The pros and cons of beet root mash

You may have heard of beet root mash, or fed it to your horse yourself. Beet root mash is a by-product of the sugar beet industry and has traditionally been used as cattle feed. Today it is also used as a supplementary feed for horses. 



Why would you feed it to your horse? To determine this, it is useful to look at the properties of beet root mash. Beet root mash contains highly digestible fibres and has a higher energy value than, for example, alfalfa. This combination makes it a good source of fibre to keep the intestinal flora healthy while at the same time providing enough energy to gain weight or perform. Other types of concentrates often do not have this combination. They do provide the energy needed for exercise, but put more stress on the digestive tract. Since it is a by-product of the sugar beet, you might expect it to have a high sugar content. But this is not the case, it has a sugar content of about 5-7%. This makes it suitable for horses that are (or have been) laminitic or suffer from insulin resistance as well. In comparison, the average basic pellets have a sugar content of 6-8%. Mueslis are on average a bit lower, around 2-4%.  



At first glance, beet root mash seems like an ideal horse feed, but there are also some disadvantages to the contents of the mash. It contains little vitamin A and selenium. Vitamin A is important for overall health and immune defence, and selenium supports muscle function, among other things. If you feed primarily beet root mash, you should supplement these levels with a supplement. In addition, it has an unbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio, namely 9:1, while the ideal ratio for an adult horse is 2:1. You can compensate for this with grains or some bran, but if you mainly feed beet root mash, it can be quite a challenge to properly correct this unbalanced ratio. 

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