Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Laurie Lawrence


Horses consume large amounts of fiber in their diet, which may affect digestibility and digesta rate of passage. The objective of these studies was to assess the effects of diet composition on digestibility and rate of passage in horses using mathematical models. Using previously published data, forage dry matter digestibility (DMD) was related to forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations and crude protein (CP) concentrations (DMD = 66.1178 – 0.3410*NDF + 0.6356*CP, DM basis; P < 0.001). In a second experiment, horses were fed diets formulated to have high fiber (HF, n= 3; NDF = 55.3%, CP = 11.8%) or low fiber (LF, n = 3; NDF = 40.5%, CP = 13.3%) concentrations. The LF treatment had greater DM, organic matter, and gross energy digestibilities (P < 0.05), whereas the HF treatment had greater NDF digestibility (P < 0.05). Mathematical models were useful to determine mean retention time (MRT) and there were no differences between model MRT and algebraic MRT, or treatment. Some compartmental parameters were different between treatments (P < 0.05), indicating that dietary fiber may alter some components of digesta passage in horses.