الإثنين 22 يوليو 2024

Added Fat Improves Horse Behaviour

موقع أيام نيوز

Diet affects behaviour. This makes sense. A wellfed horse is healthy. And a healthy horse feels good. Conversely a poorlynourished horse is suffering. A variation in hormone levels for example can have a temporary effect on how the horse sees the world. Just as reaction to sugar intake varies in humans so it does in horses. Horses may feel ill or off from an overindulgence in sugarstarch and they certainly have been reported to exhibit sugar highs and lows caused by the sudden surge and subsequent drop in blood glucose from a high carbohydrate sugar starch meal. Although there is in fact little scientific evidence that proves a sugarstarchdriven behavioural component many horse owners will attest to their own horses showing adverse behavioural responses and will therefore avoid feeding anything that contains starchy cereal grains or is sweetened with molasses. 

There are plenty of good reasons beyond the scope of this article to avoid high sugarhigh starch diets but in terms of behaviour what alternative does a horse owner have if the horse simply needs more calories to meet the added demands of exercise work and performing? Hay and grass simply cannot provide enough energy calories to support these additional requirements. 
The Answer is Fat
Gram for gram fat provides more than double the calories of carbohydrates or protein. And it is well digested. But theres an added bonus Fat has a calming effect on horses behaviour.
Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute1 noticed that horses fed a high fat diet are less reactive to startling stimuli and had lower levels of excitability and anxiety than horses fed a more traditional grainbased diet. The horses in their experiment received 15 percent of the total calories from fat which is high for most horses. However the study reveals that fat is worth trying if you have a sensitive horse who may become easily excited by everyday activities. Please note Ponies minis donkeys and mules should not receive high fat diets.
All fat has the same number of calories regardless of the source. But from a health perspective it is best to steer clear of animal fats as well as oils that have too many omega 6s which increase inflammation in relation to omega 3s which have an antiinflammatory effect. Oils high in monounsaturated fatty acids are a good source since they neither increase nor decrease inflammation.
Below are some commonly fed fat sources 
Ground flaxseeds and