Four Icelandic (ICE) and four Danish Warmblood (DW) horses were used in a crossover study with two treatments to investigate the effect of breed and the effect of stage of maturity of haylage on the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of a diet consisting of sugar beet pulp, black oats and early or late cut haylage. Fibre was analyzed as crude fibre (CF), acid detergent fibre (ADF), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and dietary fibre (DF: non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) plus lignin). In haylage all analyzed fibre fractions increased with advancing stage of maturity, with the cell wall components cellulose, non-cellulose polysaccharides (NCP) and lignin causing this increase. Feeding early cut haylage resulted in a significantly (P<0.05) higher ATTD of NDF, cellulose, NCP, total NSP and DF compared to feeding late cut haylage. There was a significantly (P<0.05) higher ATTD of CF and DF in ICE than in DW. The DF analysis method gave the most appropriate description of the fibre fraction. The results suggested that ICE had higher ATTD of DF than DW, and this was caused by a tendency for a higher ATTD of cellulose.
Impact of Nutrition on the Health and Welfare of Horses: Eaap Publication No. 128, 2010, p. 207-209