In the beautiful Karkloof Valley, the sun rises through the frosty mist to bathe the morning in golden light. To the backdrop of the magnificent Loskop Mountain, a feed mill starts up for the day with a bustle of activity… glorious green lucerne waits to be offloaded, a hum of machinery comes from the mill and above it all, the delicious scent of freshly milled horse feed hangs in the air.
This is the home of Spurwing Horse Feeds.
A farm-based, family-run business, the Spurwing Horse Feeds mill is one of the only dedicated horse feed mills in the country. That means there is no chance of cross-contamination with raw materials or ingredients that may be harmful to horses.
Started by the Benson family more than 25 years ago, the feed recipes are closely guarded and have been developed with attention to detail by a top equine nutritionist, and with stringent insistence on using raw materials of outstanding quality. The emphasis has always been on producing a top feed, using the best ingredients to provide healthy feed options for all types of horse and all horse disciplines.
And the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If the Benson horses are anything to go by, then the feed must be healthy and delicious. From broodmares to racehorses, polo ponies to eventers, every horse is in magnificent condition, glossy with good health. And this is where the Benson family differs, because not only is the farm manufacturing horse feed, farming pigs, beef and maize, but there is also a vested interest in breeding quality Warmbloods and racehorses, as well as in playing polo and competing in eventing and show-jumping. Producing polo ponies and keeping them in good nick proved to be the start of Spurwing Horse Feeds – constant comments on the excellent condition and quality of their home-bred and home-fed horses led to the production of the Spurwing range of horse feeds in 1993. Proudly the family racehorse breeding stud, Kjell Foundation, has had numerous successes from a small band of broodmares. The Spurwing born and raised Fez, Gilded Minaret, Eastern Greeting, Kwinta, Kalaam, Red Crescent, London Niece and Game View have won/placed in some of the top races in the country.
Spurwing Horse Feeds is committed to the health of the horse and all rations are high-fibre and non-pelletised as extensive research has proven that rough muesli-type rations are more beneficial for long-term gut health. The feed range is made up of a good selection of grain-free and grain-inclusive rations, plus fibre options in the form of Spurwing Lucerne Conditioner Mix and Spurwing Hay Presto. Spurwing has led the field in the use of extruded full-fat soya as an energy source and all of the maize is extruded to improve digestibility and to allow for digestion in the foregut, which reduces the danger of acidosis, which can lead to colic, laminitis and azoturia.
The Spurwing brand has always been synonymous with outstanding customer care and personalised attention to detail and this will never change. Loyal customers will testify to the lengths and breadths the Spurwing team will go to to provide solutions for personalised feeding programs, follow-up and care. As part of their customer care, a Spurwing rep will visit your yard, measure each horse and take down a detailed feed history together with any dietary concerns, and will customise a nutritionally balanced feed program for each horse. Our reps say: “We are passionate about equine nutrition. To that end we have invested time and effort in educating rural horse owners about how to feed and care for their horses. We also host nutrition talks at local yards and feed agents, and our passion for equine nutrition even has us teaching at pony clubs and pony camps. To book your yard visit or to plan a nutrition talk, please find our contact details on our website – we look forward to hearing from you!”
Spurwing Horse Feeds has also steadfastly supported the equine disciplines over many years. Locally, they are proud sponsors of the popular Spurwing Horse Trials which takes place at the Karkloof Polo Club. This successful event draws up to 150 competitors and their horses for an action-packed three days of dressage, show-jumping and cross-country. Widely regarded as the best eventing show in South Africa, competitors are treated to a magnificent cross-country track set to the backdrop of the ever-present Loskop Mountain and Karkloof Hills. Spectators are entertained by the thrill of magnificent horses and the spill of riders at the water complex. Needless to say, a wonderful weekend is had by all and this outstanding event would not be possible without the hard work and dedication from the whole Spurwing team.
Over the years, the range, distribution and market share of the feed has grown. Today, Spurwing Horse Feeds can be found in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State and KZN, and there are plans for a diversified range in the future.