Nearly 700 horses are here in central Kentucky for the World Equestrian Games and all of them are considered top notch athletes, that means just like their riders they have to be in great shape and eat a well balanced diet.
Good Question: What does a world championship horse eat?
Horses competing at the Kentucky Horse Park are at the top of their sport and like any stellar athlete they got that way by training and feeding their bodies.
"From our perspective diet is the most important and so specialized diets are very important for these athletes," said Dr. Joe Pagan.
Is the president of Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, as a world renowned equine nutritionist he knows what it takes to keep a good horse in tip top shape.
"The most important aspect is the forage, and we've gone to great lengths to get the highest quality forage we can get," said Dr. Pagan.
In fact, Dr. Pagan says hay for WEG was imported from Washington state and these horses can sure put it away.
Pagan says a thousand pound horse can eat up to 15 pounds of food a day.
But its not just hay Dr. Pagan says competition horses need diets fortified in minerals, things like selenium and Vitamin E are important to help with muscle repair.
Each discipline is different in terms of nutrition.
"For instance for endurance where long distance exercises is important they use diets high in fat."
But no matter the discipline they all need a diet that gives them the same thing energy.
Like all world class athletes these horses stick to a strict regiment to make them the best.
"These horses are fed at exact times each day, sometimes four and five times a day."
A treat of sorts for horses is carrots.
Dr. Pagan says they estimate horses for the games can eat five pounds of carrots a day.