When you talk to trainers about their racehorses, many of them will tell you that one of the biggest challenges is getting a race horse to eat. This may seem counterintuitive. A race horse is constantly burning energy. So one would think that a racehorse would constantly be eating. However, there are a number of reasons why a racehorse may lose their appetite. It seems that racehorses not wanting to eat is a common occurrence, especially as they get a little older and are reaching the later stages of racing competitions.
This gives new credence to the old saying you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink. It is clear that, at times, this same principle could apply to feeding. There’s nothing that you can do to force your horse to eat. However, there are things that you can do that might improve your horse’s appetite.
Racehorse supplements are one thing that have helped some racehorses regain their appetite. Research has clearly shown that vitamin B1 is a key part of a horse maintaining its appetite. Vitamin B1 is found in the food that horses eat. However, they may need some supplementation in order to enc
ourage their system to work as it should.
One mistake some trainers make is giving their racehorse uncooked corn or barley. This results in a lot of starch accumulating in the horse’s hindgut. As the starches ferment and bacteria in the hindgut thrive, vitamin B1 is destroyed. The result is a loss of vitamin B1 and a loss of appetite.
However, if grains are cooked, the starches from the grains will be stored in the small intestine. There they will be destroyed and not have an impact on B1 production.
It’s important to make sure that the food and the hay you are giving your horse does not develop mold. Mold can destroy your horse’s appetite. Another problem that may be making it difficult for your horse to eat is because they have ulcers. When it comes to ulcers, it’s better to prevent them than to try to cure them. If a horse has ulcers or if a horse is not eating, it is good to have a veterinarian look them over.