Thehorse.com - Full Article
By Karen Briggs
Jul 7, 2014
If forages provide the “maintenance” energy horses need for the workings of everyday life—grazing, sleeping, wandering from pasture to pasture, maintaining internal temperature—then cereal grains are the turbocharged portion of the diet. Their main function is to provide higher concentrations of energy, in the form of carbohydrates and starches, so that the horse can do the work we ask of him.
The amount of energy your horse needs rises in proportion to how fast, how long, and how hard you expect him to perform. At the lowest end of the spectrum are horses that are idle, or perhaps work only a few times a week at a very slow pace. Most pleasure horses and school horses fall into this category. At the opposite end are racehorses, which many believe work harder than any other category of equine athlete (particularly because they’re often asked for peak performance while they’re still physically immature)...
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