Italian Journal of Animal Science (Apr 2010)

A multi-factorial approach to the nutritional requirements of sports horses: critical analysis and some practical applications

  • E. Valle,
  • D. Bergero

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1s
pp. 639 – 641


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The main objectives for the correct feeding of the horses is to provide them all the nutrients required to satisfy the organism’s needs and all the substances that can help to avoid metabolic problems and to use energy substrates and different nutrients sources in proper way. Many factors can influence the success of a feeding plan such as owner expectations, metabolic and digestive differences among horses, and stable conditions. Moreover the estimation in field conditions of nutritional requirements is usually performed by empirical way and not always estimated with care. It is generally based on the observation of the work performed as judged by rider and the Body Condition Score of the horse. As a result the nutritional requirements of the horse are frequently misjudged. In particular energy expenditure for exercise is often correlated to the riders perception or horse work attitude. To try to assess the workload in proper way, it is then important to try using new tools to better understand the real needs of sport horses. For this reason, new areas are nowadays explored and new techniques applied to sport horses.