The nutrition conference for feed manufacturers presented by Kentucky Equine Research (KER) of Versailles, Ky., attracted more than 200 delegates involved in research and feed manufacturing from the United States, Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and other countries around the world. Several world renowned speakers, plus graduate students from universities heavily involved in equine research, presented data from studies pertaining to nutrition and the well-being of horses. As in the past, the conference provided feed manufacturers and scientists a chance to exchange information concerning current concepts in feeding and managing performance horses. Some of the highlights of the meeting are outlined in this article.
Protein, Energy, And The Growing Horse
The first speaker was introduced by Joe Pagan, PhD, president of KER. Ed Ott, PhD, from the Animal Science Department at the University of Florida, spoke on energy, protein, and amino acid requirements for growth of young horses. Ott’s presentation revolved around the concept that while vitamins and minerals must be balanced and are very important for growth in the young horse, energy and protein–and consequently amino acids–actually control growth rate. Growth rate can be accelerated or restricted by manipulating energy and protein levels in the growing horse’s diet.
To further illustrate his point, Ott began a discussion of the specific energy and protein requirements of the young horse. Energy is derived fr