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Eleanor Blazer

Rice Bran
By Eleanor Blazer
         We all strive for a stable relationship; a stable job; stable investments and stabilized rice bran.
          Yes, if you are feeding your horse rice bran it must be stabilized.

          Rice bran is a byproduct of making white rice for human consumption.  It is high in fat, B vitamins and phosphorus.  Many horse owners use it to increase calories in a horse’s diet.

          Rice bran needs to be heated under pressure to deactivate the enzyme “lipase”.  Lipase is a naturally occurring enzyme within the digestive system that breaks down fat.  Because lipase is also present in rice bran, it breaks down the beneficial fat within the product – causing the rice bran to quickly become rancid.

          “Raw” rice bran should never be fed to horses.  It can cause digestive upset and colic.

          The high phosphorus content of rice bran is detrimental to horses.  Horses require a ratio of one and a half up to two parts calcium to one part phosphorus.  Raw rice bran has an inverted ratio – the phosphorus is higher than the calcium. 

          Companies that sell stabilized rice bran add calcium to the product; balancing the calcium to phosphorus ratio.

          In 2008 researchers, at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, released a study that detected arsenic in nine human grade rice bran products.  Arsenic is a chemical element which is present in the environment (water, soil and air). It also appears in food.  If enough arsenic is consumed it can cause cancer.

          Nutritionists advise weighing the benefits of any product against the risks involved.  For example, there may be traces of arsenic in water, but we can’t live without water.

          The benefit of feeding rice bran is the ability to increase energy without using a product high in starch. Because it is high in fat, only a small amount needs to be fed – avoiding the risk of having to feed large quantities of concentrates to achieve the desired results.

          Rice bran can help put weight on horses, increase stamina and improve coat condition. 

          If you decide to try stabilized rice bran gradually introduce it to your horse’s diet.  Take at least 10 days to build up to the recommended amount.  Divide the amount between two or more feedings each day.

          In this time of instability, at least one thing in your life can be stabilized!