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RE: [RC] Feeding before a ride - heidi

I agree with my esteemed colleague, Dr Garlinghouse, even if she is a 
gurl.:> My understanding is that the horse is largely running on his 
glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, and his volatile fatty acids 
derived from the fermentation process acting on the hay/fiber in his 
hindgut. There's about 150 pounds of ingesta in the hindgut, which 
greatly dwarfs the amount of food he could take in at a morning meal. It 
may benefit some horses to actually have some food occupying the tummy 
to calm acid effects, but others may not run as well on a full stomach. 
I know I don't. I seem to be having better luck letting the horse go out 
the slightest bit hungry, as he seems to eat better at the first vet 
check. I have found if I feed a large meal the night before and morning 
of, they seem hardly interested in eating until about 30-35 miles, and 
they need to eat sooner than the during the ride, IMO..  Did I get it 
right, Dr G?   Dr Q

I think you need to qualify that it's a heavy *concentrate* meal that doesn't 
work well.  I feed very little concentrate anyway, and certainly don't "up" it 
just prior to a ride--but I do make sure they have hay in front of them 24/7, 
right up to the time I saddle up and ride off.  I've had horses that will 
readily eat 40+ lbs of hay daily, and I sure don't back them off of that 
pre-ride--and it is my impression (also augmented by Susan G's posts) that the 
expanding of the stomach is the starting point of a reflex that causes motility 
in the hindgut--necessary to keep those VFAs coming...  So I'd submit that it 
isn't the fullness of the stomach that's the problem--it's what's in the 
stomach that's the problem.  A bunch of concentrates will give the horse a 
sugar "high"--and yeah, then he sure as heck won't be hungry until maybe he is 
already behind the power curve, so to speak.  Likewise, I've never had them 
"not run well" because of the fullness of the stomach--when they've come 
straight off of forage.



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