When my uncle, the first born of 5 was ready to enter the world in the ‘old country’ my little Jewish grandpa was like any ‘new father to be’… very flustered. He told this story in his broken English 50 years later. My Grandma was in labor. Her mother yelled to Grandpa “Samuel! Quick go for the doctor!” In his thick Yiddish accent, he told us he said “First I have to give my horse some ‘hoats!’ And he strapped a feed bag on his horse, before he took off for the doctor.
Maybe this is why I like ‘hoats’ for our horses. Or maybe because they are pure & simple nutrition with nothing else thrown in. We feed rolled oats for our old guys who have trouble chewing, otherwise we are just feeding the birds!
Oats are the traditional cereal grain for horses and are the best choice for several reasons. Oats are very palatable and are the best nutrient-balanced grain, containing about 53% starch, 12% protein, 5% fat and 12% fiber. Most importantly, the starch in oats is easily digested (83%) by enzymes in the foregut (See figures 2 and 3). Therefore, oat starch doesn’t contribute to starch overload in the hindgut like corn and barley starches do. However, horses fed oats will have increased blood sugar at about 1.5 – 3 hours after the meal, followed by decreased blood sugar. This effect is similar to that seen in people eating high starch or sugary foods. Some horses are very sensitive to increased blood sugar, and exhibit a “grain-high” attitude, which can interfere with your training and performance schedule. Also, oats tend to be high-priced for the nutrients they provide. Oats should be clean, but don’t need to be processed, except for horses with poor teeth (very young, sick or old horses).