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Barley sprouts have a good nutritional profile for equine. Protein levels in FEEDGROW® sprouts are generally around 20% – 24% as confirmed through our analysis done by Cornell University – hereto attached. Digestibility is high, as well as the moisture content. For high-performance horses, there are some that like to add a little sunflower seed for increased protein, but it’s generally not necessary.

Approximately 3% of the horse’s body weight is a good starting point. If you have a 500kg horse, that’s about 15kg. Remember that the barley sprouts are not intended to be a complete feed. You will still need some dry roughage (a minimum of 1%) in your horse’s diet.

Now you know you need roughage, but what is best

Research has proven that barley sprouts digest very quickly. As a result, hays that are high in fiber and slow to digest complement the sprouts. By slowing down the digestion the horse can retain more of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes in the sprouts. This means that grain hays and grass hays will actually work better in a barley sprout diet.

Surely you’re thinking this lush green grass is going to cause colic. The key thing here is that it’s not grass – yet. A sprout at 6 days is dramatically different from both dry grains and green grass.

Grains are not in a form that can be easily digested. As grains sprout hydrolytic enzymes break down compounds into simpler, more digestible forms. What you end up with is an increase in available vitamins and minerals. It’s a high protein, high energy, digestible (over 70%), wet feed. Horses maintain better hydration during training, events, or racing. The digestibility means there’s not an excess of non-structural carbohydrates (i.e., NSC, sugars) to move on and ferment in the cecum.

This fermenting could eventually increase acidity, kill good bacteria, and cause body-wide inflammation (particularly in the lamina of the feet = laminitis). Since the excess sugars are not present, fodder will not cause colic. If anything, it can actually help prevent it.

Fresh barley sprouts grown in a FEEDGROW® system offer nutritional advantages for horses. Horses are grazing animals. Adding fresh grass to horses helps them to better health and performance.

Advantages of feeding FEEDGROW® sprouts to horses:
  • Better performance in racehorses
  • Improved coat and general appearance
  • Lower feed bills
  • Less incidence of colic and gut ulcers
  • Lower vet costs
  • Gentler, calmer animals
  • Faster recovery after exertion
  • Prevention of ulcers, inflammation, and compaction.
  • Shortens recovery time after strenuous work or exercise.
  • The exceptional growth of year-old foals
  • Stimulates appetite during dry seasons
  • Higher milk production by mares
  • Helps with the rehydration process after heavy perspiration due to strenuous work/exercise
  • Produces important amino acids which in turn speeds up the breeding process of the horse.
Here is what horse owners incorporating sprouts are saying about barley sprouts:

Within a couple of weeks, the sprouts gave them back their top line, a healthy shine to their coats, filled them up, and completed their vitamin and mineral requirements – with correct equine analysis and balancing. We have reduced our feed bill by 60%. Every one of our horses looks forward to eating the barley sprouts. I recommend that all horse owners, especially performance horses, seriously consider giving their horses fresh sprouts every day. The superb digestibility of the barley sprouts helps to significantly reduce colic and ulcers. The lack of dust from dry feed in turn helps with respiration and will reduce our vet bills. – Jill Harris, Spanish Bit Riding School

Research with Horses

Race horses were fed sprouts over the course of a 3-month trial. Here was the response of derby horses consuming barley sprouts:

  • 87% increase in herd placing (8% – 15%)
  • Youngest horse in the herd had ever had a place in a race

Sprouts were not grown for a few weeks (sick operator) and the placing had an immediate reduction down to just 7%. Once the system was put back into operation the placings returned up to 15% for the herd.

We can say with a high degree of credibility that after being fed with barley sprouts, the win-and-place ratio was better than ever before. In my opinion barley sprouts is the best and safest method when it comes to feeding valuable horses. – Brian Rowe, Licensed Racehorse trainer for 25 years.