German native Gundi Younger, a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist describes the journey to a whole food diet for her horses. Raised in Hamburg, Germany, Gundi got her first pony, a Shetland, when she was four years old. Gundi: We didn’t feed the ponies any grain. We made our own hay and the ponies had pasture. My mother would cut left over rye bread into small cubes and dry them and we would feed those cubes to the horses, plus raw vegetable peelings like potatoes and carrots.In 1996, Gundi met her husband Peter Younger, and moved to England. Gundi soon thereafter retired her Oldenburg gelding, Tip Top and had two sons: Jakob and Tyler. In 2002, Gundi bought Renatino, a four year old dutch mare by Sambertino.
Gundi: In England feeding was controlled and managed by the farm manager. Most farm managers have some British Horse Society certification, which includes thorough education in equine nutrition. Renatino was fed beet pulp, oats, barley, hay and chaff. The horses were always turned out on lush pasture for several hours daily or all night in the summer.
Eight years ago Gundi and Peter moved to the San Francisco Bay area, and Gundi discovered she had to figure out what to feed her horse.
Gundi: It was a shock at first to have limited or no pasture, and mostly sand turnouts. Such a difference from England. I wasn’t familiar with the oat hay fed in many barns in northern California, and the routine of only feeding concentrates once a day.
I started Renatino on LMF Showtime, because it looked most appealing to me from all the different feeds that I saw being used at my boarding facility. It was impossible to get impartial advice on the different feed brands and types. My horse did okay on LMF Showtime but she didn’t look great. I felt she could look and feel better.
Through a mutual friend, Gundi heard about feeding a whole food diet. She went to the BiostarEQ website, read about it, and decided to first start with some whole food supplements.
Gundi: I was getting so many equine catalogues; pages and pages of supplements and that was always confusing me. How do you know which supplement for joints is best, which multi vitamin and mineral to use? Whole food made sense to me. I knew what all the ingredients are and that everything is only minimally processed and is as close to its natural state as possible. Biostar’s concept of food was convincing. I started with Biostar’s Optimum and hemp seed oil and Star Maker and Star Lyte. I noticed a difference in a month; Renatino’s coat was shinier and her body became leaner and better muscled over her topline. That convinced me to put her on a whole food feed program.
Gundi’s conversion to a whole food diet for her horses was four years ago, and now with two more performance horses in her stable plus a pony she says she would never consider going back to commercial feeds.
Gundi: I will never go back to processed feeds. On the whole food diet I can adjust my feed program for each horse. It is such an easy program to customize. The horses love their food and they are happy to go to work. Their energy levels are consistent, they aren’t exhausted after competition. They eat real food that allows them to perform at their best, consistently, because they aren’t eating a diet that is full of fillers and increases inflammation. The whole food feed is such an important component in the whole program of training and competing.
Renatino: 2008: PSG, AA champion California Dressage Society
2009: CDS Intermediare Champion, USDF Region 7 I-I Champion AA
2010: competed at Grand Prix; Gundi earned her USDF Gold medal
Luke Skywalker: 2009 Reserve Futurity Champion Four Year Old, AA, CDS
2011: Open Futurity Champion for 6 year olds, CDS
Bakara: 2011: seventh at FEI Young Horse Finals in Lamplight, IL