equine nutrition & feeding equine science & technology
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Equine Nutrition & Feeding
Equine Science & Technology
Carbohydrates- organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Include the sugars, starch, cellulose, gums, and related substances.
Account for three-fourths of all dry matter in plants.
Used as a source of heat and energy.
CarbohydratesExcess is stored in the body as fat and
glycogen (animal starch).Carbohydrates consist of nitrogen-free
extract (NFE) and crude fiber.
Lipids, Fats, & Oils
Lipids- a fat or fat like substance.Contain three elements: carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen.Serve as a source of heat and energy and
the formation of fat.A high fat diet will increase the
reproduction and lactation performance of broodmares.
Proteins- complex organic compounds made chiefly of amino acids.
Soybean meal is often used as a protein supplement.
Amino acids- structural unitsAlways contains carbon, hydrogen,
oxygen, nitrogen, and in addition, usually sulfur and frequently phosphorous.
ProteinsPrimarily found in the structural and
protective tissues such as bones, ligaments, hair, hooves, skin, and soft tissues that include the organs and muscles.
Horses of all ages require protein for maintenance, growth, conditioning, reproduction, lactation and work.
Equine NutritionMinerals- a naturally occurring, inorganic
substance that is an essential nutrient.Furnish structural material for the growth
of bones, teeth, and tissues.Minerals can be divided into two groups:
Major or macro minerals, and Trace or micro minerals.
Inadequate supplies may result in poor gain, lack of thrift, inefficient feed utilization and decreased performance.
Calcium and PhosphorusHorses are more likely to suffer from lack
of calcium and phosphorus than any other mineral.
These minerals account for three-fourths of the ash of the skeleton and from one-third to one-half of the minerals of milk.
MagnesiumA deficiency in magnesium results in
hyperirritability, trembling and convulsions.
PotassiumSignificant amounts of potassium are lost
during heavy sweating.
Equine NutritionSalt Necessary in maintaining the osmotic pressure
of body cells and the removal of waste materials.
Sulfur Not an essential dietary constituent of the horse
Trace MineralsCobaltCobalt is required by cecal and colonic
bacteria for the synthesis of vitamin B12 in the intestinal tract of the horse.
CopperCopper is closely associated with normal
bone development in young growing animals.
IodineThe thyroid glands, mammary gland, and
placenta all use iodine from the blood for hormones, milk, and the fetus.
IronMainly used in the body for oxygen
transport as a component of hemoglobin.
Manganese Required by the body for the formation of
Selenium Closely involved with Vitamin E in protecting
the body from oxidative damage.
Zinc Involved in many enzymes throughout the
Vitamins Organic compounds that are required by
the horse in small amounts.Vitamins are involved in a variety of
bodily functions.The lack of vitamins in a horse ration may
lead to failure in growth or reproduction, poor health, and even deficiency diseases.
Can be classified into two groups: Fat soluble, and Water soluble.
Vitamin AMust be provided in the feed either as
vitamin A or as carotene.
Vitamin DHelps regulate plasma, calcium
Vitamin EProtects the cells of the body from
damage, and prevents neurological damage.
Vitamin K Important for the activation of many of the
CholineA metabolic essential for building and
maintaining cell structure and for transmitting of nerve impulses.
Folacin (Folic Acid) Involved in protein formation and in red
blood cell synthesis.
Niacin (Nicotinic Acid) Important for the metabolism of
carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids.
Riboflavin Important for energy production and
ThiaminSynthesized in the lower gut of the horse
by bacterial action.
Involved in amino acid metabolism, glycogen utilization, and lipid metabolism.
Vitamin CPrevents damage to the lipids, proteins,
and cell membranes.
WaterOne of the most vital of all nutrients.Water makes up to 75% of the body
weight of an adult horse.Essential for the production of saliva.Necessary to the life and shape of every
WaterAssist with temperature regulations in the
body.Necessary for many chemical reactions of
digestion and metabolism.
