Nutrition is an essential part of the daily management of the horse. It affects the health, welfare and performance of the animal, which in natural surroundings would spend up to 65 % of time foraging for food. The digestive system reflects this behavioural process. Whilst recent advances in equine nutrition have improved our knowledge of how to optimise the feeding of horses under different physiological challenges, this book tries to incorporate the interaction between nutrition, digestive physiology and behaviour.
Any text on the nutrition of the horse has to address the dynamic interaction between the physiology of the animal and the mechanisms of supply of nutrients. This involves analysing current feed evaluation systems to quantify the digestive process and the requirements of the horse. A balance needs to be maintained between feeds available, the biology of digestion and feed conversion, and the requirements. This volume examines these three areas in depth, drawing on a biological approach to solving problems associated with nutrition as well as an applied approach for the equine industry. The book aims to blend theoretical knowledge and practical feed management by creating an understanding of the physiological processes which form the basis for practical rationing.