Horses Really Don’t Like Citrus

What flavors do they like? Find the answer and read other nutrition tidbits from the 2019 Equine Science Society Symposium.
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ESS symposium
In two studies, anise and fenugreek topped the lists of horses' preferred flavorings, researchers found. | Photo: The Horse Staff

Students took the spotlight on Day 2 of the 2019 Equine Science Society (ESS) symposium, held June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina. They shared their research as part of the symposium’s student competition presentations. Here are some of our top take-homes from the nutrition sessions.

Horses prefer anise flavoring over other oil-based palatants. Jesse Francis, of Southern Illinois University, tested six flavors that owners can add to feeds or medications to make them more appealing: anise, apple, peppermint, banana, orange, and spearmint. The least popular flavor? Orange.

Horses turned out in fields with restricted space due to rotational grazing lose weight while horses continuously grazing large pastures gain it. Beverly Gartland, of Western Kentucky University, compared weight changes and grazing behavior of horses housed in 2.2-acre fields and those rotated weekly through 1/3- to 1/10-acre grazing cells

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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