A Balanced Diet
First, know your audience. What breed of horse and work load are you trying to balance the diet for? Is it a stock type, light exercise horse or are you balancing the diet for a draft horse mare in early lactation? Requirements can vary drastically depending on the individual.
Equine Diet Breakdown: Forage – 85-90% of total diet Grain – 10-15% of total diet
Tips to consider first hand:
- Utilize high quality forage if you can.
- Alfalfa hay is high in energy, protein and calcium. Your grain feeding rates will be lower because of higher quality forage. Caution as idle horses can become overweight very easy if not fed a limited amount.
- Grass hay is lower in nutrients and may be the perfect hay for your mature, basically, idle horse.
- A mixed grass/alfalfa hay is the basic hay for all types of horses.
- A forage test will provide accurate values of nutrients – it is the BIGGEST component of the horses’ diet!
- To maintain the level of vitamins and minerals necessary, regardless of the amount of concentrate fed, top dressing is useful.
- Because horses have different metabolism rates, we feed every horse different amounts of grain. We vary the rate of grain based on body condition. However the horses mineral and vitamin requirement stay the same. Topdressing a mineral and vitamin supplement allows you to treat each horse individually.
Stock Type Maintenance Diet – graph shown is with 2lbs of Oats, 2oz of salt (a horses requirement per day) and 15lbs of a 70:30 Grass:Alfalfa mix
The contribution in red is from 4oz of Equi-Shine Pellets, a vitamin and mineral supplement……just imagine if you take that out, you are left with a very unbalanced and vitamin/mineral deficient diet.
**Equi-Shine Pellets, Granular, Jump Start, Ultimate, Security**
Doctors Choice Supplements – 750 15th Ave, Prairie du Sac, WI 53578 – 1-800-639-0249