If you’re a regular reader, you know we emphasize nutrition, as we believe it’s at the root of many of our horses’ problems. It’s as “back to the basics” as you can get in horse management. Just for fun, test yourself to see how you’re doing in understanding equine nutrition.
1. Which of these basic common feeds has the highest calorie content:
A. Wheat bran
E. Rice bran
2. The protein content of beet pulp is usually around:
A. 12 to 14%
B. 9 to 10%
C. 4 to 5%
D. Zero ??? beet pulp is all fiber
3. Which of these feeds has the highest level of the amino acid lysine’
D. Beet pulp
4. Which vitamin is in rich supply in fresh grasses but destroyed in hay’
A. Vitamin D
B. Vitamin K
C. Vitamin C
D. Vitamin A
E. Vitamin E
5. Which of these is the richest natural source of vitamin E’
A. Brewer’s yeast
B. Wheat bran
C. Vegetable oil
D. Sunflower seeds
E. Rice bran
6. What mineral is safe to feed in any amount without worrying about toxicity’
A. Salt (sodium chloride)
E. None of the above
7. True or False. If you feed a balanced, mineral-supplemented grain mix, you don’t have to worry about any other supplements.
1. A. Most people would think it’s rice bran, but wheat bran actually averages out higher. However, many weight-gain products based on rice bran actually add more fat to boost the calorie content.
2. B. 9-10%. Many people don’t realize beet pulp has a protein level equivalent to medium-quality oats and it’s higher than many grass hays.
3. D. Beet pulp again. It’s a lot more than just fiber.
4. C. Vitamin C. The horse manufactures his own vitamin C, preventing full-blown deficiencies. However, several studies have shown that blood levels of vitamin C are low in horses that don’t have access to fresh grass.
5. E. Rice bran. Stabilized rice bran contains about 50% more vitamin E than store bought vegetable oils
6. E. None. Minerals definitely do vary quite a bit in how potentially toxic they are and how well the body can handle excesses, but any mineral in excessive amounts can be harmful.
7. False. The supplements your horse needs in addition to his hay/pasture and plain grains depends entirely on the horse’s age, reproductive status, weight, level of work and what’s already present in, or missing from, the diet. Even supplemented grain mixes vary quite a bit in how many minerals are present in guaranteed amounts.