Digestible energy requirements for work and maintenance of horses fed conventional and fat-supplemented diets


A control and a 10% fat-supplemented diet were fed to exercising horses maintained in two different body conditions, during both temperate and hot weather, to determine the efficacy of fat as dietary aid to reduced energy requirements for thermal regulation in exercising horses. Horses were worked 7.2 km daily, 5 d/w, and in each season were fed sufficient energy to maintain constant body weight and body fat content at each assigned level of body condition. In both seasons and in both body conditions, digestible energy intake was lower (P<.01) when the horses were fed the fat-supplemented diet than when fed the control diet. Digestible energy intake was partitioned into requirements for work and maintenance. Since work levels were similar, digestible energy requirements for work were similar when horses were fed both experimental diets. However, the digestible energy requirements for maintenance were significantly lower (P<.01) when the horses were fed the fat-supplemented diet. Thus, it appears that feeding fat to exercising horses reduces the thermal load and resulting digestible energy requirements for maintenance in both temperate and hot weather. © 1990, William E. Jones, All Rights Reserved. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Equine Veterinary Science