Although fed for centuries, straight oats might not be best
Oats has fuelled working horses for generations, providing easily digested starch and oil. It is a grain that seems to ‘fit’ the digestive system of the horse the best. However, oats, when fed alone, are an unbalanced feed and will not provide the horse with optimal levels of several important micronutrients. Oats are low in calcium, but relatively high in phosphorus which can prevent calcium being absorbed. Oats are also very low in certain trace minerals including copper and zinc, which are all essential for healthy bone formation. Also, oats do not have a very good amino acid profile and so are not considered an adequate source of quality protein for horses in hard work and breeding stock. However, when oats are included as an ingredient in a full fortified mix or cube, or when they are fed alongside a suitable balancer (e.g. Connolly’s RED MILLS Oat Balancer Mix or Pellets) they will provide the horse with a highly digestible source of energy.