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Article written by KPP staff.
Fat is an unsuitable ingredient in the diets of endurance horses.
Fat is not only a perfectly acceptable component in the diets of all performance horses, it sometimes proves to be a necessary ingredient. Due to the intense work that endurance horses perform, many are unable to maintain optimal body condition when fed forages (pasture and hay) and traditional concentrates (textured or pelleted sweet feed). Because fats contain more than two times the energy of carbohydrates, they have become commonplace in the rations of successful endurance horses worldwide.
In fact, endurance horses fed fat may have an advantage over those that are not. As horses consume fat as part of their daily diets over a long period of time, their bodies become adept at using it as an energy source, allowing the horse to conserve more valuable fuels such as glycogen.
In a study conducted comparing the utilization of fat among breeds, researchers found that Arabians are most efficient at employing fat as an energy source.
At the 2005 World Endurance Championships, held in Dubai, nearly all of the horses were fed an identical concentrate supplied by the event’s sponsor, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. That feed was a high-fat formulation, and the finish times were blisteringly fast.
Because fat slows digestion, it adversely affects performance and should be avoided in the diets of endurance horses...
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