Understanding and managing variable starch digestion in the horse

University of New England

  • Project code: PRJ-000629

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, May 30, 2003

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, May 30, 2007

  • National Priority: HOR-Thoroughbred diseases and parasites


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

University of New England

Objective Summary

To demonstrate that under commercial training conditions those horse fed diets likely to produce extensive fermentation of starch in the hindgut have more problems with respect to health adverse behaviour and poor performance than similar animals fed diets likely to produce little or no fermentable starch for hindgut fermentation. The research will focus on identifying simple measurements that can be made on individual horses to determine their ability to digest starch efficiently so that diets can beobjectively tailored for the requirements and ability of each horse. To investigate combinations of exogenous enzymes (amylase and amylogucosidase) to ensure that starch is completely digested in the small intestine prior to the hindgut. The major outcome will be to have clear evidence that hindgut starch fermentation is highly undesirable and to have practical cost effective methods of overcoming the problem.