Delegates from 15 countries attended the Kentucky Equine Research (KER) Conference for Feed Manufacturers, held October 21 and 22, at the company’s worldwide headquarters in Versailles, Kentucky
Dr. Joe Pagan, founder and president of KER, jumpstarted the program with a warm welcome, thanking the guests for attending and being part of the company’s 25th anniversary celebration. The highlight of the morning session involved an update on the novel research conducted at KER.
Pagan shared specific work that the KER research team has done with furosemide, including investigating the effect of administration on energetic efficiency during exercise and excretion of minerals. Other research presented included the effects of dextrose or corn starch on uptake and retention of electrolytes, and the effect of soaking or steaming hay on intake and digestibility.
Dr. Bryan Waldridge, one of the resident veterinarians at KER, reviewed health problems often encountered by feed manufacturer personnel, including nutritional management of colic, gastric ulcers, and certain metabolic conditions.
The last presentation of the first day featured a global panel of expertise: Polly Bonnor from Saracen Horse Feeds, England; Graham Jenkinson and Peter Huntington from KER Australasia; and Steve Caddel and Anthony Koch from Farmers Feed Mill, Kentucky. The group collectively proffered their thoughts on the feeding management of mares and foals, specifically Thoroughbreds, throughout the world as well as differences in preparing horses for public auction.
The second day of the conference featured presentations by Mike Lennox and Rick Sams, both of whom talked about the initiative of feed manufacturers to ensure products are free of substances prohibited by regulatory groups such as state racing commissions and sport-horse organizations, including the FEI and USEF.
Pagan then took the podium to discuss the digital outreach efforts implemented by KER in recent years and the exciting developments available to feed manufacturers that work with KER. The final presentation was given by Eileen Phethean, who explained and demonstrated the MicroSteed™ Online Ration Wizard, a web-based application integrated with PC-based ration evaluation software that enables a continuous communication loop—from the end user to the nutrition specialist to the salesperson in the field. The wizard provides the end user with the most appropriate product selection, feeding advice, and purchase-point access and information.
In addition to the education components of the agenda, guests were invited to an anniversary celebration on the evening preceding the conference.