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Equine Nutrition Hub

Competition feed? Conditioning feed? Why does a performance feed feel so scary?

Competition Feed Vs Conditioning Feed

Now here is one subject area that can often have my clients wriggling with apprehension; but why? Let me explain...

rearing horse

Maybe your horse is on a lower calorie feed, at the recommended rate but needs to carry some extra condition through the winter. Perhaps you have already made a few adjustments such as for example increasing the forage or adding some additional oil and now you need to consider your next step.

For many, after years of experience working with different clients the notion of moving onto a conditioning feed does not feel 'scary', even if perhaps your horse may have shall we say, slightly more temperamental tendencies!! BUT if I suggest we go for a competition feed this is often met with fear and worry..

HOWEVER, there are a few things you need to understand here. First of all you need to know that calories and energy are EXACTLY the same thing. A calorie is a unit of energy. Therefore, when you consider it, surely a conditioning feed by its very nature is likely to be very high in calories and therefore energy. Believe it or not most conditioning feeds are higher in energy than the majority of competition feeds...

Nope, I am not lying I shall say it again, most conditioning feeds are higher in energy than the majority of competition feeds.

What is important to consider though is how that energy is supplied to the horse. A deliberately high starch competition feed, even though slightly lower in energy (calories) than a conditioning feed could well evoke an explosive response in certain horses. These days though there are many competition feeds which were designed for excitable horses who need the energy (calories) through highly digestible fibres and oils with controlled starch levels. In fact the starch level in certain competition feeds could be as much as 10% lower and only slightly lower in energy (calories) than certain conditioning feeds.

Did you know that conditioning feeds were typically higher in energy (calories) than competition feeds? Well you do now....

A Competition feed will not always be required, you may be able to go straight to a Conditioning feed, however it is a useful halfway house to have in your toolkit and to be aware of. If you are not sure quite what is right for your horse then it is not too late to get your winter consultation in. For fully insured, independent advice which has your horse treated like the rockstar he/she is, then please contact Donna on +44 (0)7901 337826 or via


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