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5 Facts About Energy for Performance Horses


ReadySupp event rider Emma Dougall and Belcam Bear

Energy fuels exercise and is the most important dietary factor for performance horses. Did you know:

  1. Most of the energy in a horse diet comes from carbohydrates (including fibre, starch, sugar and grass fructan) and oils. Dietary protein doesn’t contribute much energy at all
  2. If you feed too much energy, it is stored as body fat even in a fit horse, and if you feed too little, body fat stores will be used up and the horse will get slimmer
  3. Changing the energy source can have an effect on behaviour – replacing dietary starch with vegetable oil can make horses more tractable and less reactive and easily startled
  4. Researchers in Sweden showed that Standardbred racehorses could be trained and raced on forage only (balanced with vitamins and minerals), with no energy being supplied by grain or other concentrates (note: the forage was very high quality)
  5. Energy is stored in glycogen (made up of sugar units) and fat in muscles. Muscle glycogen is replenished slowly and cannot be boosted by feeding extra grain or sugar. Giving weak electrolyte solutions after prolonged moderate exercise, however, did enhance the rate of glycogen replenishment

If you have any questions on equine supplements, and want to improve your horse’s health, performance, or attitude give our friendly team a call 01672 541 157 for advice. We won’t try and hard sell you anything – we promise.

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

Posted in Equine Health, Equine Nutrition
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