Lecithin containing diets for the horse: acceptance, digestibility, and effects on behavior
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The four concentrates consisted of corn, oats, beet pulp, trace mineralized salt, dried sugar cane molasses plus 10% added fat: corn oil (CO);soy lecithin-corn oil (SL\CO); soy lecithin-soybean oil (SL\SO); or soy lecithin-corn oil-soybean oil (SL\CO\SO). Half the ration was provided by chopped hay. The CO concentrate was the most palatable (P=.OOOl). The remaining three concentrates were palatable in the following order: SL\CO, SL\CO\SO, and SL\SO, with SL\CO diet preferred (P=.OOl) to SL\SO.
In the digestibility experiment, a complete mixed diet was fed containing chromic oxide as a marker. The control diet had no added fat: the others contained CO, SL\CO, or SL\SO at 10% by weight. Apparent digestibility was higher in the control diet than in the others for dry matter (P=.OOOl). Apparent digestibilities of crude protein (P=.0002) and acid detergent fiber (P=.08) decreased with any of the three fats. In contrast, apparent digestibility of ether extract was increased (P=.OOOl) in the fat containing diets.
In the activity experiments, horses on the SL\CO diet were less spontaneously active (P=.0125) than horses on the control diet. Horses on the CO and SL \SO diet also had slightly lower activity levels (P=.125). Horses fed the SL\SO diet reacted less (P=.0625) than control horses to the opening umbrella. Horses fed CO and SL\CO diets showed trends towards less reactivity (P=.125 and P=.25, respectively), compared to the control horses.
These studies support the practical feasibility of using lecithins in diets for horses. Especially interesting would be studies of interactivity with trainers and riders.
- Masters Theses