Downeast Medal Finals

June 2019
Downeast Medal Finals
September 12-15, 2019
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The Benefits of Extruded Horse Feeds
By Janice Lavrich

So many feeds! So many brands and forms and formulas and decisions! What happened to the days when I was a teenager, when every horse in the barn got a coffee can of the same grain? Well, fortunately, the formulating of horse feed has evolved over the years, just like our own diets. Even better news is that the evolution of horse feeds has been a huge factor in increasing the horses’ life span and quality of life. Horses are now living well into their 30s, unlike years ago when 20 years old was considered a very old senior horse. But along with a longer lifespan, come the typical problems associated with old age. We are now seeing horses with metabolic issues, digestive sensitivities, dental problems and more. With all of the choices of grain out there, the horse owner has a big responsibility! And truly, most are never quite confident that they are doing the right thing.

Most of us know the common forms of horse feed that have been staples in the feed room. We are familiar with texturized feeds, (sweet feed) and pelleted feeds. But as the science and formulation of horse feed has evolved, the process of extrusion was introduced. Not really a new process in food manufacturing, as most pet foods are made this way, but a newer process and form for the equine market.

So what exactly is extrusion and why is it beneficial? Pressure cooking (a simpler term for extrusion) of horse feeds is the most technologically advanced method of equine feed processing, offering multiple nutritional and digestive benefits to the horse. The process of pressure cooking involves combining moisture, heat and pressure to rapidly cook the ingredients. This process results in a feed that works safely and naturally within the equine digestive system. Extruded feeds are designed for maximum breakdown which starts as soon as your horse takes his first bite. 

There are specific benefits of this form of feed that every horse owner can appreciate:
Safety --The heat generated in the cooking process improves the safety by reducing potentially harmful microorganisms or other pests that may be found in feed.

Healthier Rate of Feed Intake —Research has shown a slower rate of feed intake when horses consumed an extruded ration, compared to texturized or pelleted, which is an important feature when feeding horses who bolt their feed. A decreased rate of intake is beneficial in preventing digestive upset.

Increased Digestibility —the heat treatment increases the digestibility of starch and protein. Increased digestibility optimizes nutrient availability and utilization to the horse. Research has also shown that because of the starch availability and digestion of grains in the small intestines, this reduces the risk of an outflow of starch to the hindgut. Moreover, the extruded nugget begins to digest as soon as the horse takes a bite. The saliva is more efficient in breaking down these pieces, as opposed to a pellet or pieces of sweet or texturized feed. It’s easy to forget how powerful saliva is in the digestive process. We want to “harness” the power of the horse’s saliva and do everything possible to have feed fully digested before it can have any opportunity to move to the hindgut. Undigested grains reaching the hind gut can wreak havoc, possibly causing colic and/or laminitis/founder.

Shelf life —this process increases the shelf life of the feed, making it much more stable than other forms. This becomes very important as the weather gets warmer. This form of feed also will not freeze or “brick” in the winter.

To sum up: improved feed safety, a more natural eating behavior and increased pre-caecal and total tract digestibility help to minimize common digestive challenges that can lead to choke, colic, laminitis and/or founder. More calories are available to the horse for maintaining or increasing weight and body condition. The five varieties of Sentinel® Horse Feeds made by the Kent Nutrition Group (Blue Seal & Kent brands) are 100% extruded. These Nutrient Release Formula feeds are made with all natural low starch and sugar ingredients and have feeds for every stage of life, from broodmares & foals, working horses in all disciplines to the senior horse or pasture pet. Your local Kent Nutrition Group Territory Sales Manager is available for questions about the feeds and equine nutrition, feeding programs/suggestions, more information about specific nutrition and more. They can be reached by calling customer service at 866-647-1212.
*Janice Lavrich is the Territory Sales Manager in Western NY/PA /OH for the Kent Nutrition Group, makers of Blue Seal and Kent feeds. She has been a horse owner for over 40 years and had shown Hunter/Jumpers for 20 years before getting involved with Thoroughbred racing 25 years ago. There are always a mix of broodmares, babies, show horses, race horses and retirees on the farm, and her feed room now looks like a feed store.
Get to Know- Mary O'Brien
The 2018 Modified Adult Medal Final at the 10th anniversary Downeast Medal Finals was won by Mary O'Brien and her horse Oh So Smooth. In this Get to Know series, we will be highlighting the champions of our 2018 Medal Finals classes as well as our 2018 Hunter Derbies. Here is what Mary had to say:

