Hello and Happy New Year! I’m Dr. Nettie, the senior equine nutrition manager with Buckeye Nutrition and Mars Horse Care. I wanted to take a moment to discuss the topic of incorporating beet pulp into your horse’s diet. With the fluctuating temperatures we’ve been experiencing, it’s important to make sure our horses are not only drinking enough water but also maintaining their gut health. Shredded beet pulp is a great addition to their diet as it not only encourages water intake but also promotes a healthy gut microbial environment and supports the immune system. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to soak beet pulp overnight before feeding it to your horse. You can simply add some water to the dry shreds and give it to your horse right away. Beet pulp is low in sugar, making it safe for insulin-resistant horses, those with Cushing’s, or older horses with dental issues. It can also help stretch your hay supply, especially during the winter when horses need more hay to stay warm. To incorporate beet pulp into your horse’s diet, you can mix it with their concentrate or soak it separately. Just remember to introduce it slowly and regularly to avoid any digestive upset. If you have any nutrition questions, don’t hesitate to give our customer care line a call. Hang in there, spring is coming, and we’ll all be riding again soon. Thank you for reading and see you next time!

Understanding Beet Pulp

Beet pulp is a byproduct of sugar beet processing and is commonly used as a feed ingredient for horses. It is high in fiber and has a variety of nutritional benefits for horses. Understanding how to properly prepare and incorporate beet pulp into your horse’s diet can help optimize their health and well-being.

What is beet pulp?

Beet pulp is the fibrous material that remains after the sugar has been extracted from sugar beets. It is a highly digestible source of fiber and carbohydrates, making it an excellent addition to a horse’s diet. Beet pulp can be purchased in shredded or pelleted form.

Beet pulp as a nutritional resource for horses

Beet pulp is a valuable source of energy and fiber for horses. It is low in sugars and starches, making it suitable for horses with certain health conditions such as insulin resistance or Cushing’s disease. Additionally, beet pulp contains a variety of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients can support overall health and improve the immune system of the horse.

Why beet pulp is beneficial for horses

There are several reasons why beet pulp is beneficial for horses. Firstly, its high fiber content promotes proper digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut. This is especially important for horses with limited access to grazing or those that have difficulty consuming hay. Secondly, beet pulp can help regulate weight and manage body condition, providing a valuable addition to the diet for horses that need to gain or lose weight. Lastly, beet pulp can enhance hydration by absorbing water and increasing water intake, which is especially important during extreme weather conditions.

Preparation of Beet Pulp for Horses

Preparing beet pulp properly ensures that it is safe and beneficial for your horse. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Right quantity of beet pulp to feed a horse

The amount of beet pulp to feed your horse will depend on its individual needs, age, weight, and level of activity. As a general guideline, a daily serving of 1 to 2 pounds of dry beet pulp is suitable for most horses. It is important to consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate quantity for your horse.

How to soak beet pulp

Soaking beet pulp before feeding is essential to prevent choke and ensure proper digestion. To soak beet pulp, add three parts water to one part beet pulp in a bucket or container. Allow the mixture to sit for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it becomes soft and soupy in texture. The soaked beet pulp can then be fed to the horse.

Duration of soaking beet pulp

Soaked beet pulp is typically ready for feeding after 40 to 45 minutes of soaking. It is important not to soak beet pulp for an extended period, as over-soaking can lead to fermentation or spoilage. If the beet pulp has been soaked for too long and appears slimy or has a foul odor, it should be discarded and a fresh batch should be prepared.

Busting Myths About Beet Pulp

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding beet pulp that need to be addressed to ensure accurate information is provided to horse owners.

Myths related to soaking beet pulp

One common myth is that beet pulp must be soaked overnight before feeding. This is not true. As mentioned earlier, soaking beet pulp for 40 to 45 minutes is sufficient. Overnight soaking is unnecessary and may cause spoilage or fermentation of the beet pulp.

Understanding whether beet pulp swells up in the throat or belly

Another myth is that beet pulp swells up in the throat or belly, potentially causing distension or blockages. This is not true. Beet pulp, when soaked properly and fed in appropriate quantities, does not expand significantly in the throat or belly. Feeding excessive amounts of beet pulp can lead to potential issues, but with proper portion control, there is no need for concern.

Quantity of beet pulp that may cause distension

Feeding large quantities, such as 9 or 10 quarts, of beet pulp can potentially cause distension in horses. It is important to follow recommended feeding guidelines and consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate quantity for your horse. If you suspect any digestive issues or discomfort, contact a professional immediately.

Benefits of Beet Pulp

Beet pulp provides numerous benefits for horses beyond its nutritional content. These benefits include:

Beet pulp as a probiotic

Beet pulp contains fermentable fibers that act as prebiotics, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria aid in digestion and the breakdown of fiber, supporting a healthy microbial environment in the horse’s gut. A healthy gut is essential for overall digestive health and can contribute to improved immune function.

Importance of beet pulp for gut health

The majority of the horse’s immune system is located in the gut, making gut health a crucial factor in their overall well-being. Beet pulp’s high fiber content encourages proper digestion and helps prevent digestive issues such as colic or diarrhea. By promoting a healthy gut, beet pulp can contribute to improved immune system function and overall health.

Role of beet pulp in supporting the immune system

Beet pulp’s nutritional profile, including its vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, provides essential support for the horse’s immune system. These nutrients help strengthen the immune response, protect against oxidative stress, and support overall health and well-being.

