Posted on April 6, 2018
As horse owners and managers across Canada and the U.S. ride toward a bright new future shaped by enhanced equine care approaches, they are well positioned to benefit from a new stable of top feed and nutrition approaches that are raising the bar on precision and quality. Many of the latest trends and advances are featured at the 2018 Can-Am Equine Expo, April 6-8 in Markham, Ontario.
“The approaches to caring for horses continue to evolve. One thing very clear today is that the capability we have to support optimal health, welfare and performance by better utilizing feed and nutrition has never been greater,” says Bernie Grumpelt, a leading animal nutritionist with broad equine experience. “We have better knowledge and options to benefit horses at all stages of life, across all roles and specific work, maintenance and performance situations. It’s a great time of opportunity for everyone involved with horses across the diverse equine industry.”
Supporting equine care and welfare
One group participating at the Expo that has been closely involved with the evolution of equine feed and nutrition approaches, and has a unique up-close perspective on the opportunities ahead, is the team at Hoffman’s Horse Products, which includes Grumpelt himself. The roots of the Hoffman’s brand were established in the 90s by Lorne and Marian Hoffman who lived east of Stavely, Alberta and raised and bred quarter horses. They were looking for an improved horse mineral to help address some recurring problems that seemed at least partially nutritionally related – mares would not have good heat cycles and the foals would have issues such as poor knees and bumpy or swollen fetlock joints. They were put in touch with Grumpelt, then early in his career and based out of Lethbridge, who designed a solution that resulted in dramatic improvement completely revolutionizing their operation.
Word of mouth and rising demand for the mineral spread from there. Early on, when customers came to pick up mares and foals, the Hoffman’s would share a bag and as a result there became many more stories of dramatic positive results. Based on requests from customers to put the mineral on the market the Hoffmans eventually did so, making a deal with a local retail chain and the brand was born. Today Hoffman’s Horse Products has expanded to become a full line equine feed brand available across Canada into 16 U.S. states. The original mineral remains an integral component of the line, along with a related high-performance version, with both available in an expanding number of ration options. Grumpelt is now with Country Junction Feeds, which now is the manufacturing base for Hoffman’s Horse Products, part of a team that has steered the brand’s latest expansion phase starting in 2016 that has included a broadened product line and strengthened distribution network.
'Fibre-friendly' feed, low NSC, low feeding rate
“The simple values that grandma and grandpa established when Hoffman’s Horse Products began were based on a love of horses, a commitment to quality and an ethic of helping other fellow horsepeople,” says Kirstin Smith, grand-daughter of Lorne and Marian Hoffman and a marketing representative for Country Junction Feeds. “Those values continue to this day. At the same time we have continued to innovate with the product line.”
A key innovation championed by Hoffman’s is the concept of “fibre-friendly feeds,” developed with uniquely tailored ingredients using advanced nutritional technology, says Tania Laframboise, Ontario marketing representative. “Fibre-friendly feeds allow the animals to maximize the full potential of the nutrients from not just the ration but also from the forages that are being fed on farm.”
“This adds flexibility to the feeding program and supports high efficiency and value for the customer,” says Vanessa Brieitkreuz, also part of the marketing team. Key additional advantages, also reflective of innovation trends and rising industry demand, are industry leading low NSC (non-structural carbohydrate) attributes and low feeding rate requirements.
Quality control including ionophore-free facilities
The rising industry demand for enhanced sophistication and precision across all aspects of ingredients, formulations, manufacturing and delivery, is reflected in the continued advancement all aspects of production of the Hoffman’s line, which now consists of nine rations and two minerals, with several more unique rations under development for future market release. All Hoffman’s products are manufactured in ionophore-free, antibiotic-free facilities, utilizing state-of-the art technology to ensure optimized quality control and consistency.
“The pillars of top feed options today are quality, consistency and nutrition,” says Grumpelt. “If you get those right other benefits flow from those advantages. You ensure your horses are getting everything they need to be at their best. You contribute to high overall standards of animal care and welfare. You also get more mileage from feed. For example with the Hoffman’s line, in addition to the low feeding rate with the ration itself, we’ve had lots of comments from customers that the horses will do very well on five to 10 percent less forage.”
More information on Hoffman’s Horse Products, including more details on the story of the brand’s evolution from its beginnings on the Hoffman’s quarter horse breeding farm, is available at www.hoffmanshorseproducts.com.