ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: "Shattering Myths About Feeding", Equus, April 97 - LONG

Re: "Shattering Myths About Feeding", Equus, April 97 - LONG

Sat, 26 Apr 1997 20:10:56 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 97-04-26 18:17:18 EDT, you write:

<< Found the article to be pretty interesting as well, however, a few
things still "bug" me about Pagan's information. Any ideas???

1. "Bowel Ballast": I can understand why (in energy terms) you would
rather have fats available to the horse rather than high fiber, lower ME
roughages. However, I'm having trouble accepting the idea that "Twenty
pounds of forage in [a horse's] gut is no different than a 20-pound
weight around his waist" (Equus). A healthy, well-hydrated horse should
also be carrying "extra weight around his waist" in the form of water.>>

I can understand this point, although I don't agree with Joe on his support
of fat and a large portion of the diet. What you really want isnot a lot of
bulk passing through the gut during the event itself. Better if that same
"weight" has been incorporated into the tissues and is ready for use--your
water, for example, as a part of expanded blood volume and imcreased muscle
glycogen storage (2lbs of water for every pound of glycogen.) At the
racetrack, we avoid feeding hay inj proximity to a race and do our best to
give a strong enough warmup that we cause the horse to "empty out" before the

On the other hand, there are many trainers who do not feed anything on
raceday, and I believe that to be in error as well. Grain goes to work as an
evergy source very quickly, causing a rise in blood glucose within a half
hour and a peak at two hours. So I figure grain carries its own weight on

>>2. Grain before hay???: Personal experience with this one, but hay will
always be fed before grain with my critters. When the horses are on
schedules which require 2X or 3X a day feedings for hay, the grain gets
fed about midway or last. I would be more worried about the unchewed
grain entering a stomach (providing fewer nutrients) from a hungry horse
when fed grain first. I'm sure we've all seen the "vacuums on four
legs" wolf down dinner... when they start to fill up, they finally spend
a little more time chewing feed. Maybe it's a choice between the best of
two evils: More whole grains swallowed (grain fed first) versus "excess
saliva production" which could accelerate the digestive process (Pagan).>>

Since 1980, I have been advising my clients to feed their horses free choice
alfalfa/timothy mix but to avoid counting on the hay to provide much at all
in terms of the balanced high-powered diet racehorses need to move forward.
Many thousands have had good luck formulating sophisticated grain--based
diets and simply ignoring the hay as a dietary component. It's there, free
choice, but it doesn't count, in my barn. I've always had very healthy,
non-colicking horses. Of course these are racehorses, not endurance. animals.


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