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Re: Re: Re: A Feed Question

That's fascinating--all this time I've been thinking bermuda and orchard grass hay had very little protein and the beet pulp had levels similar to alfalfa.
Can you give us an idea of how much protein there is in bermuda and orchard grass?
One other question:  do horses just starting to be conditioned (building hill muscles for the first time) need more protein than already fit horses?
----- Original Message -----
From: Susan Garlinghouse
To: ;
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2001 5:42 PM
Subject: RC: Re: Re: A Feed Question

I also typically feed a 13-14% concentrate feed along with forages.It has
been proven that horses under strenuous exercise can benefit from a
slightly higher protein level (13-15%).
Hmmm.  That would disagree with the research conducted by Ralston, et al at Rutgers, whose studies demonstrated a progressively higher incidence of metabolic problems in eventing horses when total protein levels exceeded 12.  Also with work by Glade in Australian racehorses whose acing times increased (that is, got slower) when protein levels were increased above NRC recommendations.  I would be interested in seeing the reference of the research you refer to. 
The average protein requirement
for pasture horses or horse under light exercise is 10%.
True, but people tend to get a bit hung up on percentages, rather than absolute amounts.  So a 13-14% grain mix may be barely adequate for one horse, while being excessive for another.  It all depends on the protein provided by other feeds, including hay, other grains, etc.
Horses that are
not being ridden extensively and are on a high protein ration are just
wasting money, because a lot of it is excreted in its urine.
All of the excess nitrogen groups will be excreted in the urine, actually (the amount excreted through sweat is actually infinitisimal).  However, the carbon backbones of the amino acids will be retained and used as an energy source.  However, there are other effects of a high protein ration that can be detrimental to horses, especially in hot weather, but may be beneficial in other situations---ie, in cold climates where the increased heat production helps maintain body heat.
However,if you do see a difference in performance or
you are concerned, one option is to supplement with beet pulp. It is an
excellent source of protein,
Well, no.  I dearly love beet pulp, especially for endurance horses, for a multitude of reasons, but as a protein source isn't one of them.  It has an average crude protein content of 9%, equal or lower than most grass hays.  I would actually consider that a point in its favor, though, as most horses get excessive protein already, and its low protein content means relatively large amounts can be fed without providing excessive protein in the total ration.
do. The other nice thing is that beet pulp is relatively high in fiber,
which will help our horses stay warm through these cold winter months.
Well, that's another myth, especially about beet pulp.  The fiber in beet pulp is primarily soluble fiber, which is highly digestible, and so provides almost no heat increment to maintain body heat at all.  If you wanted to rely on fiber digestion for winter heat, you would have to rely on an insoluble fiber source, such as regular old hay.  Also, while ruminants, such as cattle and sheep, can provide a bonfire of body heat just from digesting fiber, horses aren't all that good at it.  They can produce some heat increment that way, but if you lived in a really cold climate, or there was a bad icestorm coming over the pass and you wanted to jump start the horse's 'furnace', a good protein source will do it better than anything else.  IMO, that's about the best use of alfalfa there is.  Good source of fiber (since that does provide *some* heat increement), plus plenty of protein to produce metabolic waste heat to bump up the core temperature for a few hours.
Hope this helps. :-)
Susan G

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