Thursday, June 29, 2017

Q&A: Which diet best suits an endurance horse? - Full Article

My 16-hand (163-cm) Anglo-Arabian is in good weight for his sport, just below optimal body condition. He’s in training year-round for competitive endurance riding, working towards 100-mile rides. He’s fed 2 lb (0.9 kg) of senior feed, 1 lb (0.45 kg) unmolassed beet pulp pellets, 0.5 lb (0.23 kg) whole flaxseed, 1 lb (0.45 kg) timothy pellets, one flake (3 lb, 1.4 kg) of quality hay, and free grazing. He was diagnosed with insulin resistance and hypothyroidism two years ago, but we manage that with diet control and exercise. Other than this, his health seems fine except for some hoof issues. He’s been a bit lackluster under saddle lately. I am worried about his electrolyte balance as we begin to step up the distance. I use a combination of electrolyte and homemade lipid-coated salt, but I would like to know more about calcium, magnesium, and selenium in relation to our region and supplementation.

Your current feeding program is not providing sufficient quantities of certain trace minerals–namely selenium, copper, and zinc–to meet recommendations for endurance horses. The senior feed is a sound source of nutrients, though it is formulated to provide the correct amount of vitamins and minerals when fed at a feeding rate higher than 2 lb (0.9 kg) per day, resulting in the current diet providing suboptimal nutrition. Adding a ration balancer to the current diet will provide additional vitamins and minerals to fulfill dietary requirements without significantly altering the amount of digestible energy in his diet.

However, because you are training for long-distance competition and noted that your gelding has been underperforming, I have suggested an alternative diet for your consideration. The following diet provides a similar total calorie content but a greater proportion of these calories come from dietary fat...

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