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by Downunder Horsemanship

What Makes a Horse a Performance Horse?

By Standlee Premium Western Forage

Performance is loosely defined as any form of work or forced physical activity. Work or physical activity can include walking, trotting, cantering, running, jumping and turning. Therefore, a performance horse can include any horse that is actively ridden, trained or that may carry or pull a load. With this broad definition of performance, many of us have horses that are considered performance horses. Since the performance activities of horses vary in both duration and intensity, feeding systems to address the nutrient requirements of these horses must also vary.

Usually, we begin feeding performance horses by providing free-access to fresh, clean water. The next step is to provide adequate energy, but how do we determine how much energy they require? Energy is the only dietary factor that you can visually determine dietary adequacy. If you are feeding too much energy (too many calories), the horse gains weight or becomes fat. On the other hand, if you don’t feed enough energy (too few calories), the horse becomes thin or loses weight. You can’t simply look at horses and determine the status of other critical nutrients. Therefore, if your performance horse is too thin or too fat, it is your responsibility, since we have the ability to offer more or less feed, to properly balance energy requirements. To provide energy to the performance horse, we begin with feeding good, quality forage (pasture/hay) and add additional energy with the use of a combination of starch, fat and super-fibers.

Find out more information about what forage types will best fit your horse on our website.