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Fat versus Protein

This is an old, hashed over topic I know but I'd love to get some feedback
from endurance riders who've been feeding and competing endurance horses for
miles and years. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm feeding my mare sufficient

There are a variety of grain mixes available now that are high in fat, low
in protein, high in fiber. I've fed Pennfields Enduro/Eventer 10/10 for a
couple of years. Recently  for convenience sake I switched to Buckeye's new
Cadence Formula which is 10% protein/8% fat. I feed some beet pulp at every
meal to keep my mare 's system accustomed to it for rides. She's not a big
eater and will only eat so much grain at a time, about 3 quarts in volume is
her maximum. At this time she is eating 1 lb (1 qt vol) of the 10/8 Cadence,
1 qt dry volume shredded beet pulp, 2 cups Buckeye Ultimate Finish (12%
protein, 25% fat), vitamin/mineral supplements and all the grass hay and/or
grass she wants. She looks really good. People tease me that she's looks too
fat but she is a bulky Arab/Qtr cross and to be honest I've learned that if
I let her trim down any more she just runs out of energy.

 That's really what has me wondering, the lack of energy thing. Last winter
I had to feed some stemmy, coarse hay that she didn't care for so I added
some really fine alfalfa twice a day and increased her grain. She looked the
same, maintained the same weight and  had energy to spare. It wasn't just
the cool weather. Now that she's back on a high fat, high fiber, low protein
diet she seems to run out of energy after too few miles. Does she need more
protein in her diet? Less fat to keep her from gaining weight?  Add soy or
alfalfa as a protein source? Should I switch to a higher protein feed, maybe
eliminate the high fat supplement and feed more grain???? So many questions.
I'd like to hear how other people are feeding and your thoughts and
experiences with the high fat diet.

Bonnie Snodgrass

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