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Equine Nutrition & Feeding. Peggy M. Auwerda. Time-Budgets. Feral Horses Select highest fiber, lowest protein content 70% of its day foraging Stabled Horses 10% of their day feeding Meal fed. Digestive Tract. The Mouth- first part of digestive system.

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time budgets
Time-Budgets

Feral Horses

  • Select highest fiber, lowest protein content
  • 70% of its day foraging

Stabled Horses

  • 10% of their day feeding
  • Meal fed
digestive tract
Digestive Tract
  • The Mouth- first part of digestive system.
  • Mouth has 2 main functions- masticate food and wet food with saliva.
mastication
Mastication
  • Jaw sweeps 60,000 times/day when grazing
  • Saliva contains little, if any amylase
digestive tract6
Digestive Tract
  • Stomach –
    • 9-15 liters
    • Trickle feeders
    • Transit time <2 hr
    • Cardiac sphincter does not relax to allow regurgitation
digestive tract7
Digestive Tract
  • Small Intestine
    • 30% of digestive tract
    • 40-50 liters
    • Transit time – 45 min to 8 hrs
    • α-Amylase – low & varies widely between horses
  • Starch digestion occurs in the stomach and small intestines
  • Amino acids and fat digested and absorbed in small intestine
  • Vitamins/minerals absorbed in small intestine
digestive tract8
Digestive Tract

Hindgut – 60% of digestive tract capacity

  • Cecum –
    • 25-35 liters
    • Transit time < 5 hr
  • Large Colon
    • 50-60 liters
  • Small Colon
    • 18-19 liters
  • Large & small colon transit time 48-72 hours
  • Fiber digesters most active pH of 6.2-6.8
  • Starch digesters prefer pH 5.2 – 6.0
aspects of the foal gi tract
Aspects of The Foal GI Tract
  • Small digestive tract
  • The small intestine does not increase in length from 4 wks of age
  • Cecum not fully functional until 15-24 mo of age
  • The large intestine increases with age even up to 20 yrs
microbial fermentation

Metabolized

For

Energy

Volatile

Fatty Acids

Gas

Wasted

Energy

B-vitamins & Vit. K

Protein and Amino Acids?

Microbial Fermentation

Microbe

Fibrous &

Non-Fibrous

Carbohydrate

starch
Starch is an important and valuable component of the equine diet.

Equine athletes need carbohydrates for efficient energy use.

Mares need carbohydrates to help produce healthy foals.

Mares need carbohydrates for milk production.

Starch
starch overload
Starch Overload
  • Starch not digested in SI is delivered to hindgut for bacterial fermentation. Too much starch may…
    • Cause radical changes to hindgut flora
    • Increase VFA & lactic acid concentrations – hindgut acidosis
    • Cause laminitis, colic, endotoxemia, metabolic acidosis, behavioral problems (wood chewing)
  • Critical capacity for hydrolysable carbohydrate overload ~0.4% of BW

Cuddeford, D. 1999; Harris et al. 1999

methods of maximizing starch digestion in small intestine
Methods Of Maximizing Starch Digestion In Small Intestine
  • Properties of the starch granule
  • Grain processing
  • Plant cell walls
  • Transit time through the small intestine
  • Availability & concentration of enzymes
remember
REMEMBER!

“The number one cause of deaths from colic is from starch overload due to feeding mismanagement.”

Dr. John Reagor, PhD

Chief of Toxicology

Texas Veterinary Medical

Diagnostic Laboratory

glycemic response
Hyperglycemia occurs after digestion of grain meals

Affects substrates utilized during exercise

Glucose & insulin peak 60-90 min after a meal

Insulin promotes fat storage

Sugary meals before exercise will  CHO to muscle & ↓ fat oxidation

Glycemic Response
feeding horses
Feeding Horses
  • Feed intake usually expressed as
    • % of Body Weight
    • Lbs feed/100 lbs body weight
    • Free Choice
  • Forages – Maximize in the ration
    • Provide fiber & energy
    • Min. at least 1% of body weight (dm basis)
  • Concentrates
    • Provide energy
  • Supplements
    • Provide protein, minerals and vitamins
estimating weight lbs
Estimating Weight (lbs)

Heartgirth (in) x Heartgirth (in) x Body Length (in)

330

slide24
Body Condition Score

Measures amount of body fat (1-9 scale)

