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Feeding Fibre and Why It’s Important

Ex-RacerFeedFibre facts

Horses need plenty of fibre in their diets; and not just for bulk!   Here’s some facts about fibre:

    • Horses will work for fibre even when their energy requirements have been fulfilled
    • All horses should be fed no less than 1% of their bodyweight daily in fibrous forage (dry matter) e.g. 5.7 kg (12.5 lb) of typical hay for a 500 kg horse
    • Fibre deficiency can cause disturbed gut function, death of beneficial microbes, diarrhoea, colic, and, if combined with high starch intake, gastric ulcers and acidic gut syndrome
    • Fibre is a polysaccharide made up of sugar units bonded in such a way that they can’t be broken down by the horse’s own digestive enzymes – instead it is fermented by microbes in the gut
    • Fibre is sometimes classed as ‘structural polysaccharide’ because it gives strength and rigidity to plants – although other, gel and gum-like fibres also exist in plants
    • Fibre is broken down by microbes into useful nutrients the horse can absorb
    • For good health, these microbes need a constant supply of fibre
    • Good nutrition depends upon supplying as many of the essential nutrients from fibrous feeds as possible


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Our supplement expert Clare MacLeod is an independent Registered Equine Nutritionist with expertise in equine health and fitness. Visit her website for further information.

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Posted in Equine Health, Equine Nutrition, Horse Feed
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