About Us

Over the last 30 years, Dr John Kohnke has become the most well known Australian veterinarian as an adviser on the nutrition and practical health care of horses. He provides a nutritional consultancy service to many trainers and studs, as well as owners and riders of equestrian horses.

He has written and edited two major books and numerous book chapters on equine nutrition, which have become well recognised hand books for horse training, breeders, owners and veterinarians throughout the world. He has written over 2000 articles on horse feeding and health care, presented over 1800 seminars and lectured on horse nutrition to students of horse care courses.

His interest in equine nutrition and feeds has provided him with specialist knowledge in formulating dietary supplements to meet the specific needs of all types of horses.

He has now formulated an innovative range of feed supplements and horse care products, distinguished by the Kohnke’s Own brand name.

The Kohnke’s Own range of supplements are based on scientific formulations that will help ensure that the mineral, trace-mineral and vitamin content of your horse’s diet will not be a limiting factor to its health of performance.

The nutritional range is centred around six separate cold-pressed supplement pellets, or Supplets®, an innovative, high quality nutrient dense small food pellet developed especially for the Kohnke’s Own range of supplements. Each Supplet type contains specific classes of nutrients to ensure optimum stability, which are blended in different proportions relative to the nutrient needs of growing, breeding, exercising and resting horses. Separate supplements of Vitamin E, iron and salts are also available to correct specific inadequacies in the diets of horses, where necessary.

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Providing Extra Energy for Competitive Horses
Some performance horses begin to lack energy and impulsion when trained or competed for a number of consecutive days. In some cases, lower energy ‘cool’ feeds are fed to reduce the risk of a horse being too energetic during training. Many of these ‘cool’ feeds are based on bran, fibre and low GI feed ingredients to help keep a horse calm and less energetic. However, as a horse takes up to 48 hours to replenish its muscle energy stores after an exhaustive work out (as compared to 12 hours for a human athlete or greyhound), a horse can suffer from a lack of impulsion and appear tired during subsequent training or competition days. In this case, feeding a slow release starch energy feed, such as 1-1½ kg of steam-rolled barley on the 2 days leading up to a weekend competition, or even 1kg of freshly cracked corn (maize), will help replenish and improve muscle energy stores to ensure that the horse maintains ‘oomph’, impulsion and ‘flare’ in its work.

Some larger breeds may require more than the 1½ kg of extra steam-rolled barley to give them the energy to train and compete. Steam-rolled barley delivers a sustained, slower uptake of sugars, as compared to oats (which may be a useful energy boost at the same rate in a particularly ‘sluggish’ horse). It is an ideal ‘cool’ energy supplement for hard training days, eg for lessons and for the days before and during competition. It can be reduced or taken out of the ration once the horse returns to normal training, as well as on planned rest days. If a horse gets too energetic, reduce the amount in 500g steps at 3-5 day intervals under a constant exercise program until the horse retains the ‘oomph’ you require, but is not hard to handle.
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Good info Amy and Sandra

4 days ago   ·  2
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Louise Maguire

