The Perfect Diet for a Racing Horse – A Quick Rundown

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A horse has a specific dietary requirement. It is an herbivores animal and thus possesses a digestive tract that is unique and different from humans. His long digestive system needs a diet that is rich in fiber and which it can eat in small quantities over an extended time. As opposed to a couple of big meals that we eat a horse will consume many small meals. A horse will spend a good amount of time to eat.

Food to Consider

Below is a rundown as to what a horse should eat to get ready for a race be it in Kentucky Downs or any other racecourse,

Plants and Pasture Grass- Tender plants and pasture grass is a horse’s natural diet. Good pasture has the good nutrition that a horse needs for being healthy. It also has silica that is vital for dental health.  

Hay- If the grass is not at your disposal then hay can be the next top choice. Getting good hay for the horse may be difficult. Test the hay to compensate shortfalls in minerals and vitamins if any with supplements.

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Grains– A traditional grain that horses eat is oats. But a horse can be fed with other grains such as corn in small quantities. Wheat is not a good choice. Overeating, in this case, can result in founder or colic.

Concentrate Mixes- Usually a concentrate is a mixture comprising of things such as beet pulp, flaxseed, grains, minerals, vitamins, bran, molasses for flavor and energy and other ingredients. The commercial mixes will contain a good number of ingredients, or a few feed mills will indeed mix concentrates to the specifications. The concentrates such as grain will help in making for the shortfall in nutrition thereby offering a ready source of energy. Working horses, performance horses, nursing mares or mares in foal often benefit from getting fed concentrates along with hay or grass.

Minerals and Salt- The supplements like minerals and salt may be added in the concentrate mix and/or offered separately. Loose salt or a salt block in a stall or pasture will allow the horse in helping itself when he has a craving. Some salts may come with minerals. You can also offer free choice minerals, or you can add that with the concentrated meal or the horse’s grain.

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Treats- Most people prefer to give small treats to their horse. Such tidbits may comprise of carrots, apples or any other favorite vegetable or fruit, candies, sugar cubes, handfuls of grain or at times odd things such as a boiled egg or a piece of hot dog. Feeding treats to a horse in small amounts is vital. It should be a part of your horse’s overall feeding plan.

Water- This is a crucial part of a horse’s diet. Clean, fresh water indeed is essential.

Do Not Feed- The truth is brans including rice bran and wheat are ideal as a part of the horse’s diet. It can create a mineral imbalance. Avoid throwing compostables, garden refuses or lawn clippings over the fence because these have plants that are toxic for horses.

So, now you know what to feed your racing horse. Try it and reap the benefits.


I have been writing on tech since 2014 and what started as a side gig has now turned into a profession that I am immensely passionate about. A computer science graduate by education, I also enjoy reading and baking.

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