No matter the task, horses need energy to go, but they also need to not get gut issues. The balancing act is forever on the go. The math sheet for feeding racehorses looks something like how much work will your horse be doing, what level of intensity, their size and breed, and how many calories they need. Add onto that math that for their best health, a horse needs a forage based diet, and it becomes, even more, fun. Grain is the easiest method of feeding for energy and performance, but unfortunately, it tends to sit in the gut and cause all sorts of health issues. Lots of smaller feedings, or grazing, means that there’s food always moving through the gut and lots of saliva generation, which helps keep your horse’s chances at gastric ulcers and other stomach ailments small. Feeding a racehorse compared to say, a trail horse, is, even more, fun.
Do the Math – Intake vs Output
The lower the intensity your equine athlete’s daily jobs are, the more, you can base their diet on forage with a small amount of concentrated feed as necessary. A horse who performs high-intensity work, however, will require more concentrated feed. The hay you’re feeding your horse should be as fresh and clean as possible and mould free. Good hay should smell good to you, even if you wouldn’t eat it! (And if you have allergies, take an antihistamine half an hour in advance of your trip to the feed store.) If you have a hard working four-footed partner, you’ll want to get a specially designed concentrated feed for them, but it shouldn’t make up the majority of their diet. These feeds should be fortified with all the necessary vitamins and minerals that a hard working horse needs to replenish regularly.
Tips for feeding racehorses
Some general guidelines, especially when it comes to feeding racehorses, is to replace starch. You can replace some of it with fat and some of it with fiber. Some horses won’t eat fatty concentrates, some will. As usual, it’s a matter of horses being individualists trying to keep their pet humans guessing. When it comes to fiber, beet pulp and soybean hulls are good choices as they increase the time your horse spends chewing, and that helps with saliva production. More spit is always good when it comes to your horse’s digestion! The bottom line is if you have to include starches in your horse’s diet is to make them as digestible as possible since starch in the large intestine can cause a whole host of problems.
No matter what kind of horse you’re feeding, whether you’re feeding a racehorse or a paddock mower, you’ll want to feed for energy used and healthy GI function. Center your horse’s diet around forage and then add concentrate and supplements as needed. Most performance horses are susceptible to stress which can lead to Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome/EGUS. Abler provide an affordable range of gastric ulcer treatments in three forms, ie Abprazole Granules, AbGard Paste and Omeprazole Tablets.
This article sponsored by Abler, Affordable Equine Medication for happy healthy horses.