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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

August 4, 2007

Feeding the Endurance Horse/ article synopsis

There is a nice article on feeding the endurance horse online at:

It takes a look at not the performance horse which most feeds are formulated for, but rather specifically the endurance horse. Here is my rather short (non-professional lay synopsis) version of what I got from the article.

Protein: A high protein feed is not a good match for the endurance horse. The metabolism of protein causes the horse to produce ammonia as a by product. Keep protein down to about 10% of the total dietary intake.

Fats: Fats are good. The horse can draw from fat stores when glycogen is exhausted. Fat should be fed at about 7-10% of the daily feed ration.

Starches: Keep starch's low and replace with super fibers.

Super Fibers: These should comprise about 10-40% of the daily feed ration. Beet pulp and Oat hulls are a great digestible source of super fibers.

Electrolytes: Forcing electrolytes may not be optimal for digestive health of the horse. Rather supplement with salt in daily addition to feed. Supply free choice salt and minerals for your horse.

B Vitamins: These help the horses body to cope with stress, check your feed concentrate to see if B vitamins have been added.

Grains: Should not exceed 30 % of the daily ration

Hay: Feed them an early cutting (not mature hay) of good quality grass hay, with a very low percentage of alfalfa.

Found this to be an excellent article, well worth printing, and adding to the endurance "library". I'm doing some things right, but can see that I should lower the protein in my feed. We are already adding fats to her diet and beet pulp, but not in as high of a percentage as I probably should. Her forage is pretty bad right now, we are in a serious drought here in southeastern Indiana. Time to start supplementing with hay. Our hay this year is not what I'd prefer, but hay is hard to come by, and expensive when you do find it. It is clean grass hay, so I'm counting my blessings that we have it. Our barn is at capacity and we are going to try and find another hundred bales to handle the early feeding. We usually don't start feeding hay until October, it is August and we are feeding hay. I worry that so many horses will be in dire straights this winter as people start looking for hay and there is none. Fields are producing about 30% yield compared to usual.~Endurance Granny

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