Top Tips for Following a Low-Sugar/High-Fiber Diet

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Two horse-care trends earn top marks: feeding a low-sugar/high-fiber diet and providing more turnout time. You’ve seen both touted in past issues of H&R in our Health, Horsekeeping, and Whole Horse departments. Here are some of our best horse-feeding tips from 2015. 

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Hot horse: Horses with high-energy temperaments can become noticeably more reactive if oversupplied with rich feed. Make sure to balance your hot horse's intake with his output, and avoid high-carb (starch, sugar) concentrates. If he's hot and and a hard keeper, in addition to good forage, choose concentrates and supplements that emphasize fat as a way to provide the extra low-carb calories he needs to maintain his weight.

Easy keeper: If your horse's weight is an issue and hay is your primary forage, don't immediately reduce the volume, but consider changing types. Alfalfa is higher in calories than grass hay, and the grain in grain hays (such as oat) is relatively high in calories and starch. So a good, mature grass hay (a bit more stemmy than leafy) will have lower calorie content for the same amount fed. (Avoid hay pellets, which are more digestible and therefore may deliver more calories per pound.) If your horse falls into this category and you're having trouble managing his weight, read Health Woes of Easy Keepers.