Breakfasts for Racing Horses
Just as the top human professional athletes consume an effective nutritional regimen to keep their level of performance at its peak, the best race horses also eat to beat - the other horses, that is. When you’re a champion race horse, your run of the mill Horse Chow just won’t cut it. Pet and animal feed manufacturers have responded to the demand for a high octane (as it were) feed specifically formulated to satisfy the exacting nutritional requirements of race horses. These specialty feeds not only provide a nutritive balance of vitamins, minerals, food energy and fiber, they also include certain supplements race horses need to stay healthy at least, and in the Winner’s Circle at best.
The best race horse feeds are advertised much like human health foods, with an emphasis on anti-oxidants, trace minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids. There are some striking differences in their ingredients however. Bones, made up chiefly of Calcium Phosphate, are a horse’s bread & butter, so race horse feeds include generous percentages of Calcium and Phosphorus. Fats predominate over proteins, because as herbivores horses do not consume much protein in their natural diets.
Horses derive energy from fats and carbohydrates, although some proteins are typically added to race horse feeds to take some of the burden off the horse’s own internal methods of protein production. Sugars are avoided because they may contribute to hyperactivity; horses can produce the sugars they need on their own. Yeast is also an important component of race horse feeds, assisting the horse in digesting its vegetable intensive diet.
Nutrition wasn’t always given great consideration by owners and trainers, but that attitude has changed as a result of spin-offs from human nutrition studies that show links between good nutrition and optimum athletic performance. Yes, oats are still a staple of race horse feeds, but nowadays they are supplemented by other grains, seeds and fiber sources like beet roots. “Mairzy Doats”? Still true, but they take their vitamins too!