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Kym Stein Robert Stein

5 days ago
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Pasture and Hay for Horses
Grazing from pasture is the best and cheapest choice of feed to maintain the general needs of most horses. Native pastures are ideal, but they are rarely found in areas large enough to support the needs of horses. Investing in your pastures can give better ability to sustain multiple horses. This can be achieved by adopting good pasture management, such as weed reduction, implementing rotational grazing or improving the types of grasses available. Grasses can be selected relative to soil type and rainfall to maximize for digestibility, growth rate, palatability, hardiness, nutrient content, seasonal growth, climate suitability or their possibility to be harvested as hay.
A horse which has access to grazing pasture can benefit from socialisation opportunities, natural grazing and selection behaviour, freedom to self-exercise, a healthier digestive system and a lower cost feed bill if the pasture contributes most of the diet. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to pastures for their horse. There are many reasons for this, such as drought conditions, small acreage where multiple horses cannot be sustained and horses which need to be stabled. There are many roughages available to select based on your horse’s needs and your budget.
Lucerne hay is by far the most used and consistent type of roughage added to the horses’ diet. Lucerne is a very palatable roughage and leafy lucerne hay has a very good nutrient content, but it is usually the most expensive hay type available. Lucerne has a very good crude protein level of anywhere between 14.5% and 18%, depending on at which stage it is cut. Pre-bloom has the highest nutrient levels and is generally classed as prime or ‘racehorse’ hay. Although lucerne hay is lower in simple sugars compared to grass hays, the total energy available on digestion of this roughage, and the level of protein, may be too much for some horses. It is usually recommended that only about 1/3 by weight of lucerne hay is provided per day with the rest of the roughage by weight made up of grass hay.
Meadow hay or grassy lucerne has a similar energy level to pure lucerne but has a lower crude protein level. This means that it will be suitable for more classes of horses, but if is predominately grass, it is more variable in nutrients, including the sugar content. Grass crops that are stressed or contain higher proportion of weeds may, when baled and dried as hay, have a higher than recommended level of water soluble carbohydrates (WSCs), which may cause weight gain or laminitis in Insulin Resistant (IR) or EMS horses.
Oaten hay is another popular hay. It has an energy level slightly lower compared to lucerne, but the crude protein level is about half that of lucerne hay. The hay will be very palatable if it is harvested just as the seed heads (‘milk’ head stage) are forming and keeps some of its green appearance. Oaten hay that is baled too old or very dry will not be as appealing to horses. Wheaten hay is available in some areas, but more often it is made into chaff. Wheat develops a seed head which consists of prickly spikes which can cause impaction problems in horses. Wheaten chaff is quite palatable quite often horses will prefer this to oaten. In cases where it is chaffed from a stunted wheat crop under drought conditions, it had more mature (lignin) fibre and is less digestible to horses.
Rye is a pasture species often associated with horse pasture. Some species of rye can cause problems, such as rye grass staggers. It is best to use rye in a mix with other pasture species. Rye stems leaves are very rough and the hay should be dampened and allowed to soak to soften it for 10 minutes before offering it to horses, otherwise it may compact in the hindgut and result in colic. Clover is another legume often found in horse pastures. It will add some nutritional benefits to a pasture blend, but has higher sugar (WSC) and protein content so it is not recommended for resting or lightly worked horses. It is also more likely, because it is a succulent prostrate plant at ground level, to harbour moulds and mycotoxins
As we head into the cooler Autumn and Winter months, hay supply can become limited and prices can increase, with many different varieties of hay on the market at varying prices. It is important to select the most suitable type for your horse. To decrease costs, you can vary your hay types fed, for example including a biscuit or two of lucerne hay within a mix of grassy or cereal hay (instead of lucerne only) will help to reduce the cost of the feed ration, as well as providing a more palatable ration and better nutrition for your horse.
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I am interested in how dry or stalky Teff hay is?? I have miniature horses and have found they are less prone to colic episodes on softer/ leafy hays. Wondering if Teff would be a suitable alternative to lucerne??

7 days ago

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Thoughts on good barley hay please

2 weeks ago   ·  3

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Thanks for another well considered and articulate post Dr Kohnke. Shared.

2 weeks ago   ·  2

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I feed fine cut Rhodes for my laminitis pony but your article suggests it is higher in sugar and it is not the best choice over Lucerne. Is that correct?

2 weeks ago

1 Reply

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This is great advice on the different types of hay and what they actually do for your horse's health and well being. Thanks John and the team. 😍😍😍

2 weeks ago   ·  2
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Hi. Is your Cal-Xtra a pellet or powder formula?

22 hours ago
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Thank you for sharing will share this

2 weeks ago   ·  2
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Mandy Conner thought u might want to read this

3 days ago
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Taysha Field this led me on that tangent

2 weeks ago
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Chloe Gurtler

22 hours ago
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1 week ago
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