Beet Pulp for Horses with Health Conditions

Beet pulp can be particularly beneficial for horses with certain health conditions. Here are a few examples:

Safe for insulin resistant horses

Beet pulp is low in sugars and starches, making it a suitable feed option for horses with insulin resistance. By providing a low-carbohydrate source of energy, beet pulp can help these horses maintain a balanced diet while managing their condition.

Useful for horses with Cushing’s

horses with Cushing’s disease often have difficulty maintaining weight and managing their fiber intake. Beet pulp can serve as a valuable fiber addition to their diet, helping to meet their nutritional needs and support overall health.

Suitable for older horses with poor dental health

Senior horses may struggle with dental issues, making it difficult for them to chew hay or grass effectively. Beet pulp can provide these horses with a fiber source that is easier to chew and digest, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Role of Beet Pulp in Hay Diet

Beet pulp can play a significant role in a horse’s hay-based diet. Here are a few ways in which beet pulp can be beneficial:

How beet pulp can help extend your hay supply

During the winter months, when horses require more hay to maintain body temperature, beet pulp can help stretch the hay supply. By adding beet pulp to the horse’s diet, you can increase their fiber intake without relying solely on hay, ultimately reducing hay consumption and extending its availability.

Importance of beet pulp in winter feeding

Beet pulp’s high fiber content and ability to retain water can be particularly useful during the winter months. It can help maintain hydration levels in horses, which is essential when water intake may decrease due to lower temperatures.

Is beet pulp a substitute for hay?

While beet pulp can be a valuable addition to a horse’s diet, it should never replace hay entirely. Hay provides essential nutrients and roughage that beet pulp cannot fully replace. However, in situations where hay availability is limited or a horse has difficulty consuming hay, beet pulp can serve as a supplement to maintain a balanced diet.

Commercial Feeds with Beet Pulp

Many commercial horse feeds include beet pulp as an ingredient. This inclusion offers numerous benefits:

Brands that include beet pulp in feeds

Various horse feed brands include beet pulp in their formulations. These brands recognize the nutritional value of beet pulp and its positive impact on horse health. Some popular brands that include beet pulp are Equate and Re-Quiet Senior.

Benefits of having beet pulp included in a horse’s diet

When beet pulp is included in horse feed formulations, it provides a convenient way to incorporate this valuable ingredient into a horse’s diet. It ensures that the horse receives the necessary fiber and nutrients without the need for separate soaking or preparation.

When should you feed beet pulp separately?

In some cases, it may be necessary to feed beet pulp separately from commercial feeds. This is usually when a horse has specific dietary requirements or needs a higher quantity of beet pulp than what is included in their regular feed. Consulting with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist can help determine if separate feeding is necessary for your horse.

Soaking Beet Pulp with Other Horse Feed

Soaking beet pulp alongside other horse feeds can be an effective way to enhance your horse’s nutrition. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Can you soak beet pulp with grain concentrate?

Yes, you can soak beet pulp along with your horse’s grain concentrate or other feed supplements. Adding water to the mixture helps make it easier for the horse to consume and digest. It is important to maintain proper portion control and ensure that all feed is consumed within a reasonable time frame to prevent spoilage.

Importance of cleaning leftover soaked beet pulp

If your horse does not finish the soaked beet pulp, it is essential to clean out the container before the next feeding. Leaving leftover soaked beet pulp can lead to bacterial or fungal growth, potentially causing digestive upset or health issues.

Balance of hay, grain, and beet pulp in a diet

Achieving the right balance of hay, grain, and beet pulp in a horse’s diet is crucial for optimal nutrition. Each horse’s dietary requirements may vary, so it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate proportions for your horse.

Incorporating Beet Pulp Regularly in Diet

Beet pulp should be a regular part of your horse’s diet for maximum benefit. Here’s why:

Why beet pulp should be a regular part of your horse’s diet?

Regular inclusion of beet pulp ensures that your horse receives a consistent source of fiber, nutrients, and hydration. By incorporating beet pulp into their diet, you can support their overall health, digestion, and immune system.

Avoiding digestive upset caused by the sudden inclusion of beet pulp

Introducing beet pulp suddenly and in large quantities can lead to digestive upset in horses. To avoid this, it is recommended to add beet pulp to the diet slowly and gradually increase the amount over time. This allows the horse’s digestive system to adjust and prevents any potential issues.

How to add beet pulp to the diet slowly and regularly

To incorporate beet pulp into your horse’s diet, start by adding a small amount (e.g., half a cup) to their regular feed. Gradually increase the quantity over several weeks until the desired amount is reached. It is important to monitor your horse’s response and adjust the portion if necessary.


Beet pulp is a versatile and valuable addition to a horse’s diet. Its nutritional content, digestive benefits, and versatility make it an excellent choice for horses of all ages and varying health conditions. By understanding the proper preparation, feeding guidelines, and incorporating beet pulp regularly, you can optimize your horse’s nutrition and overall well-being.

In conclusion, beet pulp offers a wide range of benefits, from supporting gut health to extending hay supply. Don’t hesitate to give beet pulp a try as part of your horse’s diet regime. Remember to consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist for personalized guidance based on your horse’s specific needs. Enjoy the benefits of beet pulp and watch your horse thrive!