Determines balance between energy intake & expenditure

Simple, repeatable, consistent method

Comparison between animals

EnergyDetermines Weight & Condition Of Horse

body condition score
Body Condition Score

Fat laid down in predictable patterns

Organs

Behind the shoulder

Ribs

Rump

Back

Withers

Head and Neck

body condition score evaluation
Body Condition Score Evaluation

Visual assessment and actual touch

Palpate fat areas

Avoid mistaking longer hair covering for fat areas

Avoid being fooled by conformation differences

body condition scoring
Body Condition Scoring
  • 1-3 Poor-Thin
  • 4 Can see ribs, vertebra ridge evident
  • 5 Back flat, can’t see ribs, but can feel them
  • 6 Crease down back, fat deposits
  • 7-9 Fleshy - Extremely fat
optimum body condition score
Optimum Body Condition Score

Each horse has its own ideal condition for the breed & use

Average horse 5-6

Broodmare 5-7

Breeding stallion 5-6

Performance horse 4-6

building a horse ration
Building a Horse Ration
  • Start with horse needs
  • Maximize forage
  • Add energy if needed
  • Add protein & minerals if needed
  • Consider adding vitamins & supplements
  • Consistency is key to good feeding practices

Feed concentrate that makes-up the difference between nutrients

needed & nutrients in roughage

forages are the foundation pasture hay
Grass

Bromegrass

Orchardgrass

Tall Fescue

Timothy

Grain Hay

Oat Hay

Wheat hay

Straw

Legume

Alfalfa

Birds Foot trefoil

Clovers

Lespedeza

Forages are the FoundationPasture, Hay
ingredients used in place of hay for roughage
Good Quality Sources:

Beet Pulp

Soybean Hulls

Dried Citrus Pulp

Dried Apple Pectin Pulp

Alfalfa Meal

Poor Quality Sources:

Peanut Hulls

Oat Hulls

Ground Straw

Cottonseed Hulls

Rice Hulls

Rice Mill Feed

Ingredients Used In Place of Hay for Roughage
forage isn t everything
Forage Isn’t Everything
  • Most do not have all the minerals &/or vitamins a horse requires. Four ways to add these.
      • Add 1 to 4 oz mineral or mineral/vitamin supplement per day or
      • Add 1 to 2 lbs ration balancer (mineral plus protein) per day or
      • Feed 5 to 7 lbs fortified grain per day or
      • Feed 12 – 14 lbs complete feed (forage & grain)
energy sources grains
Oats

variable

crimped vs. whole

Corn

cracked, steam rolled

Barley

Sorghum & wheat

less than 30%

rolled, cracked, flaked,

Energy Sources - Grains
fat fatty acids
Fat/Fatty Acids
  • No gall bladder
    • Horses can be safely fed up to 20% fat in the total diet
    • Energy from fat is 90% utilizable
  • Often used to supplement calories for hard-working horses and hard keepers
  • Reduction in DM intake & bowel weight
  • Calmer temperament
protein
Protein
  • Muscle & bone growth, milk production, fetal growth, normal metabolism
  • Most horses requirements can be met with good quality hay or pasture forage
protein37
Protein
  • Quantity = amount
  • Quality = amino acid balance
    • Very important for young horses
    • Lysine, methionine, tryptophan most limiting for growth & milk production
sources of protein for horses
Soybean Oil Meal

Flax - Linseed Meal

Sunflower Meal

Cottonseed Meal

Peanut Meal

Corn Gluten Meal

Whey

Dried Skim Milk

Sources of Protein for Horses
minerals
Minerals
  • Content in the diet
    • Determined by soil & water
    • Quality of feed & proportion of grain to hay
  • Macro-minerals
    • Ca & P - quality forages usually provide adequate amount
      • This ratio is very important: 1.5:1 to 2:1
      • Grains are rich in P and low in Ca
    • NaCl (Salt)
      • Salt block will meet many horse’s needs
      • If horses sweat a lot - need salt in the ration
  • Trace Minerals
    • Look for iron, zinc, copper, selenium
minerals40
Minerals
  • Macro-minerals
    • Ca & P - quality forages usually provide adequate amount
      • This ratio is very important: 1.5:1 to 2:1
      • Grains are rich in P and low in Ca
    • NaCl (Salt)
      • Salt block will meet many horse’s needs
      • If horses sweat a lot - need salt in the ration
    • Trace Minerals
      • Look for iron, zinc, copper, selenium
slide41

A guide to the recommended concentrations of trace elements in the diet, mg/kg dry matter. (Modified fromthe NRC 2007). These will need to be adjusted to suit individual circumstances, growth rate and appetite etc.

vitamins
Vitamins

Fat soluble:

  • stored in body - A, D, E, K
  • Toxicity’s can occur if fed in excess

Water soluble:

