Dr. med. vet. Malin Olson
In the wild horses can graze up to sixteen hours a day. The purpose of grazing is to fulfill the nutrient and energy needs of the horse to keep up the horse’s vitality.
To be able to have fast excess to energy, horses store energy in the form of glycogen in their muscles. These storages of glycogen can be compared with a battery of a smartphone. As horses had a very slow energy intake during million of years the battery in the muscles are adapted to charge energy slowly.
Stabled horses are normally fed two to three times a day. If we sum up the time they spend with energy intake, we barely make it over three hours. This is like trying to charge a smartphone plugging it to a stronger power source and think it gets charged within minutes instead of hours. Doing this you will not just fail you will also destroy the battery of your phone over the time.
Always try to prolong the feeding time and don’t expect to get more energy out of your horse by feeding concentrated energy in form of starch rich grains.
Feed as many meals as possible and choose feed, which prolong feed intake time.