High-Fat Horse Diets: Performance Horses

Dec 23, 2019


A high-performing horse can have up to twice the calorie requirement as the same horse in a maintenance stage. Owners and trainers of performance horses often give more feed to meet that calorie need. Because horses can use fat as a calorie source efficiently, and fat contains more than double the calories of starch, high-fat horse feeds make perfect sense to increase the energy intake without greatly increasing the quantity of feed needed. 
Feeding higher-fat, controlled starch level feeds can play a role in lowering the chance of colic and laminitis by reducing the amount of starch (carbohydrates) in the ration. Here’s why: 
  • Horses with a very high grain ration are often at risk because high levels of grain feeding can cause a starch overload in the small intestine and cecum.
  • Overloading the small intestine with starch allows that extra starch to pass in to the cecum and large colon, which is where forage is digested.
  • Fiber digestion is accomplished by the bacterial and protozoal populations residing in these organs. When starch enters the cecum the pH drops and this bacterial population dies.
  • This can result in a cascade of events that may include colic, laminitis and death.
Keep in mind that starch is still a crucial part of a horse’s diet, and is required for proper muscle function.  As horse owners, it is best to work towards an optimal balance of all nutrients in the diet, not the use of one to replace another.   A proper balance of controlled starch levels, along with increased fat levels in the horse feed, will help deliver a horse that is ready to go and has the fuel in the tank to keep on going.

 
 

Read More News

Jan 30,2023
Raising backyard chickens may seem like a good idea, but be aware that there could be bumps in the road. It is likely less expensive to buy meat and eggs from the store than to produce them yourself at home.
Jan 23,2023
Healthy hooves enable your cows and calves to achieve optimal lifetime performance and excel in all stages from reproduction to the feedlot. Feeding the best diet that includes premium trace mineral nutrition optimizes hoof health and helps prevent lameness issues that require costly treatment. 
 
Jan 18,2023
Now that your cows have calved, it’s time to focus on raising healthy, productive calves. You can improve herd performance through proven nutrition, resulting in improved cow performance and heavier calf weaning weights that drive profitability.