1 Introduction</h5> In temperate regions such as the UK and Northern Europe, pasture grasses can contain significant amounts of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSCs). For example, perennial ryegrass varieties were reported to contain in excess of >250-g WSC/kg dry matter (DM)  . Excessive consumption of WSC fractions has been associated with the development of several equine disorders including obesity, insulin resistance (IR)  , laminitis  , and equine polysaccharide storage myopathy [4,5] .</P>Obesity per se has been associated with an increased risk of developing IR  , laminitis  , and osteoarthritis  . Obesity prevalence in UK leisure equines that were pastured for at least 6 hours per day was found to be 27% in winter and 35.4% in summer, with access to grass being a major risk factor for the development of obesity  . It is of relevance that ponies with only 3-hour pasture access per day in the summer nearly doubled their dry matter intakes (DMIs) of grass from 0.49% to 0.91% of bodyweight (BW)/3-hour period over a 6-week trial  . Furthermore, it has been estimated that the daily DMI of equines living permanently at pasture may be as high as 5% of
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2016
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