You enter the grain room and see a large bag labeled beet pulp. Your eyes peer inside and gaze upon dry, shredded material…is it worth feeding to your horse? You see many of people at the barn giving it to their horse. Let’s explore beet pulp further and find out if it is a worthy supplement.
While you may have heard many things about beet pulp, today we will explore common misconceptions. Most importantly, we will explore the benefits of feeding beet pulp to horses.
To learn the ins and outs of beet pulp, look no further. We are about to explore the incredible, edible beet.
What is Beet Pulp?
There are so many myths about beet pulp today. To better understand the benefits of beet pulp, it is important to know where it comes from. Throw out all preconceived notions, as we are about to get the beet of the matter.
I am going to come right out with it… Beet pulp is a by-product. I know that is a very scary word. It is not a word we often like to hear when feeding our beloved equine friends, but before you throw the beet pulp out with the garbage let’s delve into what this means.
Beet pulp is the leftover product from sugar beets after the sugar has been extracted. In a way, you can think of it like orange juice pulp…without the sugar. This might not sound like the most appetizing substance, but it actually has a lot of benefits for horses and is very low in sugar.
Since beet pulp is in fact the leftover pulp from sugar beets, it is very high and fiber. It is easily fermented in the gut, which makes it an excellent prebiotic fiber.
While it might not be a tasty treat for humans, it can in fact be a high-quality supplement for horses.
Top 5 Benefits of Using Beet Pulp
- High Fiber- Beet pulp is very high in fiber. Horses need a high fiber diet, and that is why the majority of their diet should consist of forage. Beet pulp is an excellent supplement to meet additional fiber requirements.
- Low Sugar- It is very low in sugar. This is because the sugar has been extracted. It is now the remaining pulp. This can be very good for horses with metabolic conditions. It allows them to have high fiber and low sugar. At Natural Equestrians, we call this a win-win situation.
- Fast Energy- Beet pulp converts to energy faster than other forms of forage such as alfalfa. This allows horses to get an energy boost from beet pulp, without the risk of high sugar consumption.
- Prebiotic Power- Beet pulp is an excellent prebiotic. It is easily fermented in the gut and can serve as an excellent food for the good bacteria. We are learning so much about pre and probiotics, and this is truly a benefit to your horse.
- Digestibility- It is a highly digestible fiber. Most sensitive stomachs can handle beet pulp. It makes a great supplement for horses with previous hind gut issues.
Does My Horse Need Beet Pulp?
There are many types of horses that will benefit from beet pulp but is certainly not necessary for all horses. It is always important to consider your horse’s situation, needs, and requirements before making any feeding adjustments.
- Hard keeper- If your horse is a hard keeper they may greatly benefit from beet pulp. Beet pulp is a great way of adding extra calories and fiber to your horse’s diet, without adding excess sugar. Many horse owners and veterinarians utilize beet pulp as extra groceries for this chronically thin horses. I have personally seen great success with the addition of beet pulp to my horse’s feeding routine.
- Senior Horse- Older horses often have a difficult time keeping weight on. Many times, they need additional calories, energy, and fiber without the added sugar. Beet pulp meets many of the needs that senior horses have. It is an excellent addition to a well-balanced senior horse diet. It can be soaked with water which makes it easy to chew for horses who have a difficult time breaking down tougher sources of feed.
- Hay Extender- It can often be difficult to locate quality hay in the winter. If this is the case, beet pulp can be used in addition to hay to provide extra fiber and calories. Beet pulp should never be used as a hay replacement, but rather a supplement to help meet additional calorie and fiber requirements.
- Heavy Work- If your horse in heavy work. It may need additional calories to maintain its weight. It may also need additional high energy support. Beet pulp can provide high fiber, high energy, and extra calories which these horses may need during periods of intense work.
Many horses can benefit from the inclusion of beet pulp in their diet. That being said, it is not necessary for all horses. Many horses will thrive on high-quality forage alone or the addition of a quality grain supplement.
If you have any concerns regarding the right choice for your horse your vet is always a phone call away.
Avoid Pulp Pitfalls
Beet pulp is an excellent supplement and addition to many horse diets. If your horse meets one of the situations above, they are most likely an excellent candidate for the addition of beet pulp to their diet.
One thing that needs to be remembered, is that beet pulp is a supplement. It is not meant to be fed in the replacement of hay. It is a superb supplement but does not contain enough minerals to be fed as a sole feeding source. Always provide your horse with high-quality hay in addition to beet pulp.
It is best to soak beet pulp. While studies have not proven the need to soak beet pulp it is a dry matter and is easier for the horse to consume when it is soaked. It does not need to be soupy, but just enough to reduce the dryness and turn it into a nice gummy paste. Yummy!
There are also many varieties of beet pulp. There is a pelleted beet pulp and shredded beet pulp. Just like people, different strokes for different folks. Not every horse will prefer the same form. It is important to find out which your horse prefers.
You can also decide if you want your horse to have a molasses variety or the unsweetened beet pulp. In most cases, the unsweetened variety is more beneficial. It provides all the same fiber, calories, and energy without the added sugar. This is especially important for the horse with metabolic trouble.
If you live in a warm climate, you do not want beet pulp to sit out for extended periods as it can mold. Make sure to soak the beet pulp and use it shortly after.
By avoiding these “pulp pitfalls”, your horse can certainly benefit from the wonderful nutrition beet pulp provides.
Just Beet It
At Natural Equestrians, we think beet pulp is a superb supplement for many horses. You may want to “just beet it”.
If you have used beet pulp for your horse, we would love to hear from you in the comments!
We hope to hear from you soon!