The last two elements of the horse’s diet are equally as important as the other four I’ve already addressed. (Review part one and part two) Let’s talk about the roles that fat and water play in equine nutrition.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
There are several factors to consider when you are deciding how much fat your horse needs in their diet. First, what type activity does your horse do, what is their body condition and how old are they. Horses that perform long distance activity such as endurance riding and competitive trail riding will benefit from higher amounts of fat. Horses that do quick bursts of energy such as barrel racing and jumpers will benefit from a lower fat and higher carbohydrate diet. Older horses or horses with a poor body condition may benefit from a higher fat diet but just because they are old or skinny does not mean they automatically need a high fat diet. Always talk to your veterinarian to make sure there is not an underlying health reason for weight loss or a poor body condition. Fat is an easily digested source of energy for your horse, but it’s important to remember that when adding more fat to a horse’s diet, you should ensure that all other requirements (carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, etc) are met.
A horse in good health will consume anywhere from five to 15 gallons of water (or more) daily. The wide range is a result of certain factors: temperature, activity level of the animal, humidity levels for the day, and even the horse’s temperament can play a role in how much they consume. It’s essential to make sure that your horse has unlimited access to fresh clean water. A hydrated horse feels better and is less likely to colic.
If you have concerns that your horse is not getting adequate nutrition, don’t hesitate to contact your nutritionist or veterinarian. At Polk Equine, we’re always available to answer your questions.
column by DR. KATIE HENNESSY
BIO: Dr. Katie Hennessy graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 with a degree in large animal health and equine medicine. After completing an advanced internship and working as an Associate Veterinarian, she is currently practicing at Polk Equine, LLC. Her expertise ranges from small and exotic creatures to large animals, specializing in equine medicine.[/emember_protected]