  • must be continuously supplied
  • B-complex; niacin, thiamin, riboflavin
vitamins43
Vitamins
  • High quality fresh forages = maintenance for mature horses
  • Hay is poor in Vitamin A
  • Supplement Vitamin A in the ration
  • Exposure to sunlight provides Vitamin D
slide44
Guide to recommended levels of Fat-soluble vitamins (need to be adjusted according to individualcircumstances).
nutrient requirement varies with class of horse nrc 2007
Adult (no work)

Working

Light exercise

Moderate exercise

Heavy exercise

Very heavy exercise

Stallions

Pregnant Mares

< 5 mo

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th mo

Lactation

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th mo

Growing

4, 6, 12 mo

18 mo

Light exercise

Moderate exercise

24 mo

Light exercise

Moderate exercise

Heavy exercise

Very heavy exercise

Nutrient Requirement Varies With Class of Horse – NRC 2007
water
Water
  • Essential for all body functions
  • Temperature regulation
  • Feed digestion
  • Amount of water intake
    • Level of exercise
    • Ambient temperature
    • Quality of feeds in ration
    • Proportion of diet that is forage
  • Minimum 1 gallon/100 lbs BW/day
maintenance
Size: body weight

Environment

Individual differences

Dry matter intake: 1.5% of the BW

Most - energy requirements are met with forage alone

Maintenance
geriatric horses
Nutrient Considerations

Reduced salivation

CF digestibility ↓

Total fiber < 30%

CP digestibility ↓

10-14% CP

Energy:

Increase soluble carbohydrates, fats, & oils

Caloric Restrictions

Supplement minerals & vitamins including vitamin C

Geriatric Horses
selection of feed for the geriatric horse

28 yr old horse

Selection of Feed For the Geriatric Horse
  • Highly palatable
  • Easy to chew & swallow
  • Forage - chopped, cubed, pelletized, or in a wafer
  • Grains - rolled, crimped, or flaked

32 yr old horse

aerobic and anaerobic metabolism
Aerobic and Anaerobic Metabolism
  • During exercise, ATP is generated from breakdown of:
    • Glucose
    • Fatty acids
    • Amino acids
  • ATP low in muscles; essentially no storage
    • Continuous ATP production vital for athletes
simplified energy for muscle contraction
Simplified Energy for Muscle Contraction

Blood Glucose

Free Fatty Acids

Lipolysis

Muscle Glycogen

Oxidative

Metabolism

Pyruvate

Lactate

Creatine

Phosphate

ATP

CO2and

Water

O2

slide54
Work
  • ENERGY, ENERGY, ENERGY!
levels of performance work
Levels of Performance/Work
  • Light – Recreational riding, beginning of training programs, Show horses (occasional)
  • Moderate – School horses, Recreational riding, Show horses (frequent), Polo, Ranch
  • Heavy– Ranch, Polo, Show horses (frequent, strenuous events), Low-medium eventing, Race training (middle stages)
  • Very Heavy – Racing, Elite 3-day event
feeding guidelines for performance horses
Feeding Guidelines for Performance Horses
  • Starch is necessary for replacing glycogen stores.
  • Hay
    • Feed at least 50% of total ration as forage (pasture &/or hay)
    • Preferably high quality grass hay or alfalfa/grass mix
  • Exercising horses do not need high levels of protein
    • More important – quality of protein
  • Horses should be fed to meet their immediate needs
    • Cut grain on rest days
fat supplementation
FAT SUPPLEMENTATION
  • Enhanced stamina
    •  capacity for uptake & oxidation of fatty acids in muscle
    • Concomitant decrease in use of endogenous carbohydrate stores - Muscle glycogen sparing

Add 6-10 weeks before performance

feeding guidelines for performance horses59
Feeding Guidelines for Performance Horses
  • Hay requirement
    • Feed at least 50% of total ration as forage (pasture &/or hay)
    • Preferably high quality grass hay or alfalfa/grass mix
  • Exercising horses do not need high levels of protein
    • More important – quality of protein
  • Horses should be fed to meet their immediate needs
    • Cut grain on rest days
breeding animals
Maiden mare

Barren mare

Flushing- Increasing energy intake 20-25% ~3 wks prior to breeding.

