For a Healthier Horse, Feed All the Time. Provide high quality alfalfa or grass roughage with a complementing grain to balance the horse's diet. The grain should be clean, mold- and insect-free, with a bright color. a supply of appetizing plants such as grasses or legumes, a paddock or stall to house your horse for part of the day, only use pastures for daily exercise and grazing, a year-round supply of fresh, clean water, no equipment, holes or other dangerous materials in the pasture. Leafiness is influenced by the kind of hay, its maturity when cut, the weather conditions while growing and curing the hay, and curing procedures of the hay. Related Education Content. Grains are energy supplements to a high forage diet. Feed grain to yearlings at approximately 0.5 to 1lb/100lb of body weight. An equine veterinarian helps a reader with divided time develop a schedule to exercise her out of shape horses. Approximate Amounts (1,000 -pound horse), all hay and grain should be of good quality. Only a horse that is worked extremely hard would ever receive half of its ration in grain. Fats or oils are another source of energy. Energy nutrients are the body's fuel and make up the bulk of the diet. Nutrient requirements for different horse. Some commercial feed companies make pre-mixed, convenient, easy-to-use formulated feeds for horses that are on different hay diets such as grass or alfalfa. While it’s a myth that you need to feed your horse at the same time every day, it’s quite clear that feeding a horse just twice a day can cause your horse significant distress. Keep feed and water containers clean. This means that the horse is a continuous grazer. More than this in a single meal reduces digestive efficiency and predisposes to problems such as … Horse Care. Behavior. See All Pest, Disease and Weed Identification, See All Beer, Hard Cider, and Distilled Spirits, See All Community Planning and Engagement, National Research Council's Nutrient Requirements of Horses, Grain-1-3 lbs. Horses at an ideal body weight usually consume about 2 percent of their body weight in feed (includes hay, grain products and supplements) daily. Concentrates are lower in fiber and higher in energy than roughages. It is important to know how to feed your horse and to make sure it gets all the nutrients it needs. 60 Day Trial. The evening feed consisted of a … Some horses are easier to feed and require fewer nutrients than others. Your horse can get its essential nutrients from many types of feed. Equine Senior. Hay cubes are about an inch wide and 1- to 3-inches long. Small amounts of minerals usually are needed. Watch your horse while it eats and inspect feed containers daily to detect abnormal eating or drinking behaviors. It not only reduces the taste of the hay, it also aggravates respiratory problems. If a horse dips mouth in water while eating, it may have a sharp tooth. An equine veterinarian helps a reader with divided time develop a schedule to exercise her out of shape horses. Ponies can founder in less than 60 minutes of grazing if introduced suddenly to lush grass. An exercise lot with a few blades of grass is not a pasture; such a lot, or overgrazed pasture, is not a source of nutrients and can be a serious source of internal parasites. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More active horses, those performing work, those that are growing and lactating, have higher calorie requirements and can tolerate somewhat higher levels of sugar and starch than idle horses or those with metabolic issues. It is recommended that the diet contain no less than 1 percent of body weight of roughage such as hay, pasture, etc. This is an important factor to keep in mind when dictating a schedule, traveling to shows, or bringing a new horse into your barn or program. Horses can digest cellulose (grass and hay) because they have small microbes in their large intestine (cecum) that can break it down. Tools. For example, a 1,200-pound horse should receive 18 pounds of feed daily when restricted to 1.5 percent of their body weight. Breeding. Grass hay is generally higher in fiber and dry matter than alfalfa, but alfalfa may be higher in protein, energy, vitamins and calcium. Horses should be kept on a consistent feeding schedule, with meals arriving at the same time each day. The horse’s digestive system is designed to allow small quantities of food to pass through continually during the day. Horses don’t do well with abrupt feed changes. A horse drinks about 10 to 12 gallons of water daily depending on the work it is doing. When too much grain is fed, much of it is digested in the small intestine. In very cold weather, water heaters may be needed to prevent the water from freezing. Dust is objectionable in any feed for horses. The best strategy to use when developing a feeding plan for your horse is to feed based on the desired weight, rather than the current weight. A hot horse needs to be given water slowly. (1.5-2.5 lbs. (At the same time, this energy maintains body temperature). Energy nutrients power muscle movement to walk, breathe and blink eyes. Horses kept outdoors will have higher energy requirements and the higher energy forages such … It also is important not to over feed grain to horses because this can cause digestive upset such as colic. Grass type horse hays have a lower nutritional value than legumes, but are considered ‘safe’ hays, because it is harder for a horse to over eat or have a reaction to grass hay. Most people feed a ‘scoop’ or a ‘can’ of grain. Good