Friday, June 07, 2013

Feeding Horses: Just the Basics - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 27, 2008

Everybody knows horses need forage and grain…but how much? How often? What kind? What else? The answers may be slightly different for each horse depending on size, breed, use, and stage of development. Fortunately for the average horse owner, equine nutritionists have formulated feeds and diets for many types of horses. These diets and products are based on National Research Council guidelines built after studying years of nutrition research.

Forage The horse is designed to graze more or less continuously, ingesting a large amount of fibrous material over the course of each day. Although the stomach is relatively small, the hindgut is quite large, and its function is critical to the horse's health and nutrition. The hindgut is inhabited by billions of microbes that aid in the digestion of fiber. Fiber fermentation produces volatile fatty acids including butyrate, acetate, and propionate that can be used by horses to meet their energy needs.

To maintain proper function of the intestinal tract, all horses should be fed some roughage daily...

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