Gestating mare

Lactating mare

Stallion

Breeding Animals
gestating mares
Gestating Mares
  • Last 3 month of gestation: 60 % foals’ weight
  • Mare needs to gain 0.3 – 0.8 lb/d
lactating mare63
Lactating Mare
  • Month 1 – 3 =
    • milk is 3 % BW
  • Month 4 – 6 =
    • milk is 2 % BW
  • Requirements of energy, protein, mineral, and vitamin double vs. maintenance
feed consumption bw
Feed Consumption (% BW)
  • Adding concentrate to late pregnancy mares accounts for limited energy & acclimates microbes
  • Allow 1 wk to 10 d for mares to adjust to intake changes
  • Heavy milkers may require as much as 1.75-2.0% of BW in concentrate feed/day
body condition score65
Body Condition Score

Maximum Reproductive Efficiency

  • Moderately fleshy to fat mares can be expected to
    • Cycle earlier in the year
    • Have fewer cycles per conception
    • Have a higher pregnancy rate
    • Maintain pregnancy more easily
  • Mare prior to breeding should have a BCS of 6 or greater and fed to maintain weight.
  • BCS of 5.0 is marginal especially for lactating mare.
feeding the growing horse
Feeding The Growing Horse
  • Goals
    • Maximize genetic potential for growth
    • Sound musculoskeletal system
  • Nutrient Balance is important
  • Requires higher quality feeds
  • Growth rate & age determines requirements
  • Growing till reach 30 months
average daily gain
Average Daily Gain

Avg. Daily Gain, lbs/d

Month of Age

nutritional strategies aimed at minimizing dod
Nutritional Strategies Aimed at Minimizing DOD

Rations should be balanced to promote a consistent growth curve

www.Foalcare.com

Requires periodic updating of the ration

nutritional strategies aimed at minimizing dod69
Nutritional Strategies Aimed at Minimizing DOD
  • Feed selection
      • High quality forage is a must
      • Grain mix concentrates formulated specifically for growing horses
      • Improper use of supplements
  • Feed amounts
      • Forage
        • Minimum of 1 lb / 100 lb BW / d
        • Fed to appetite is best
      • Concentrate
        • ~ 1 lb / 100 lb BW / d
          • Max. 8 to 10 lbs /d
monitor the growth process
Monitor The Growth Process
  • Daily Intakes
  • Body Weight
    • Average daily gain
  • Signs of Skeletal Abnormalities
    • Physitis
    • Joint effusion
    • Lameness
feeding guidelines strategies to minimize risk of hind gut dysfunction
Feeding Guidelines & Strategies To Minimize Risk Of Hind Gut Dysfunction

Know Your Horse & Provide Feed Based on:

Class

Stage of production

Age

Activity level

Growth

feeding guidelines strategies to minimize risk of hind gut dysfunction72
Feeding Guidelines & Strategies To Minimize Risk Of Hind Gut Dysfunction
  • Consider..
    • Quality of feeds available
    • Body Condition
feeding guidelines strategies to minimize risk of hind gut dysfunction73
Feeding Guidelines & Strategies To Minimize Risk Of Hind Gut Dysfunction
  • Check for Refusals
  • Change type & amount of feed gradually. 7-10 d period
  • Provide Salt
feeding guidelines strategies to minimize risk of hind gut dysfunction74
Feeding Guidelines & Strategies To Minimize Risk Of Hind Gut Dysfunction
  • Control amount of NSC (sugar, starch & fructan) the horse consumes.
  • Minimize the flow of fermentable polysaccharide to the large intestine
    • Feed starch sources little and often i.e., less than 5g oats/(2g starch)/kg body weight/meal
    • Pre-feed forages
feeding guidelines strategies to minimize risk of hind gut dysfunction75
Feeding Guidelines & Strategies To Minimize Risk Of Hind Gut Dysfunction
  • Minimize the flow of fermentable polysaccharide to the large intestine
    • Limit rate of concentrate intake through physical obstruction
    • Maximize substrate (glucose) availability to the performance horse
  • Ensure good occlusion of teeth through regular dentistry
feeding guidelines strategies to minimize risk of hind gut dysfunction76
Feeding Guidelines & Strategies To Minimize Risk Of Hind Gut Dysfunction
  • Group Feeding Should Account for Dominance Hierarchies
  • Recognize Feeding-Related Behavior Problems
reins
REINS
  • Total mixed ration (TMR) program that allows for evaluation and formulation of protein, energy, vitamin and mineral requirements of horse rations across multiple stages of production
  • Based off of the 2007 NRC Nutrient Requirements of Horses
  • Written in MS Visual Basic and uses MS Excel as the user’s interface to operate
reins80
REINS
  • Least cost formulator can be used or rations can be entered manually
  • Extensive feed library – Up to 220 feeds
  • Multiple feed libraries can be created which allows a use to assign a feed library to a farm
  • Comprehensive appendixes