Trivia Challenge: Feeding ‘Fails’—Can You Nail ’Em?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)
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Cartoon horse ponders true or false

1. A horse with a big pot belly yet visible ribs might plausibly have a…

A) carbohydrate deficiency.

B) protein deficiency.

C) food allergy.

2. A horse that looks like the equine version of the Michelin Man has a high risk for developing…

A) gastric ulcers.

B) energy deficiency.

C) insulin resistance.

3. True or false: The nutrient most commonly found to be lacking in a horse’s diet is selenium.

T / F

4. Mouth ulcers and excess salivation might result if a horse eats hay contaminated with…

A) bot flies.

B) blister beetles.

C) immature ladybugs.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. B is correct. A horse without enough protein in his daily ration will lose muscle and shape along his topline, even while the poor-quality grass hay he’s eating gives him a pot belly. If you’re in doubt, have the nutritional content of your hay tested, then supplement with a protein-rich commercial feed if need be. A mature horse in hard work should have 10% to 12% protein in his daily ration to build and maintain muscle.

2. C is correct. Excess fat can spike a horse’s risk for developing insulin resistance, a diabetes-like condition that can lead to a life-threatening founder episode if left unchecked.

3. T is correct. Horses’ diets can be deficient in many different vitamins and minerals, but selenium is the most commonly lacking nutrient, especially in certain areas of the country.

4. B is correct. Blister beetles cause extensive burning of a horse’s mucous membranes. Severe blister-beetle toxicity can lead to colic, shock, damage to the kidneys or heart, and even death.

[Before you go! Learn more about dangerous feeding mistakes that could harm your horse.]

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