GrassesGenerally, 60% of the horses day should be
spent grazing.Grasses are often referred to as either cool-
season or warm-season grasses.Cool-Season GrassesGrow best at temperatures of 60 to 80
degrees Fahrenheit and are normally seen in the spring and fall.
Cool-Season Grasses Common cool-season grasses include: Tall
fescue, Orchardgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Timothy, Tall wheatgrass, and Ryegrass.
Warm-Season GrassesGrow best at temperatures of 80 to 90
degrees Fahrenheit and are seen in the summer and early fall.
Common warm-season grasses include: Bermudagrass, Big bluestem, and Switchgrass.
LegumesPlants that have nodules on their roots
enabling them to make their own nitrogen. The leading legumes are alfalfa, trefoil,
sweet clover, white clover and red clover. Legumes are more aggressive during
establishment than most grasses. Legumes produce more foliage in the
summer months than the cool-season grasses.
Equine NutritionTypes of Hay
An important perennial with trifoliate leaves and bluish-purple flowers.
Capable of surviving dry periods because of its extraordinarily long root system.
Adapts to widely varying conditions of climate and soil.
Yields highest tonnage per acre.
CloverMany different types of cloverRed clover can give high yieldsSweet clover and white clover are low
Equine NutritionGrass Hay
Bermudagrass Produced heavily in the southern United States. May provide three or more cuttings per year.
OatEasy to cureEarly cutting increases feeding value.
TimothyPreferred hay of most horse owners.Easy to harvest and cure.Low in crude protein and minerals.
SilageA highly nutritious forage for horses
during winter months.Corn silage and grass-legume silage
BarleyCan tolerate a short and dry growing
season.Leading horse grain in the western United
CornPalatable, nutritious and rich in energy.Provides twice the energy as oats.
Dried Brewer’s GrainsA byproduct of beer production.Lower in energy and higher in protein.
MolassesA byproduct of sugar factories.Two types: sugar cane and beet
OatsThe leading U.S. horse feed.Are very palatable.
WheatUsed when price is favorable.Should be limited to 20% of the
concentrate and fed with bulkier feeds. (May cause colic).
Epiphysitis- an inflammation of the growth plate of the long bones.
Primarily found at the lower end of the radius above the knee.
Caused by mineral deficiencies.Results in a firm and painful swelling.
Calcium DeficiencyDeficiency in young horses characterized
by poorly formed, soft bones which may bend or bow.
Older animals will have porous, fragile bones.
Equine NutritionSalt Deficiency Decreased appetite may occur over a long
period of time. Rough coat, reduced growth. Lowered milk production.
Equine NutritionVitamin A Deficiency Severe deficiency may cause night blindness
(impaired adaptation to darkness). Poor or uneven hoof development. Convulsive seizures.
Equine NutritionVitamin D Deficiency Rickets- a bone disease causing crooked legs
and enlarged joints. Lameness Increased risk of fractures.
Equine NutritionVitamin E Deficiency Lower conception rates. Early embryonic death. Birth of offspring with muscle degeneration.
Equine NutritionBalancing a Ration Calories are used to express the energy value
Pearson Square Method- used to set up an equation around a square to determine the amounts of two feed sources needed for a ration.
Equine Nutrition1. Place the percent protein desired in the ration in
the center of the square.
2. Place the percent protein of one supplement outside the square in the upper left hand corner and the percent protein of the other supplement outside the square at the lower corner
% Protein wanted =18
% Protein in grain = 10
% Protein in soybean meal = 50
Equine Nutrition3. Subtract diagonally across the square.
(subtract without regard to signs.)
4. Add the cross totals
5. Divide by the total (32+8 =40) to determine percentages.
% Protein wanted =18
% Protein in grain = 10
% Protein in soybean meal =50
50 -18 = 32
18 – 10 = 8
32 + 8 = 40
32/40 = 0.8 x 100 = 80% oats
8/40 = 0.2 x 100 = 20% soybean meal
Thus, in making 100 lbs of an 18% protein ration, 80 lbs would be oats and 20 lbs would be soybean meal.