Endurance horses and eating

Daniel E. Hofford (dhofford@pacbell.net)
Fri, 28 Nov 1997 22:05:57 -0600

To everyone who has had a question about how to feed a horse or what to
feed a horse I would like to direct your attention to a book concerned
with human nutrition. The book is Enter the Zone by Barry Sears, Ph.D.
He's a research biochemist who studied the effects of protein,
carbohydrate and fat intake on hormone levels specifically and health in

What he found out has some interesting parallels to what people talk
about with their horses. Not that human and horse nutrition are
isomorphic but there is so much that is interesting between the two that
I thought some might enjoy the book.

He found that:
1. Americans consume far too many carbohydrates in proportion to the
amount of fat and protein they eat. We also consume far too much food
for our activity level, period. Obesity is on the rise.
2. Most of the fat we consume is of the wrong type.
3. One should eat no more protein than is necessary to maintain lean
body mass at a particular activity level and this is easily calculable.
4. A body that uses fat for most of its energy needs is far more
efficient, bio-chemically, than one that uses carbohydrates and much
5. You must go no more than five hours without eating.
6. And much more but thats why he wrote a book.

I'm 5'11 and weighed 196 when I read the book. I have weighed 172 for
the last year and half and all my blood work has moved in the right
direction. Cholesterol down, triglycerides down, blood pressure down,
LDL down, HDL up etc. The major factor in what I changed was
drastically cutting the amount of carbs and increasing the amount of
monounsaturated fat in my diet. I have seen horses before and after
where fat has been increased in their diet. Amazing. My energy levels
rose and have remained high all day where they used to fluctuate every
time I ate. Imagine the same mechanism going on in an endurance horse.

My point is: There is a way for you to experience what various ratios
of Protein, Carbohydrate and Mono-unsaturated fats can do in and for
your own body to get a really good empiricial taste of what goes on in
your horses. I'm not suggesting that we and the horse are exactly the
same, physiologically, but...
Atheletes in this country who carbo load, (not many in Europe do this)
experience what they call, bonking. Not unlike a horse tying up.

Anyway, something to think about.

Dan Hofford