feeding horse hay in stall

Use nutrition to optimize performance and recovery

As most horse owners are aware, feeding horses is no longer as simple as picking up a bag of oats or cracked corn and throwing a few scoops into a shared feed trough. The myriad horse feed options available, manufactured by companies large and small, can quickly become overwhelming. Add to that the thousands of supplements and other feed-through remedies marketed to horse people, and even experienced farm owners go cross-eyed.

Choosing the best nutrition program for a backyard pony can be challenging, let alone a high-performance equine athlete. But it’s a critical piece of care for performance horses we often overlook—because owners might or might not have a choice in what their horse gets fed at the boarding barn, or they might not have the knowledge to critically evaluate all the options available for their athlete.

Base Diets for Equine Athletes

An appropriate base performance diet does two things: It provides enough calories via carbohydrates and fats for the horse to maintain optimal body condition and perform his job, and it provides the proper amount of nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, and protein to maintain muscle and organ function. In addition to the base diet, supplemental nutrients can support preparation for and recovery from intense exercise and other athlete-specific concerns, such as muscle recovery and gastrointestinal

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