Horse Nutrition Basics

Horse nutrition is one of the fundamental subjects that any horse owner needs to understand. Proper diet is essential to raising a healthy animal. The right diet depends on the required nutrients of the particular class of horse.


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Veterinarians and farriers combine these ingredients to come up with the required nutrient content for that horse class. Of course, the owner has a say on the ingredients. With the guidance of the farrier, the owner can select the right amount of roughage for the horse.

A horse’s basic diet must include pasture or any kind of harvested roughage. By playing up the distribution of roughage and its concentrates, it determines the energy intake and the digestive tract fill. It also minimizes dysfunctions in the digestive system. Plus, it regulates the horse’s consumption of feeds.

The key in feeding horses is that they must be fed at least 1% of their total weight every day. This allows them to use up 2 to 2.5% of their body mass in the 24-hour interval.

When feeding adult horses, the energy requirements are lower than the stated figures. It can be achieved by feeding them with roughages that are of good-quality. The supplement needed in adult horses is salt. This is a balanced mineral supplement.

Be attentive when feeding pregnant mares because their diet must be a mixture of both roughages and concentrates. These are measured in the required amounts so that the mare will be able to store up body fat which will be used for lactating and rebreeding.

When feeding growing horses, the required nutrient needs must be obtained so that the pony can reach the optimum growth. This will result to a well-developed and well-structure maturity phase. By providing growing horses with a balanced diet, there is less chance for them to suffer orthopedic diseases.

A balanced diet for growing horses is when all the nutrients are served in the required amounts making these relative to one another. Diets for growing horses must be balanced depending on their energy consumption.

When feeding foals, you have to provide them with the appropriate supplements before the weaning phase. Some mares are poor milkers, therefore the foal will suffer from diseases. This is where the owner can contribute to the foals’ health.

The practice of using growth stimulants, additives and antibiotics are said to be helpful in the livestock business but there is few conducted research that shows it has the same effect on horses. There have been studies showing that horses benefit from these kinds of medicines – but they are only said to be of short-term only.

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