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Research Projects

To provide horse owners with important factual information, the EFOP has commissioned a review of published research about oats used in horse feed. The review was performed by one of the leading equine nutrition experts in the industry, Dr. Laurie Lawrence, Ph.D. of the University of Kentucky, Department of Animal and Food Sciences. 

A summary of Dr. Lawrence's study may be downloaded here. If you are interested in reading Dr. Lawrence’s completed study, contact us.

Dr. Lawrence, a native of New York, has conducted extensive work in the area of equine nutrition throughout her career. After spending 12 years at the University of Illinois, she joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky, where she leads the equine nutrition research program. Her active, basic and applied research programs have resulted in 74 refereed journal publications, 10 book chapters and more than 150 scientific articles. Her early studies focused on the performance horse and her current research focuses on broodmares and growing horses.

Dr. Lawrence reviewed more than 260 published research documents covering the nutritional value of oats in the equine diet. Her report, Oats: The Horse-Healthy Grain, analyzes palatability, composition, digestibility, behavior influence and safety of oats.

Dr. Lawrence’s research concludes that oats are the best grain to feed your horse for several reasons:

  • "In the U.S., oats have been recognized as the preferred grain for horses for at least a century."
  • "Oats have lower amounts of starch than other grains, but research in the last 40 years has demonstrated that oat starch is more easily digested in the equine small intestine than starch from other cereal grains."
  • "Whole oats are consumed more slowly than pelleted concentrate or sweet-feed concentrate and thus would be expected to elicit more saliva and enhanced gastric acid buffering."
  • "Oats are less likely to contain mycotoxins that threaten horse health."
  • "Oats are a highly palatable grain for horses."

Come back and visit this page as we continue to seek out more research as to why you should choose oats.