Keeping Racehorse Feed ‘On Track’

What’s new in feeding today’s superstar racehorses and champions of the future? In a sense, nothing and everything.

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What’s new in feeding today’s superstar racehorses and the champions of the future? In a sense, nothing and everything. While the basic nutritional needs of these elite equine athletes haven’t changed, attention to the form in which their daily ration is provided and the level of specific nutrients in their diets has become far more critical.

As faster records are set on the racetrack and expectations for heightened performance increase, so do the demands on the horse’s system. Horses can be sidelined by injuries caused by fatigue or a skeletal system that is not yet strong enough to perform the job.

“The principle is the same as that for human athletes,” said John Lew, PhD, an equine nutritionist and manager of research and technical services at McCauley Bros., a horse feed company in Versailles, Kentucky. “Whether you’re talking about a horse or a person, if an athlete needs to run faster, jump higher, or cover more distance—and remain healthy throughout an entire career—proper nutrition is key.”

And, he added, “we know a lot more about feeding performance horses than we did in the past

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