Variations in voluntary feed intake in 2 year old Standardbred geldings in training fed a forage only diet ad libitum

  • S. RingmarkEmail author
  • A. Jansson
Part of the Forages and grazing in horse nutrition book series (EAAP, volume 132)


There are no studies on forage intake potential in young horses in heavy training. The aim of this study was to describe variations in forage intake in 13 two year old standardbred geldings in training adapted to an ad libitum forage-only diet. Individual voluntary feed intake was measured for 2 periods of 3 days with 50 days in between. Feed was provided 3 times per day and residues were collected every morning. The forage was a 2nd cut grass haylage (10.8 MJ ME/kg DM, CP 139 g/kg DM). Body condition (BC) was registered in both periods. There was no difference between periods in BC (mean 5.1±0.1) and daily DM intake (mean 2.3±0.02 kg/100 kg BW). DM intake was affected by individual and day (day 1: 2.4, day 2: 2.3, day 3: 2.3 kg/100 kg BW, SEM 0.03). Individual mean intakes ranged from 2.16 to 2.49 kg DM/100 kg BW and the lowest and highest intakes registered was 1.80 kg and 2.88 kg DM/100 kg BW, respectively. This study shows that: (1) two year old horses in training can have a mean daily intake corresponding to 2.3% of BW and maintain BC on a forage-only diet; (2) the variation between individuals in daily voluntary intake may be as high as 60%; and (3) daily variation within individuals may correspond to 18% of the average intake.


horses forage intake exercise growing 


  1. Connysson, M., B. Essen-Gustavsson, J.E. Lindberg and A. Jansson, 2010. Effects of feed deprivation on Standardbred horses fed a forage-only diet and a 50:50 forage-oats diet. Equine vet. J., 42, 335–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Edouard, N., G. Fleurance, W. Martin-Rosset, P. Duncan, J.P. Dulphy, S. Grange, R. Baumont, H. Dubroeucq, F.J. Pèrez-Barberia and I.J. Gordon, 2008. Voluntary intake and digestibility in horses: effect of forage quality with emphasis on individual variability. Animal, 2:10, 1526–1533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Henneke, D.R., G.D. Potter, J.L. Kreider, and B.F. Yeates, 1983. Relationship between condition score, physical measurements and body fat percentage in mares. Equine vet. J., 15(4), 371–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jansson, A. and J.E. Lindberg, 2010. Effects of a forage-only diet on body weight, microflora and VLa4 on Standardbred horses in training. Proceedings of the 1st Nordic Feed Science Conference, Uppsala, Sweden 22–23 June 2010, 124-126.Google Scholar
  5. LaCasha, P.A., H.A. Brady, V.G. Allen, C.R. Richardson and K.R. Pond, 1999. Volountary intake, digestibility and subsequent selection of Matua bromegrass, costal bermudagrass and alfalfa hays by yearling horses. J. anim. Sci. 77, 2766–2773.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Muhonen, S., J.E. Lindberg, J. Bertilsson and A. Jansson, 2009. Effects of fluid balance, digestion and exercise response in Standardbred horses fed silage, haylage end hay. Comparative Exercise Physiology. 5(3–4), 133–142.Google Scholar
  7. National Research Council, NRC, 2007. Nutrient requirements of horses. National Academies Press, Washington D.C., USA, pp. 298.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Nutrition and ManagementSwedish University of Agricultural ScienceUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations