ridecamp@endurance.net: [endurance] Re: Feeds and Ca:P

[endurance] Re: Feeds and Ca:P

Wed, 24 Jul 1996 14:08:56 -0400 (EDT)

Ok, I do have to jump in,

On 7/17 the following was posted:

>Beet pulp IS more balanced than bran, but it has 0.1% P and almost
>0.7 % Ca on average. If you feed pounds of it, you just need to be
>careful. You can balance it with alfalfa, clover, or trefoil forages,
>or a supplement with extra calcium.

I almost jumped in then, but figured the author would realize that the way
it reads is that beet pulp should be balanced with alfalfa or clover, not
the bran, as she had intended to imply. :-)

However when we received a reply of:

>Morrison's book, FEEDS AND FEEDING, says a 1,000 horse at medium work should
>have: 15.3 -18.7 pounds dry matter, .8-1.0 pounds digestible protein,
>10.6-13 pounds total digestible nutrients, 13.7 grams Ca, 15.4 grams P and
>50 mg of carotene. PLEASE NOTE THE Ca TO P IS NEARLY EQUAL. And it remains
>the same numbers in the list for a 1,000 pound horse at hard work, only the
>pounds of dry matter and TDN increase.

I had to jump in. Please be aware that while Morrison's book is indeed
a classic and widely used, the information in it is WOEFULLY out of date,
at least as far as horses are concerned.

They haven't recommended lower calcium than phosphorus intake for horses
since the 1940's!!! Ideally you want a Ca:P ratio of about 1.5 to 2 parts
calcium to 1 part phosphorus. If you reverse this (go below 1:1), the
horse will draw calcium from his bones to maintain his blood calcium
levels. Without getting too technical, it will cause shifting leg
lameness, increaed risk of fractures and ultimately a syndrome called
"big head" where the facial bones appear swollen but are actually decalcified
and spongy (at this stage they have problems eating because their teeth fall

If you want a good text on horse nutrition, try Lon Lewis's book,
Feeding and Care of the Horse, 2nd edition. (Williams and Wilkins publishers).
It came out in 1996, is VERY complete and up to date and is available
in paper back.

Please don't believe everything you see in books about horse
nutrition. We've made tremendous advances in understanding the
intricate nutritional needs of these unique critters in the past
20 years and are still trying to catch up to the level of knowledge
available on food animal nutrition. Most of the older animal science
texts have errors on their sections on horse nutrition too numerous to

Off my soap box. Sorry if I offended...
Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Nutrition
Associate Professor, Rutgers University