pasture or grass that an animal can graze can be an economical food for horses, but pasture must be maintained. of feed per day to a 1000 horse to provide all the necessary nutrients including protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. It is important to remember to set times for feeding and feed at those times 365 days a year. Finding the right horse feeding program is paramount to helping your horse perform and feel the best. These helpful hints will help you care for your horse nutritionally. Ration changes should be gradual -- over a minimum of five days to prevent digestive disturbances. By 3:30, all of the horses are brought in for their evening feeding. This sometimes starts fires through spontaneous combustion in barnyard stacks of stored, baled hay. If the horse’s ideal weight is 400kg, don't feed 2.5% of 300kg. Some ponies are practically impossible to get to a 5 or less, with a BCS of 6 acceptable, especially if they started at an 8. Start with 10 minutes of grazing and gradually add a few minutes each day twice a day. A mature average-sized horse will drink 5 to 10 gallons per day. If a horse is worked in the morning, feed it one-third of the concentrate and a small portion of hay in the morning and a larger portion of hay with the grain at the noon feeding. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Hay or pasture is the most important part of your horse’s diet. ... Finding the right horse feeding program is paramount to helping your horse perform and feel the best. Even though yearlings require only 12% CP in the total ration, a 14% CP concentrate ration gives you more flexibility. Medications and Drugs. Erratic schedules will annoy horses, and they may develop stall vices such as kicking, raking their teeth on the stall, or cribbing. If animals are allowed to graze on a pasture too long, the grass may be killed. Grain is best fed in small portions. Grass or alfalfa hay, or a combination of the two, are good sources of roughage. It’s … After food is digested, blood carries its energy to the body. Estimates of dietary requirements can be found in a variety of publications, such as the National Research Council's Nutrient Requirements of Horses, 6th Edition (NRC, 2007), in extension websites. Roughage/Forage Roughage, found in hay or grass, is the bulk of the horse's food. Buying hay can be difficult, but it really is worth it to be particular because poor hay can … Generally, the only minerals of concern in feeding horses are calcium, phosphorus and salt. Understanding the function of the horse's gastrointestinal (GI) tract is critical for maintaining its health and preventing conditions such laminitis. A normal, healthy horse will consume 5-15 (or more) gallons of water per day depending on temperature, humidity and activity level. Supplements usually are not necessary if a horse is allowed to graze on grass. It should be bright green, leafy and fine textured, with a fresh, pleasant aroma. National Research Council (NRC). Additionally, the twice-a-day feeding routine you follow is quite unnatural and requires internal adjustments that stress the digestive and metabolic systems. In the field, heavy rain can break off drying hay leaves and leaches energy and protein from the hay. For example, excess calcium can prevent complete utilization of phosphorus. Feed horses according to their work schedule. A horse's GI tract consists of: The stomach and the small intestine make up the foregut of the horse; the cecum, large colon, small colon and rectum make up the hindgut of the horse. Diseases. A complete feed is a grain mix that is high in fiber because it contains a forage or high-fiber byproducts feed such as hulls. Other factors such as body condition, health history and environmental factors should be taken into account to best design a sound ration for your horse. Good quality hay is sufficient feed for a mature horse that is ridden very little. Multiply the girth (in inches) times itself (heart girth 2) times the body length (in inches) and divide by 330. Oats are the safest and easiest grain to feed with hay because it is high in fiber and low in energy, and higher in protein than corn. Concentrated mixes are cereal grains with supplements added to increase the specific nutrient content of the mix. When you feed your horse, take into account its age, weight, work and growth to determine its diet. Numerous studies have shown that horses thrive on a regular and consistent routine for their feeding and exercise schedule. It can be fed on the ear, cracked, rolled or shelled. Therefore, good feeding management requires that feedings be spaced throughout the day. The majority of starch (the principle component of cereal grains metabolized for energy), protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are digested and absorbed in the foregut (primarily in the small intestine) by enzymes and other digestive substances secreted into the small intestine by the pancreas, liver and cells making up the wall of the small intestine. Instead, you should be feeding your horse all day. As you wander through the aisles of pallets stacked two and three high with all manner of feeds and supplements it becomes increasingly difficult to make a decision on which will be best for your horse. Some protein supplements are oilseed meals, soybeans, cottonseed, linseed (flaxseed) meal, peanut meal, sunflower seed meal and rapeseed (canola). When feeding horses, it is important to recognize that there are six basic nutrient