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All of my horses are classed as warmbloods and are all foreign horses. Warmbloods can be known for the highly strung characters but they are also fantastic at excelling in various disciplines. My four mainly compete at dressage but at various levels as they are all different ages. Because they compete I need a feed which will meet their energy requirements and for two of them this is essential as they can go a bit 'flat' after their initial energy spurt.
Jakob and Arlo are my gorgeous Danish warmbloods and they are very similar in characters. They are worked 5 or 6 days a week and do require a diet which supports their high level of work. I'm a huge loyal fan of Allen & Page feeds and I have been using their products for over 10 years and all my horses and previous horses/ponies have all fed well on it. The feed I have been using for a while is Allen & Page Sustain and is recommended as a feed for horses in medium to hard work.
Generally horses in medium to hard work are those that are currently competing in eventing, showjumping, and dressage as they generally have a high workload and require a different type of feed compared to those that may be ridden once or twice a week.
Allen & Page colour code their feed bags which is incredibly useful as if like me you have a large feed merchants then knowing what colour your bag is, is a big a help! Sustain comes in a typical brown reinforced paper bag but is then colour coded orange which features an image of a horse jumping. The Allen & Page logo is visible on the front together with the product name in large font. The packaging is simple yet effective. On the back of the bag there is feeding instructions, ingredients list etc.
Sustain is a high oil, high fibre and low starch performance feed and basically it helps the stamina in horses undertaking disciplines as listed above as well as driving horses, show ponies and even lively warmbloods and thoroughbreds. Sustain helps horses which even though are fit and in shape they have the energy at the beginning but can eventually go 'flat' whether in training or at a competition.
My two are the latter, it is almost as if they use all their energy up at the beginning and then it suddenly disappears and they need that extra push which can sometimes prove hard work for both me and them. Sustain contains slow release energy sources such as soya and linseed oils together with highly digestible fibres. Because it is slow release the wanted outcome is the horse being able to 'sustain' their energy levels for the entirety of the work session or event in order to get consistent, high quality work.
Sustain is a light muesli mix which contains added alfalfa which is great as a source of fibre and of course it is a natural product. The mix is highly palatable which seems to agree with most horses - my two certainly have no problems eating it! When you open the bag you do instantly get an aroma of a gentle, herby almost woody scent which is perfectly pleasant and you can see why it is easily eaten by horses. You can see each individual ingredient and the mix is completely dry to the touch despite the oils used.
Feeding Sustain is no different than feeding any other mix. You just have to ensure that you are feeding the right amount according to your horse's requirements. The key is not to over feed or under feed. There is a useful feeding guide on the back of the bag, you just need to know what weight your horse is before feeding to ensure you feed the correct amount. I personally feed Sustain along side Dengie Alfa A and a joint supplement and garlic in the summer.
I've been feeding Jakob and Dansk Sustain for around a year and a half now and although I wasn't riding when I was pregnant a friend was doing this for me. As I said above they had the initial energy at the beginning of a session but would then run out of steam almost and needed that added boost. Even they coped well with a competition mix it didn't give them the energy boost they needed. As with most feeds you do have to wait until it fully enters their systems to notice a change (if any).
Now I am back in the full swing of riding I have noticed a big change in how they work and even their behaviour. They can now manage a full session (around an hour and a half more if hacking out) without going 'flat' and they are a lot more responsive to what I am asking them to do which was a big advantage! As I feed Sustain in the right quantities for their weight and the work level they have managed to maintain an average weight without losing anything during the winter months and because of the oils in the feed they have a lovely shiny coat.
The biggest change has been when they have been out at their first competitions this year and after the working in stage they still have enough energy to go out and produce a nice, consistent responsive dressage test. I couldn't ask any more from them really and I am pleased that the slow release energy oils do actually work. I can't complain about the feed whatsoever and may be it doesn't work on all horses but for my two it works well. They have that added energy requirement, they are a lot more settled when working and their skin and coats look and feel healthy. Definitely worth a try should your horse need slow release energy.
~ Useful Info ~
Price: Around £11 per 20 kg bag
Contains Protexin - helps with digestion in the gut
Vegetarian Society approved
Non GM ingredients are used
Omega 3 Oils