Feeding fibre

Fibre provides slow release energy while filling your horse’s gut and can be fed in a number of forms.

Chaff products have always played a big part in feeding as chopped straw and hay were traditionally used to bulk up feeds. Today many chaff products are available on the market including molassed and non molassed varieties which can be fed easily as a natural source of fibre. ReadiGrass from Friendship Estates is 100% grass with nothing added. It can be fed as a chaff to slow down quick eaters and is also a fantastic way to disguise supplements or medications which need to be added to feed. Alternatively it can be fed in larger quantities to enhance or completely replace your horse’s forage ration.

Many people think feeding straw is an absolute no no, but it’s often included in many feeds. Nutritionally improved oat straw is usually in high fibre pellets (fed alone or as part of a compound feed) and also in some chaff products. Alfalfa Alfalfa is a legume related to the pea and bean family. The dried leaves and stalks of the alfalfa plant provide fibre, energy, quality protein and vitamins A, B and E. Dengie is the UK’s largest producer of alfalfa in the UK so you’ll probably have seen a number of their products.

Sugar beet
Sugar beet is a great fibre provider and can be bought in many forms. But, because of its ability to absorb water, sugar beet cubes and pellets must be soaked so they’re safe to feed. Without soaking, sugar beet could be the cause of choke, colic or swelling of the horse’s stomach. However, compound feeds containing sugar beet are safe to feed without soaking.

How long should you soak it for?
Cubes or pellets should be soaked for 24 hours, and shreds for 12 hours. Flakes such as Speedi-Beet flakes should be soaked for 10 minutes. While sugar beet is nothing new, ‘quick soak’ sugar beet is. Like normal sugar beet, it’s high in fibre, palatable and great form of slow release energy, but it’s so much quicker to prepare. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life it’s sometimes not ideal to have to wait 24 or even 12 hours for your sugar beet to soak. So, quick soak products like Speedi-Beet, from British Horse Feeds, are proving popular as well as practical.

What is Speedi-beet?
Speedi-beet is specially processed sugar beet. After being processed the beet pulp is flaked to increase surface area and aid rapid water absorption, which is why Speedi-beet can be prepared in less than 10 minutes.