Considerations for Choosing a Feed

A feeding program for a typical horse is described as the following:

  • All of the forage or hay the horse will consume in a 24 hour period, fresh clean water along with a free choice salt and mineral mix that is made specifically for horses.

horsesdrinkingThere are many factors in determining which feed will be the best for the horse to maintain a healthy body weight or body condition score.

Things to consider when choosing the appropriate feed for your horse:

Forage: Grass pasture, Grass Hay, Legume Hay, Chopped Forage. What is the quality of the forage being fed?

  • Is the horse an Easy Keeper or a Hard Keeper?

Body Condition:

Under Weight: Require a high calorie, high digestible fiber feed to help gain weight to a desirable body condition

Over Weight: Require a lower calorie, low digestible fiber diet to decrease weight to a desirable body condition

Activity Level: Is the horse a maintenance horse or performing horse, (if performing, refer to page 25 for the National Research Council Performing Horse Classification)

  • Is the horse a stallion, gestating mare or lactating mare?

Time of year: Environmental climate, hay/pasture quality and quantity

  • Special feeding considerations:
  • Age, whether young or old
  • Dental issues
  • Laminitis, Insulin Resistance, Cushings Disease, or other medical issue.

weightManagement Tips

  • Provide fresh, clean water at all times
  • Provide a free choice horse mineral such as Seminole Grass Balancer 16:8 Mineral or Alfa Balancer 12:12 Mineral on a continuous basis
  • Make all feeding changes gradually over a 7 – 10 day period
  • Feed at regular times, with two or more equal feedings per day
  • Feed hay and/or equivalent pasture at the rate of 1 or 2 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight daily
  • Delay feeding a horse that has been exercised or is exhibiting pain, fever or diarrhea