July 30, 2012
A horse’s diet and nutrition make a major difference in his energy levels.
I have an 8-year-old gelding who is ridden regularly, receives one scoop of sweet feed and grass hay, but is still “hot.” What feeds do you recommend for hot horses? Do calming supplements work?
To answer this question, we sought out nutrition expert Dr. Lydia Gray from AQHA Corporate Partner SmartPak Equine.
I suggest replacing his sweet feed with a ration balancer (or multi-vitamin). Some horses do better when their energy comes from complex carbohydrates or from fat. Make sure he is getting a full serving of this fortified grain for his age, weight and workload.
Sweet feed can contain as much as 50 percent sugars and starches, which are what can cause some horses to be hot. The sugars are quickly digested and absorbed in the blood stream, leading to a spike in insulin release.
As far as calming supplements, you may find you don’t need one after swapping out the sweet feed in his diet. But if you want to try this approach, keep in mind that there are two broad categories of calming supplements: nutritional-based and herbal-based.
Some horses respond better to the nutrients magnesium, B-vitamins and tryptophan (an amino acid), while other horses are able to normalize their nervous systems with herbs such as valerian, vervain, chamomile, hops, passion flower or others.
Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak
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