This week's Wellness Wednesday is brought to you by Biostar EQ Performance Whole Food. Over the past 6 months, Biostar has had the pleasure to work with Angelea Walkup, dressage rider and owner/host of HorseGirlTV.com. As Angelea shared more and more of her horse Hansel's progress on whole food, we knew we wanted her to share her experience with other riders. Below is an interview with Angelea on the effects of a Whole Food diet on her dressage partner Hansel. To check out the video of the interview - click here! What led you to try whole food? Ultimately, why did you make the change for Hansel? Angelea: I felt like I’d tried everything to build weight and muscle and had pretty much given up hope when I heard about whole foods as an option for horses and the benefits of low or no sugar diets, what sugar actually does. I started by just stopping giving sugar cubes before I rode then that turned into actually reading the ingredients list of the pelleted horse food I was feeding and was really surprised when I found out that sugar was one of the main ingredients and it wasn’t a sweet feed!
So really I ultimately made the change as an experiment. Nothing else had worked to improve his muscling or weight and I’d honestly just thought I couldn’t make it any worse.
What where you trying/feeding/supplementing before trying a whole food alternative?
Angelea: The question should be what I didn’t try because that would be a much shorter list. I talked with a variety of feed production companies and sorted plans for improving his management and I worked with each for a year before realizing it wasn’t the path for Hansel. I went as far as importing feed from a proprietary plant in Europe.
What did you see improve initially with Hansel? Were the changes incremental? Do you continue to see improvement?
Angelea: I didn’t take a massive plunge into whole foods. Like I said, I started by just stopping giving him sugar cubes, then started reading feed bag labels and I read LOTS of bags and they ALL had sugar in them. I found out about BioStar from a few colleagues in Wellington and contacted them directly. I like that the concept wasn’t a feed this bag of stuff with XYZ supplement and that’ll work but rather taking the horse as an individual. It gave me a feeling of empowerment that I was about to embark on preparing my horses feed.
Some of the changes were immediate. I noticed his manure was almost completely different in a day or two, then his coat improved not only in the sheen but the texture as well then I started to notice his muscles really bulking up. His temperament was never super foul but he started getting more relaxed in turn out and less things seems to upset him.
One day I was about to train and looked at his quarters and was like, “Wow! Where did that come from?" Most recently I noticed he is just getting thicker. I think he’s been completely whole foods now for 6 months. I’m hoping I’ll continue seeing the changes as he just gains more weight, builds more muscle and continues to get happier and happier in his work.
How did the switch affect your own perspective on health and nutrition? Are you a “foodie” now? Do you analyze the labels or your own food and supplements?
Angelea: Yes, definitely. In the past, I’ve tried in the past to be conscious of organic, getting away from plastics, free trade, etc but I started being more aware of reading labels after switching my horse to whole foods. wouldn’t call myself a “foodie” yet but I try to be generally focused on eating better. I’ve incorporated flaxseed into my own diet as well as Omega-3, got away from certain oils and also focus on filling my basket at the market with ingredients rather than boxes. I find it easier to make from scratch than reading and re-reading labels. I really just wish there was a BioStar for humans.
As a plan the entire whole foods concept is really easy, really empowering and really created an simple awareness of nutritional management for my horse. I think the Colostrum was the easier to show up first with the shift in his digestive tract, the Empower (hemp seed oil) showed up in his coat, and I love the look and smell of the Optimum cookie and Hansel clamors for them with every feeding.