Which feed is best?

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Which feed is best?

This is a discussion on Which feed is best? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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        03-05-2014, 01:06 PM
    Lightbulb Which feed is best?

    Hi all

    I am completing a research project on the diets of racehorses compared to standard diets.

    I have come across three main types of feed- pelleted, cereal and grain. I am interested in discovering people's opinions on the best feed for performance/health.

    I would appreciate any responses I recieve.
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        03-05-2014, 02:20 PM
    Green Broke
    Sounds like you're a little confused- there's no such thing as "cereal" and "grains." There are cereal grains, which can be fed straight (either processed or unprocessed), mixed into a textured feed (that would be straight grain added to other ingredients and usually combined with molasses to keep it all together), or pelleted (in which case it's so processed that you can't actually see/identify the grains anymore). There are also pelleted feeds that don't contain grains.

    For any horse, the main components of a diet will be forage, hard feeds, and supplements.

    Forage is always the basis: high fiber feeds like hay or pasture. For horses in maintenance through moderate workloads, forage will be the vast majority of their diet.

    Hard feeds are things like straight grains, textured feed, and/or pellets. They can be added for extra energy, general nutrition (to balance out nutritionally deficiencies of forage), or both. Cereal grains have a lot of energy, but very little nutrition.

    Supplements are powders/pellets fed in small quantities to fill very specific nutritional needs, such as to support gut health (probiotics), joint health, etc.

    Now back to the diet of racehorses versus your "standard" horse. A "standard" diet could be 15-20 lbs of hay daily. It may or may not include any additional hard feed. Racehorses are typically fed very high energy diets to support their very strenuous workload. They burn off more calories than they can ingest through forage alone and require some type of hard feed. There is a tradeoff there- many high energy feeds are also high in sugar & starch, which horses don't digest well. Feeding large amount of sugary, starchy feeds may provide energy, but it will also significantly increase the risk of ulcers (to which horses are very susceptible).
        03-05-2014, 03:12 PM
    Thank-you for clearing this up for me!

    Which of these feeds are typically used for ''standard'' horses - or is down to the owner's personal opinion?
        03-05-2014, 03:24 PM
    It can depend on the typ of racing, is it track or endurance.

    As verona said hay is the base, then it will be what typ of energy one will need.
    Oats is always the base for itīs digestability, corn for itīs fat, soya for protein and melass for its suger energy content, supplements.
    Grains should be rolled or crushed so as to help for a quicker digestion.

    This might help:

    diet, feed, health, performance

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