Effect of Feed Management and Probiotics on HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · April 17, 2012
A study conducted at Ohio State University was designed to record physiological and behavioral responses to different feeding practices in Quarter Horses.
In the first phase, horses were given grain meals one, two, or three times a day and the order of feeding hay and grain (grain and then hay, or hay and then grain) was switched for each meal plan. Results showed that although glucose, insulin, and cortisol concentrations varied with time, there were no differences in these values related to number of meals or presentation order of feedstuffs. No differences were seen in some stereotypies (pawing and cribbing), although horses receiving one daily grain meal before hay were seen weaving more often than horses that received two or three grain meals each day.
The second part of the study looked at the results of administering a commercial probiotic to young Quarter Horses. The horses were given the probiotic for 11 weeks and then were transported and also given tetanus vaccinations. No difference was found in tetanus antibody titers between supplemented and control horses, and no specific effects related to travel stress (measured as plasma cortisol concentrations) were seen in supplemented horses.