September 19, 2009 - Feeding For the Ages

  • September 16, 2009
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By Jeannie Blancq Putney  

You are what you eat. This is probably truer for young Thoroughbred racehorses than it is for many other creatures. Unfortunately, many misconceptions exist about what is and isn’t good for the growing Thoroughbred. One thing is certain—paying attention to what your growing horse is ingesting will only make for a better athlete along the way and may help prevent deficiencies that can cause developmental abnormalities.

Research on equine nutrition is abundant, but one of the best places to start is with the National Research Council 2007. Now in its sixth revised edition, the NRC’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses offers reference material for feeding various classes of horses. The NRC breaks horses into five age groups for nutritional purposes: weanling (4-to-6 months old), yearling (12 months), long yearling (18 months with classifications of sedentary, light, or moderate exercise), 2-year-olds in-training (with four variations of exercise intensity, including light, moderate, heavy, and very heavy), and mature exercising horse (with the same four variations of exercise intensity). The NRC does not include a 3-year-old category, because it classifies horses as mature at the age of 24 months.

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