tract. Horses truly do need to eat all the time. Again, forage and water are needed first, and the limited room left is where we fit in the commercial feed. The beauty of a cow is its rumen; we have 30–50 gallons to work with, it comes first and we can pack the feed in. The beauty of a horse is that it has no rumen and a sleek athletic torso, but this comes at a cost, as it means we must provide small, consistent meals. CRYSTALYX Stable-lyx provides a consistent supply of nutrients in an easy-to-feed and convenient system that helps fill in the nutrition gaps.
3. How can a conventional horse feed fall short on trace mineral and vitamin delivery?
One of my nutritional rants is, “We balance diets on percentages using average feed intake, but animals eat grams and pounds, and we still expect exceptional individual performance.” This is true for cows and even more so for horses.
- Inactive or senior horses are often only on pasture or hay. How do we get minerals and vitamins into them?
- Senior feeds are formulated for 10 to 15 pounds of intake to get all the minerals and vitamins they need. Often, certain horses can’t consume that much, and the economics of feeding that much should be taken into consideration. What happens if I cheat a little?
- Other feeds are built for different intakes, but the amount we feed varies depending on activity level, the time to get the horses fed and the general condition of the horse. Let’s assume the recommended feed rate is 5 pounds per day. What happens if I cheat a little?
- There are at least several hundred top-dress additives and packs that I can add to the sweet feed. Yes, there are many packs available. The challenge is getting the dose correct, getting the horse to actually eat it and the risk of getting the mineral ratio out of line and causing more harm than good. What happens if I cheat a little?
My answer to all of the above questions is that using a supplement like CRYSTALYX Stable-lyx or Stable-lyx with ClariFly will help make your life easier, lower your risk of not meeting your horse’s nutritional needs and give you peace of mind knowing that you are feeding a safe and proven product. Animals only on pasture will consume a bit more than active working animals that are getting other feeds. With the small container options, like the new 33.3-pound flat back pail, the supplement intake of individual horses or small groups can more easily managed by limiting access.
For more information, contact your local CRYSTALYX dealer or visit the CRYSTALYX website for product information and nutrient profiles for these equine products.