Fructans in Horse Forages: What You Need To Know

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Feeding a balanced diet to your horse is important, and sometimes the greatest challenge comes from understanding all the components that make up a nutritious meal. While minerals and vitamins can be easy to manage, many horse owners are not sure what role fructans play in their horse’s daily diet.

If you’re unfamiliar with this type of carbohydrate or want to understand its benefits better, then this blog post will provide valuable insight into why fructans are an essential part of equine nutrition. Read on to learn more about what they do for your horse and how you can ensure he’s getting enough of them!

What are fructans for horses?

Fructans are carbohydrates found in plants and grasses that horses digest to produce energy. Fructans are considered the primary source of glucose for equines and can be especially beneficial during times of physical stress such as exercise or long trips. Horses on grazing pastures tend to receive a steady supply of fructans from the plants, but horses kept in dry lots or with limited access to pasture will require supplementation.

There are various feed supplements available that provide an appetizing source of fructans for horses, many containing both soluble and insoluble fiber sources to help maintain a healthy gut environment and digestive system. Properly supplementing your horse’s diet with fructans can go a long way in helping to reduce their risk of colic and laminitis due to a lack of access to pasture grasses.

Do fructans cause laminitis in horses?

Fructans, or insoluble carbohydrates found in grasses and many grains, have been studied as a risk factor for laminitis – an often painful condition of the hooves that can be chronic or recurring.

While it isn’t definitively known if fructans can cause laminitis in horses, research has suggested that horses experiencing episodes may be more sensitive to the molecule. In one study conducted on ponies in various pastures, researchers observed higher fructan concentrations in those with an episode of laminitis compared to those who had not experienced it.

The evidence suggests a connection between higher fructan intake and an increased risk; however, further research needs to be conducted to determine the degree of correlation.

Why is forage intake essential in horse nutrition?

Forage intake is essential for proper horse nutrition, as it helps ensure a balanced intake of nutrients and calories for your equine companion.

The fiber in forages helps contribute to a healthy digestive tract and impacts important factors such as mineral absorption, gut health, and hindgut pH. Intake of high-quality hay or pasture helps horses maintain optimum weight while aiding in the regulation of their metabolic processes.

Without adequate forage, horses can suffer a variety of ailments that can have severe long-term consequences related to all areas of their overall health. While many horses do well on feed supplements, proper hay or grass makes up the bulk of the daily caloric intake for any horse and should not be shortchanged when it comes to providing your horse with the best care possible.

What is the best forage for horses?

For horses, the best forage is a hay variety that is rich in protein and fiber such as alfalfa hay. It should also have a low sugar content to maintain energy levels while avoiding health issues associated with high-sugar feeds.

Additionally, it helps to vary their feed with fresh grass when available, an occasional treat of fruit or vegetables, and moderate amounts of grains. When selecting the right forage for horses, quality, and nutrition are essential components that need to be taken into account to ensure proper nutrition.

In conclusion

When considering the inclusion of fructans in horse forages within your feed program, it is important to consider multiple factors. Having a complete understanding of the properties and sources of fructans can help to determine the levels that are recommended for your horses.

Ultimately, ensuring your horse has access to adequate nutrition with their hay or pasture, supplemented with quality concentrate and concentrate alternatives can help ensure that they remain healthy and perform at their best. With proper management, you can make sure your horse maintains a balanced diet and provides them with the necessary nutrients needed for optimal health and performance.

Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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