I will be moving soon and having been looking at barns in my new location at which to potentially board my horse. It seems that many of the barns I've looked at, when asked about their feeding program, stress that they feed a high fat(~14%) and low protein(~10%) grain, and how good that ratio is.
Why is it preferable to have a high fat content and lower protein content? This seems counter-intuitive to me.
I have a quite young(4y/o) performance horse that is just starting to come into fitness and warrant an increased work load. His diet is composed mainly of T&A hay(15-18lbs daily), supplemented w/ a relatively small ammount(3lbs daily) of a high protein/low fat feed(14%/6%). I find that he does very well on this diet, and am reluctant to change it to something so drastically different. It is my understanding that a high protein grain will facilitate increased energy and muscle development.
Perhaps I'm just being naive, but I'm curious as to why so many seem to prefer a high fat/low protein formula.
Hmm. The barn manager definitely made a big point of saying how good and high the 14% fat was in the sweet 10.
Perhaps it is being made up for in hay - they do feed quite a bit of fairly good quality T&A, with the option of free choice. I didn't even think to ask if they'd had it tested. I certainly will though.
Well. I just looked it up, and apparently sweet 10 has only 5% fat ...which makes me question if the BM knew what she was talking about, as she went on for a few minutes at least on how great this super high fat food was ...
Another barn I looked at fed some type of Purina grain that I actually looked at(can't for my life remember the name though) - it was 11.7% protein and I thiiiink 13.5% fat. They also said that they liked the higher fat/lower protein situation.
Maybe they have some PSSM horses (or think they do).
Maybe they are on a bandwagon.
Either way, you can't call a whole ration "low protein" or "high protein" unless you factor in what's in the hay. Even several pounds of a feed that's VERY high in protein (like some ration balancers, which are 30-32%) will give you a very moderate TOTAL protein intake if it's fed with hay that is modest in protein.
Fat isn't going to hurt an animal, but it might be more calories than the animal needs. You really need to know what's in the hay before making up your mind on a feed regimen, in terms of whether it's really "high" or "low" in something.
High fat, low protein, low sugar diets are recommended for ulcer horses by many vets and large vet hospitals. I am assuming it may have benefits for normal equines as well although my experience with this is strictly in the area of ulcers. I am sure googling it will produce some results.
I may be the odd one out but I may not consider 10% protein to be really low for a grain. While it is on the lower end, I have always been told the normal mature non-breeding not high level horse would be just fine on the recommended amount of a 10% grain. To some old school people 5% fat may see higher, as many older feeds were around 3% and maybe they were also thinking that at 10% fiber that is higher than many sweet feeds as well. Just a few thoughts.
I actually prefer a high fat, higher protein, lower sugar/starch feed. And I'd also like to see high fiber in it as well. Some people wrongly assume that low protein will keep a horse quieter, but they really need to address the sugar content in that case.
I am another in the higher-fat (versus feeding higher concentrates/starches), higher protein, lower sugar/starch feed camp as well. There are a lot of benefits to feeding higher fat diets however one must find a balance (too high or low in anything is not beneficial and can actually be harmful). Both protein and fats are important and fat is very efficient.
Google "high fat diets in horses" if you are looking for additional information./
....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.
Although many people see a higher fat content today and may think it is a lower NSC grain, but this one does not appear to be. Corn and Oats are a big part of it, but actually while many people would run away from that it doesn't look all that bad. If the horse seems fine on it, I would not worry.