Q and A with KER, WEG Tryon 2018 Official Equine Nutritionist

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) has a history of feeding top horses at international competitions.

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) employees take orders and deliver feed, forage, apples and carrots to competitors at the WEG Tryon 2018. Courtesy Kentucky Equine Research

Nutrition is plays a key role in keeping performance horses healthy and competing at top form. This is even more important when horses are traveling long distances for that competition. We took a moment to chat with the folks at Kentucky Equine Research (KER), the Official Equine Nutritionist at the WEG Tryon 2018. 

Q. What is KER’s role at FEI WEG Tryon 2018?

A. As the Official Equine Nutritionist, we facilitated the importation and local sourcing of feeds and forages, as well as some types of bedding, for all competing horses. Once feeds are on the venue, we keep them securely stored and maintain inventory, while also handling the ordering and delivery process. We also pre-tested the imported feeds for naturally-occurring prohibited substances.

Q. Do you have nutritionists on site, and what are their jobs?

A. Yes. Drs. Joe Pagan and Kathleen Crandell, both PhD equine nutritionists, have been on site to advise teams as needed. Some examples of situations they might help with are horses that didn’t travel well and need adjustments to their usual ration or feeding management to get them back to eating and drinking well or advising on managing the nutrition of horses with a history of issues like tying-up. Some teams didn’t bring their own feed, so they appreciate advice on which comparable feeds we have available on the venue to minimize disruptions.

Q. What is KER’s history of doing this type of feeding service to major events?

A. We have been doing this work at major international equestrian events for over 20 years. Because we work with dozens of partners around the world, we understand the complexities and logistics of moving these products across borders and have the contacts to source feeds and forages globally.

Q. How many pounds of carrots/apples are you supplying per day?

A. As of September 10, we had already delivered almost 5 tons of carrots and apples, when only a fraction of the horses were on the venue. Carrots are available in 5- or 25-pound packages and apples are available in 5- or 40-pound orders. We got the bigger packages to accommodate teams that order as a group, but a surprising number of grooms ordering for a single horse are also taking that option. There are some very happy horses in Tryon!

Q. What are some of the unusual requests you get for feed?

A. We’re handling hundreds of different feeds and several types and varieties of forages, but there’s always a surprise or two! We try to accommodate special requests whenever possible, but some things just aren’t readily available in the United States, in which case we try to recommend alternatives.

Q. What else are you seeing as the Official Equine Nutritionist?

A. A couple other points of interest are:

  • We are running through electrolytes very quickly, given the heat and humidity—we’ve had to restock those a few times already!
  • We’re delivering over 100 orders per day.
  • Because of the heat and the length of the competition, we have feed stored in several refrigerated trailers to prevent it from spoiling.
  • To prepare for the storm, we’ve staged several wrapped pallets of hay securely in each barn. If the conditions are too bad to safely take the carts out to deliver, we’ll still be able to pull from this stock to keep forage in front of the horses at all times.

Health coverage from the FEI WEG Tryon 2018 is brought to you by KindredBio

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