Over a four-year period, scientists studied the incidence of developmental orthopedic disease on a single large commercial Thoroughbred farm in Kentucky.
A recent study conducted may help to explain the mechanism by which large starch-laden grain meals can disrupt safe growth patterns in young horses.
In a three-year study conducted by Kentucky Equine Research in the early 1990s, 350 Thoroughbred colts and 350 Thoroughbred fillies in central Kentucky were weighed monthly on a portable electronic scale through 18 months of age to determine effect of birth month on size and weight gain.
Proper feed management is critical for those who are feeding young, growing horses. Type and availability of forage, variation in amount and frequency of grain meals, and each horse’s individual metabolism and body type must be considered in order to meet the needs of these young equines.
The goal of raising performance horses is to produce sound athletes. All young horses require certain nutrients in specific amounts to grow optimally.
How much and how often should my orphaned pony filly be fed?
Is there ever a reason to completely remove a concentrate from a foal’s diet in order to avoid growth problems?
Protein requirements for growth in horses are primarily determined by requirements for the amino acids contained in the protein.
Supplying appropriate amounts of energy as other essential nutrients to yearlings and two-year-olds will ensure proper growth and greatly reduce the risk of developmental problems.
Setting standards to feed growing horses requires owners to revise amounts of grain and forage as the animals continue to become taller and heavier.
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