Summer is here and it is a great time to get out and spend time with your horse. It is also an important time to watch what you feed your horse during the hotter months of the year. During times of high temperatures, you want to feed your horse "cool feeds". "Cool feeds" are feeds that do not produce a lot of heat when being digested because of fermentation in the hindgut.
Benefits of Fat:Fat is digested very efficiently through the horse's small intestine and produces very little heat while being digested. Adding fats to your horse's diet when it is hot is the perfect way to increase calories to their diet. When it is hotter your horse is more likely to burn more calories than in the cooler months. While increasing the amount of fat that is in your horse's diet is beneficial, reducing their protein intake is important as well.
Too Much Protein:
The process of digesting protein produces large amounts of metabolic heat. With the increase in the horse's internal heat, they burn more calories through the process of digesting protein. The extra heat produced on a high protein diet in hot weather will make your horse sweat more, burn more calories, and drink more water to get rid of the excess heat and nitrogen in their body.