Kentucky Equine Research

Feeding the Elite Sport Horse

April 27, 2010

KER president and founder Joe Pagan, Ph.D., discussed the nutritional trends that arose during several international competitions, including four Olympics Games (1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, and 2008 Hong Kong) and two World Equestrian Games (WEG; 2002 Juarez, 2006 Aachen). Though the Olympic competitions have international significance, they are relatively small horses shows with approximately 150 to 215 equine athletes on site. At the WEG, conversely, have several hundred horses competing.

At each of the competitions, Pagan explained the challenges that sprung up with each change of venue. Suitable forages were harder get in certain locations. High-quality timothy hay, often from the Pacific Northwest of the United States, was available at all of the venues. Other forage choices such as chaff and haylage were available as well.

For each of these competitions, KER Team Members supplied suitable feeds to competitors representing several nations. In addition to textured and pelleted feeds, KER found high-quality cereal grains (oats, corn, barley, etc.) for the equine competitors.

Aside from hay, other forage products, and concentrates, KER also supplied bedding for many of these competitions. Shavings were easy to supply, as were bales of wheat straw. Some of the competitors preferred shredded newspaper, and this bedding was more difficult to obtain at certain venues. However, KER was always able to find a supplier.

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