You are here:

Horses - Diet and Nutrition/barely for thoroughbred racehorses


hello ma'am. if feeding barley good for racehorses? if yes, may i know in what ratio to feed them? at our local racetracks, trainers feed horses two times a day. once at 9AM and second time at 6PM.

Hello Rohit,

Barley is one of the more non-structural carbohydrate rich cereal grains for horses.  It can provide a decent amount of energy, however barley has a lower rate of pre-cecal digestibility and feeding too much can lead to increased risk of gas colic as starch reaches the cecum.  

Remember, rations should be balanced by nutrient requirements and not by ingredient requirements.  Horses don't have a requirement for a certain amount of barley or corn or oil or hay.  They have a requirement for a certain amount of energy, protein and mineral.  I can't tell you how much barley to feed a racehorse without knowing a lot of other information like how much work the horse is doing, what it weighs and how much of each other ingredient is in the diet.  Think nutrients first, then choose your ingredients.

Thanks, Corlena

Horses - Diet and Nutrition

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Corlena Patterson


I can help with any of your horse nutrition questions and concerns. I have been involved with horses for closing on 40 years, with a B.Sc in Animal Science and currently working on an M.Sc in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh. I have owned my own feed store, consulted professionally as an equine nutritionist, and lectured in the fields of equine and dairy nutrition at the University level for 5 years. I have developed and currently market 'Ration-X', a ration formulation program for horses...designed for the everyday horse owner. I am happy to help in any way I can.


Experienced in developing and implementing feed programs for horses of all disciplines, creating custom horse supplements and managing inter-disciplinary equine facilities. Specialize in equine nutrition consulting.

The American Society of Equine Appraisers

'Stable Management' Handbook, Equine Canada.

M.Sc (Equine Science-current), B.Sc(Agr) Animal Science, Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification, Farrier Certification, Equine Consultant Certification, Certified Equine Appraiser, Certified in Emergency Equine Rescue.

©2017 All rights reserved.