By Nikki Alvin-Smith

The 9th Annual European Equine Health and Nutrition Congress (EEHNC), held at Utrecht University, Netherlands, February 15th -17th, 2019, hosted leading equine scientists from around the world to distribute and discuss recent key developments in horse health. This highly regarded event was attended by almost 250 delegates from 20 countries.

Cavalor, a foremost brand in equine health and nutrition, is a Gold Level sponsor and principal organizer of this important event. The contribution of Cavalor, this Belgium based company to the EEHNC, is fueled by their mission and ongoing commitment to provide innovation, research supported, quality products to the equine industry.

Belgium born Dr. Caroline Loos, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar at the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky, has worked closely with Cavalor North America since 2010. Dr. Loos, recipient of the conference’s Free Communication Award, presented on topic of “Consumption of a High Protein Meal Affects Insulin Responses in Horses With Insulin Dysregulation.”  Additionally, Cavalor presented the results of a recent study using their new supplement, Cavalor Bronchix Pulmo, with a poster entitled “The Use of An Oral Phyto-Supplement in racehorses with EIPH.”

Here some key take away points from the Congress that Dr. Loos shared:

“Discussion on equine microbiota show that microbes play a critical role in horse health and that changes in the horse microbiome happen extremely quickly. Horses switched from a straight hay diet to a hay/grain diet experienced microbiome changes and consequently exhibited more stressful and nervous behavior. This indicates the importance of enough fiber in the equine diet. The microbes in the stomach of the horse and the types of microbes found change depending on the diet of the horse. Starch utilizing these bacteria increase with high starch diets, which could contribute to ulcer development,” explained Loos.

Cavalor have dedicated themselves to inventing, manufacturing and distributing the best quality and most effective equine nutrition products and know that high quality ingredients are imperative to ensure effective results, a fact that scientists at the Congress confirmed according to Loos:

“Feeding quality fiber is paramount if young horses are to develop a robust metabolism and immune system to face the challenges of an active work life. Several performance horses can achieve maximum performance on all fiber diets but the success of such diets rests in the inclusion of high quality, highly digestible and energetic fiber ingredients, such as beet pulp, fermented alfalfa chaff, and soy hulls, among others.”

For trainers that soak hay before feeding the importance of analysis of the hay after soaking was stressed as an important component in ensuring a balanced diet.

“Soaking hay can result in a significant loss in nutrients and changes in the bacterial content of the forage. At this point we do not know how this change in bacterial content could affect horses, but it is essential that horses are slowly adapted to soaked forage. Due to this nutrient loss, it is important to analyze the hay after soaking when formulating rations to ensure correct calculation of dietary intake,” said Loos.

A considerable quantity of evidence was presented regarding the impact of the broodmare’s diet on the health of her offspring. Research showed that the mare’s diet and bodyweight during, and even prior to pregnancy, has significant impact on growth, health and potentially athletic capacity of the foal in later life. Therefore, it is essential to keep broodmares at a healthy weight and feed a well-balanced, high quality diet.

During her presentation on the consumption of high protein meals and its effect on insulin responses in horses with insulin dysregulation, Dr. Loos evidenced from her studies the practical implications of current feeding strategies focused on reduced starch/sugar intake for this condition:

“Even with controlled NSC (non-structural carbohydrates) intake, higher levels of dietary protein could still result in an undesirable, excessive insulin response,” stated Loos. This finding upholds Cavalor’s protein philosophy of keeping protein levels moderate in their horse feeds.

The new Cavalor product Bronchix Pulmo, showed promising results in reducing the occurrence of EIPH (exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage or lung bleeding) and airway inflammation in active racehorses.

“16 Thoroughbred racehorses in training (15 with EIPH), were supplemented daily with Cavalor Bronchix Pulmo for 25 days. These horses were scoped after exercise before and after supplementation and evaluated for other health parameters. The results showed a significant reduction in tracheal mucus and in the carina (cartilage area in the trachea) thickness score. After 25 days of supplementation no more bleeding was found in the horses after an intensive training, and the horses exhibited reduced inflammation markers,” Loos explained.

These take-home messages indicate just a few of the interesting scientific findings presented at this important Congress. Cavalor congratulates Dr. Caroline Loos on her achievements and dedication in the world of horse nutritionand health care, and on winning this prestigious award. Collaborative efforts by Cavalor North America’s global scientific team continue to ensure effective product development and further secure its position as a world leader in equine nutrition in high-performance horses. For more information on the Cavalor line of feeds, supplements and horse care products please do not hesitate to contact Cavalor through their website at

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: Internationally published freelance writer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York.