Why is the starch content of so many feeds so high?

Concerned about the starch levels in your horse’s feed? Want to know why starch levels are so high in some? Clare Barfoot BSC (Hons) Rutr, and equine nutrition expert at Spillers answers:

Not all feeds are high in starch, it depends on the type of feed and the type of horse or workload the feed is designed for. Mixes are always higher in starch than cubes, because they contain flaked cereals for visual appeal for both horse and human. If you have a horse that you use for leisure or a pony, they don’t often need the extra calories supplied by compound feed, and it’s never advisable to feed native ponies cereal based feeds. In these types a fibre based feed fed alongside a balancer is most suitable.

scoop of horse feed

Although sugar and starch should be restricted in some horse’s diets, especially in those prone to laminitis, some cereal starch in the diet can be beneficial. In very hard working horses especially those in regular work starch can help replenish glycogen stores.

Feeding well is all about choosing the most suitable feed for your horse’s needs, if you’ve been advised to keep starch out of your horse’s diet there are now plenty of options available to help keep the starch to a minimum. Talk to your nutritionist for more information on planning a tailored diet for your horse.

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