"Hi! I'm Mary O'Brien from Newburyport, MA. I am 22 years old, recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, and will be attending Suffolk University Law School in the fall. I have been riding for the past 16 years, all of which at Evenstride Farms working with Olana Laffey, Michelle Abren, and Andrea Laffey. However, while at Mount Holyoke, I was able to work intensively with CJ Law, the IHSA hunt seat coach. I got into riding when I went through the "ohmygoshPONIES" phase that most six-year-olds go through. Because of my Dad's childhood experience riding, and knowing how much he enjoyed his time in the saddle, my parents decided to sign me up for some lessons to see how it went. I never looked back. I own Ossa, AKA Oh So Smooth, and have had her for the past 7 years. Through our work together, Ossa and I have come leaps and bounds since our long stirrup days. Last year was my second year at the Downeast and both shows were amazing experiences run and attended by really great people. I'm lucky enough be surrounded by a phenomenal community at Evenstride, as well as an incredibly supportive family and one of the best horses ever (not biased). I'm excited to see what the 2019 show season brings us and hope to be back to the Downeast in September!"
We would like to thank New England Equine for their generous sponsorship and continued support of the Downeast Medal Finals.

New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center
The New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center is a private veterinary referral hospital and practice located in Dover, NH. The extraordinary talent, compassion and dedication of their doctors and staff bring the highest quality diagnostic and therapeutic care of horses to the New England region and beyond. Their specialized experience in surgery, internal medicine, lameness and sports medicine, diagnostic imaging, ophthalmology, physical therapy and a variety of other areas of expertise provides our clients with not only the most comprehensive diagnostic capabilities, but also the most efficacious treatment options available.

In addition to being available 24 hours/7 days a week at the hospital in Dover NH, they also provide farm call services to NH, southern ME, and northeastern MA. Cases are seen in hospital and now are also being seen in the field. When you call New England Equine, you get the time, attention and experience of eight equine veterinarians and a great support staff as well! Visit  for more information. 
Upcoming Shows with Downeast Qualifying Classes
June 2 Back Bay Farm Ipswich, MA
June 2 Seacoast Horse Show Series Fremont, NH
June 2 Tri-County Horsemen Union, ME
June 8 NHHJA Fremont, NH
June 9 Cornerstone Haverhill, MA
June 9 NEJA Summer H/J Classic Lisbon, ME
June 9 Stonewall at West Neck Nobleboro, ME
June 15 Downeast Horse Congress Skowhegan, ME
June 16 Central Mass Horse Show Spencer, MA
June 16 North Shore Senator Bell, Chester, NH
June 22 NHHJA Fremont, NH
June 23 SeaHorse Stables Belfast, ME
June 30 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
June 30 Spring Tide Farm Boxford, MA
July 3-7 NHHJA Summer Festival Halifax, MA
July 7 Maine Hunter Jumper Summer Classic Hollis, ME
July 14 Cornerstone Haverhill, MA
July 14 Tri-County Horsemen Union, ME
July 21 NEJA Summer H/J Classic II Lisbon, ME
July 21 Stonewall at West Neck Nobleboro, ME
July 27 Seacoast Horse Show Series Fremont, NH
July 28 Lucky Clover Stables Sanford, ME
July 28 Lupine Farm Summer Show Vassalboro, ME
Want to see your show listed here? Fill out our  Downeast Classes Form !
Become a Downeast Medal Finals Sponsor:
All levels accepted and appreciated! 
Visit  for more information.
For more information or to become a sponsor, please email Ginger at .

Thank you to Spotted Vision Photography and Riitta Fortier for providing us with many wonderful photographs from the Downeast Medal Finals.
Bernard Klingenstein/Euclide Albert Memorial
Lucky Clover Stables (207-651-1881)
Maggie Mae Memorial
My Horse Heroes Memorial
Peter N. Thompson Memorial
SeaHorse Stables
Seery Hill