April 2015 Issue - page 11

April 2015
Page 11
Manheim, PA
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feet or more before they see the
light of day again. When they
do finally emerge, they will
have been profoundly changed.
In the stomach, enzymes and
acids break down solid parti-
cles; then in the small intestine
carbohydrates are broken down
into simple sugars, which are ab-
sorbed to provide energy for the
horse. The last stop in the trek
from carrot, grain and forage to
the great afterlife is the hind-
gut, where bacteria break down
fibrous feeds into volatile fatty
acids, another energy source for
This complex chain of
events begins the moment food
enters a horse’s mouth. And
everything—from the condi-
tion of the horse’s teeth, to the
amount of fibrous forage, to
the availability of fresh water,
to the horse’s basic mental and
physical condition—affects the
outcome of that most basic activ-
ity: eating. A healthy equine
digestive system is a finely-cal-
ibrated machine that will turn
those carrots—along with the
hay and grain and forage a horse
consumes—into well-formed
balls of manure. It’s a marvel of
evolution thousands of years in
the making.
But machines are not per-
fect, and sometimes they break
down. Fowler says that Babing-
ton Mills feeds are designed to
ensure that the machinery is not
sidetracked by starches and sug-
ars that don’t contribute to the
efficient uptake and utilization
of the calorie value of the food.
“All our diets focus on the for-
age the horse gets and then we
top off what the forage is lack-
ing,” Fowler says. “The horse is
presented with a fiber-based diet
that is low in starch and low in
He says that this type of diet
helps eliminate excitability from
sugar spikes and minimizes the
chance of horses’ developing
gastric ulcers. He describes the
whole program as a holistic effort
to keep horses doing the jobs
they’re supposed to do, whether
they’re trail horses, race horses,
or mares with foals.
Location, Location, Location
From sunup to sundown,
Babington Mills has solutions
for horse owners, from food
to bedding! Several years ago
Babington introduced a product
called BedEdge, a wheat straw
bedding that provides a high-ab-
sorbency and virtually dust-free
non-toxic bedding solution for
stalls. The enterprise is head-
quartered on a farm that Babing-
ton purchased about five years
ago. “Kevin bought a hay farm
to base the production facility.”
Fowler says. “Then he put a
revolutionary mill in that allows
him to chop fiber and forage.”
Fowler says that the mill can
chop and clean forage and re-
move all the dust. “What we end
up with is a very clean sample
of hay that we can mix other
(Continued from page 5)
ingredients into.” Those other
ingredients include oats, which
are also grown on the Babington
Mills farm near Hamburg, and
chelated minerals.
Fowler says that most of
the raw materials in the feed and
bedding produced by Babington
Mills come from the farm or
from nearby farms. They also
purchase some hay from a farm
in the Finger Lakes area of New
York. “We don’t use herbicide or
pesticides,” he says, and neither
do their suppliers.
Fowler says that after a
few hiccups in production,
Babington Mills is ready to
start marketing their products.
“We have been flying under the
radar for the last two years,”
he says. “We had some issues
with production which we’ve
sorted through. We’ve tended to
go to high end barns. It’s been
received well, but we haven’t
launched it to the mass market
at all.” He says that Babington
Mills is now “raring to get it
Irish Olympian Kevin Babington’s New
Venture Explores What Horses Want
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