07-11-2010, 05:22 AM
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Yes, while appreciating that horses are commonly kept overweight, people seem to be desensitised to seeing fat horses & commonly mistake healthy ones for too skinny AND they generally fail to understand the common and often serious health problems they're causing in their horses due to obesity, my knee jerk reaction is similar to Sara & Sorrel.
But not knowing the situation, I don't want to assume. It does however sound like you're a new horse owner with little knowledge about feeding? I would advise you to get onto a good nutritional service to enable you to learn how/what's best for horses to eat. I personally subscribe to a fantastic service called FeedXL.com which is invaluable, and cheap to boot!
Depending on what you mean by 'performance horses'(eg. Is this by breed or deed??) they may need a bit of extra energy compared to the average pleasure horse, but feeding grain or otherwise sugary, starchy feeds is not healthy for horses - it's 'junk food'(yes, I know it's traditional).
Having said that, the way you feed is also important and can reduce the likelihood of problems that are caused by 'junk food'!
Eg: If you choose to feed grain, oats are the safest, and it also depends how/how much you feed - eg horses are trickle feeders, their systems need little & often feeding.
So.... in answer to your question, 'it depends' is the only real straight answer, along with advising you to do your homework & learn all you can about the proper care of your animals. On that note, hoofrehab.com is a great resource for learning about the principles & factors of hooves, health & soundness & also includes a lot of stuff & links on diet/nutrition - which are of course important ingredients for hoof health as well.