categories that must be met: carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. In addition, horses should have constant access to plenty of fresh, clean water for the gut to function normally. Limit an overweight horse’s diet to 1.5 percent of their body weight daily. Horses were not designed to consume large quantities of food at a single feeding. Feed three to four equal size meals per day -- because a horse's stomach is very small and cannot hold a large amount of feed at one time -- or feed at least twice a day on a regular schedule. It is recommended that horses not be fed more than 1 percent of body weight from a grain source. Avoid feeding moldy or dusty hay. A racehorse in heavy training is an example of a horse requiring half of its ration in grain. Feed frequent meals. By entering your email, you consent to receive communications from Penn State Extension. Example: Heart Girth = 74.8 inches Body length = 63 inches 74.8 x 74.8 x 63 330 Equals 1,068 pounds. In addition, water is the body's built-in cooling system; it regulates body heat and acts as a lubricant. Because a horse's stomach is very small and cannot hold a large amount of feed at one time, it should be fed at least twice a day on a regular schedule. Provide fresh clean water at all times. For the average 1,100-pound horse, that would be at least 11 pounds of forage per day. Color is an indicator of quality and nutrient content; good hay is a bright green. Iron, copper, phosphorous, calcium and magnesium are examples of minerals that are important for a horse's body. Grasses commonly used as hay are brome, orchard, and timothy. Horses that are fed on a consistent schedule are less likely to go off their feed or develop undesirable stall habits (vices). Sprinkling or dunking dusty hay in water can reduce dust. If a horse is worked in the morning, feed it one-third of the concentrate and a small portion of hay in the morning and a larger portion of hay with the grain at the noon feeding. (1.5-2 lbs. Balancing the intake of calories with that of other essential nutrients is necessary in these types of horses. Once you determine a horse's requirements, then analyze your hay and feeds for what nutrients they provide. If you are feeding a commercial complete feed, you will not need to feed hay (follow the label for feeding recommendations). Horses need good quality hay. LEARN HOW TO STOP THE INVASIVE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY, Coronavirus: Information and resources for the Extension Community. Introduce horses gradually to pastures by slowly increasing their daily grazing time. Training. Small grains, such as corn, oats and barley, are known as concentrates. An additional benefit to grass hay is that is easier on the kidney's due to it's lower protein content and it tends to have finer stems, making it easier to chew and digest…..nice for senior horses. of work). Some individuals will slow down their growth rate at 6 to 12 months, while others continue to grow rapidly. The rest spills into the hindgut where microbes digest it rapidly, producing large amounts of gas and acid, and endotoxin all of which can cause discomfort, colic and, in some cases, laminitis. You should not need to add any other supplements to the diet. grain/hr. Grain quality is just as important as hay quality. Have fresh, clean water available at all times-except to a hot horse. Many yearlings grow as fast as weanlings, and must be fed a diet to support such a growth rate in a sound manner. Campaigns. Horse feed diets are typically designed to be fed at rates of anywhere from 5 lbs. Ideally, horses should stabilize at a BCS between 4 and 5, with more sensitive, chronically laminitic horses maintained toward a 4. Here are some factors to consider when determining which dewormer to use: Check horse's teeth annually for sharp points that interfere with chewing. View our privacy policy. 2007. Supply hay and/or grain in a rack rather than feeding from the ground; ... Before beginning a worming schedule, it is wide to have a serious discussion with your vet about the best possible worming schedule for your horse. Horses should not be offered >0.5% of their body weight in high starch/sugar grain-based concentrates (eg, textured grain, pellets, or extruded feed) in a single feeding. (1-1.5 lbs grain/hr. In fact, his nutritional … grain/hr. Three or four times a day would be better. Related Education Content. Carbohydrates are complex compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Feed by weight, not by volume. Always maintain at least half of the ration as roughage, such as hay or grass. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for all animals. Musty hay or other indications of mold or heating, and dust, weeds and other foreign material in hay can be unhealthy for an animal. Protein not needed to maintain or build a horse's body is either converted into energy or passed through the digestive system. Feed horses according to their work schedule. To use this table, decide what class best fits your horse and your horse’s body weight. In hot weather, a horse may drink up to 15 to 20 gallons of water. Water is the greatest single part of nearly all-living things. They form body tissue. Some feeds are specially formulated for young, growing horses (weanlings and yearlings); and for geriatric (aged) horses that are old and have specific nutritional needs. Many disorders can be avoided by giving your horse a balanced ration. 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