Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Karen Briggs
November 01 2009
They represent only a tiny portion of your horse's feed intake, but they pack a nutritional wallop several times their size.
Break down the components of the equine diet and think, for a moment, about what each accomplishes for your horse.
Fiber forms the basis of his energy intake for maintenance metabolism--the everyday, low-key workings of his body. It also stimulates the digestive system and helps keep it functioning.
Protein provides the amino acid "building blocks" for the growth and repair of the body's tissues.
Carbohydrates offer a concentrated energy kick for the faster, harder, longer work you ask of your performance horse.
Fats give your horse a concentrated, easy-to-digest alternative energy source to fuel long-distance work, and they help promote a shiny coat and support the reproductive system. They also assist with weight gain when adding protein is not an option.
The function of minerals and vitamins, however, can't be summed up in a sentence or two. The work they do on behalf of your horse is so varied, so comprehensive, and so amazing that they deserve a little more appreciation than they normally receive. Tiny though these elements may be, they're crucial to your horse's every conceivable function. So let's take a closer look.