Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fueling the Best of the Best

We’re very proud to say that we can feed horses of any discipline, age and activity level. We have nutritional products that can meet the needs of essentially every horse out there and if a need does go unmet, you can just about bet our research team is on the case.

Every four years, the USEF sends the top American horse and rider pairs to compete on sport’s biggest stage. This year, the destination was London not only for the Olympics but also the FEI World Endurance Championships that follow a few weeks after. At Purina, we have relationships with some of the best riders and trainers in all disciplines. As a result, we team up to help make sure their nutrition programs maintain consistent performance so they can focus on the final preparations for competition and this summer was no exception.
When we learned some of our ambassadors would be heading to the UK, we quickly set the right wheels in motion. Shipping feed overseas may seem like a relatively easy task but you might be surprised. There are several factors to consider including quantity, products, customs, shipping conditions, testing, arrival times and final delivery on site.
Once we had confirmations of the feed needed and how much, we began working to make sure we were able to deliver to expectations.
We selected one Purina plant in Milford, IN to pull all our products from to ensure the freshest product available and to also make sure all the feed we shipped came from the same lot as the samples we submitted for testing. At international levels of competition, the horses are thoroughly tested for a multitude of substances. We submitted all our products headed overseas for testing to provide peace of mind and a record of quality and safety.
We enlisted a third party to handle the shipping container as well as delivery to the host farms on site in the UK. We labeled each bag with the recipient’s name, discipline and federation and included packing lists with specific orders to keep everything headed in the right direction. Thanks to a lot of teamwork from our Milford plant, Dr. Katie Young and the team behind the scenes, some of our nation’s best were able to check one more item off their list of pre-game preparations.
We are extremely proud to support members of the US team and congratulate all the riders, horses and support teams for the well-deserved award of representing their country this summer in London!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Drs. Vineyard and Gordon present Purina research at a national scientific meeting

It is no secret that we stay very busy with research projects throughout the year at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, MO. Not surprisingly, every project is in some way related to horse feed, whether it is the formulation, palatability, physiological effect on the horse, or some other aspect we are interested in. The results of all these studies are used to enhance our current products or to create new ones. When we discover something we feel is of interest to other nutritionists (and is not considered proprietary), we will present and publish the results of the study at a national scientific meeting to an audience of our peers (i.e. other scientists).

Scientific meetings are a great place to meet with fellow nutritionists and discover what is new and exciting in the world of equine nutrition. The American Society of Animal Science held its annual meeting in mid-July in Phoenix, AZ, and Dr. Gordon and I attended to present 2 Purina research posters.

The study I presented was entitled “Biochemical markers of bone metabolism in growing Quarter Horses fed a higher starch versus a higher fat diet”. This abstract was published in the Journal of Animal Science (W146, J.Anim. Sci. Vol. 90, Suppl. 3).
Dr. Gordon presented a study entitled “Horses decrease water intake when supplements are added to drinking water”. This abstract was also published in the Journal of Animal Science (W138, J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 90, Suppl. 3).
One other fun thing for me was to be featured as part of the “I am an Animal Scientist” campaign at the meeting. The Animal Science Society asked members to send in a picture of themselves doing something with the animal they work with and to provide a quote explaining "why you are an Animal Scientist”. These photos/quotes were posted at various places at the convention center where the meetings took place. I just wish I had been a little less “verbose” so that more of my horse Roman would have shown up in the picture!
All in all, attending and presenting data at scientific meetings is a great way to stay on top of the latest research and to share information with other scientists that ultimately can be used for the benefit of the horse.