Feeding to Calm the “Hot” Horse

Equine nutritionist Shannon Pratt-Phillips, Ph.D., says a hot horse may benefit from being fed and managed to attenuate blood glucose responses to feeding.

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By: Shannon Pratt-Phillips, PhD |

Some breeds, like Thoroughbreds and Arabians, are known to be hot blooded — highly sensitive to their surroundings, stress levels and even diets. Other horses have behavioural issues that make them nervous or excitable and some susceptible to sugar or glucose blood rushes after feeding.

Equine nutritionist Shannon Pratt-Phillips offers Horse Sport readers nutrition and feeding strategies that can help manage hot horses. She describes how calories, which give the horse energy, are derived from fat, carbohydrates, and less so, protein and how to manage blood-glucose levels by feeding a diet low in starch and sugar but high enough in calories to accommodate the demands of exercise and high daily calorie requirements that are typical of hard-keeping hot horses. Pratt-Phillips also suggests offering concentrated feeds in many small meals throughout the day to prevent fluctuations in blood glucose, keeping in mind the timing of feeding related to exercise to avoid riding at the peak of a glucose rush.

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