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Cornell Vet. 1988 Jan;78(1):53-61.

Nutritional management of horses competing in 160 km races.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523.


A survey was taken of dietary management and training schedules of 54 horses competing in two 160 km endurance races. A total of 52 owners, representing 54 horses, responded to a questionnaire distributed prior to the races. Diet and training schedules were compared between horses that successfully completed the races and those that were eliminated for metabolic reasons. Horses that completed the races were 11.5 +/- 4 years old, weighed 429 +/- 4.5 kg and were ridden 61 +/- 32 km a week when training. Feed intake was reported as "free choice hay or pasture" by 34 of the respondents. Dry matter (DM) hay intake in these horses was estimated to be 3% body weight (kg) minus the kg DM of grain fed, assuming a maximum intake. They were fed 12.3 +/- 2.3 kg feed per day consisting of 10 +/- 2.3 kg hay and 2.3 +/- 1.4 kg of grain. Most had free access to salt and were fed 1 +/- 1 vitamin/mineral supplement per day. Based on Nutritional Research Council (NRC) values for nutrient content of the reported feeds, diets contained 60 +/- 5% total digestible nutrients (TDN), 12 +/- 2% crude protein, 27 +/- 4% crude fiber, 0.72 +/- 0.4% calcium and 0.29 +/- 0.06% phosphorus. Maximum caloric intake was estimated to be 31.9 Mcal per day. Ratios of nutrients fed per kilometer trained were: kg TDN/km = .14 +/- .08, kg crude protein/km trained = .03 +/- .02, and kg crude fiber/km trained = .06 +/- .04.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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