How To Feed A Horse? (TOP 5 Tips)

Feeding tips Provide high quality alfalfa or grass roughage with a complementing grain to balance the horse’s diet. Feed by weight, not by volume. Always maintain at least half of the ration as roughage, such as hay or grass. Never feed moldy or dusty hay, grass or grain.

How much do you feed a horse per day?

If you’re trying to figure out how much hay you need to feed your horse, there is a quick and easy rule-of-thumb to follow. Horses need to consume about 2% of their body weight in forage per day, which is about 20 pounds of hay for a 1,000-pound horse.

How many times a day do you feed a horse?

When feeding the horse, there are three general guidelines one should follow.

  1. Feeds should be fed at least twice a day.
  2. Feeds should be fed in equally divided amounts.
  3. Feeds should be fed near to or at the same time each day and at even intervals throughout the day.

Is it OK to feed a horse once a day?

Generally, most horses do well grazing on high-quality grass pastures and hay and don’t need grain. However, feeding a horse once a day is acceptable if done correctly. If you feed your horse once a day, make sure that they can’t finish their food in less than 12 to 14 hours.

What should you feed a horse?

Horses can eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including apples, carrots, celery, melons, green beans, and more. They may also enjoy treats such as peanut butter, oatmeal, or sugar cubes! It is important to always offer your horses treats in moderation, even if it something that they can safely eat.

Do horses need hay if they have grass?

Many pleasure and trail horses don’t need grain: good-quality hay or pasture is sufficient. Horses are meant to eat roughage, and their digestive system is designed to use the nutrition in grassy stalks. A horse should eat one to two percent of their body weight in roughage every day.

What can horses not eat?

8 Foods You Should Never Feed to Your Horse

  • Chocolate. Just like dogs, horses are sensitive to the chemical theobromine which is found in the cocoa which is used to make chocolate.
  • Persimmons.
  • Avocado.
  • Lawn Clippings.
  • Fruit with Pips and Stones.
  • Bread.
  • Potatoes and Other Nightshades.
  • Yogurt and Other Dairy Products.

Should you stall a horse at night?

Whether or not you should leave your horse out at night depends on the unique needs of your horse and the facilities where you’ll be keeping them. If your horse has no serious health conditions and your facilities provide the necessary safety and amenities, then it is perfectly fine to leave your horse out at night.

What do horses do at night?

What they actually do at night: Stay outside 95% of the time. Eat, walk, drink all night long. Sleep once or twice for a very brief time, usually in the dirt.

Can horses survive on just grass?

Horses can survive on grass, because that is what they were born to do in the wild, but wild horses only live about 10 years. Horses, if in work, need lots of vitamins and minerals that grass alone can’t give them. Many horse owners will feed them hay, and grain and a salt block to give them those nutritions.

How many bales of hay does a horse need?

If you buy your hay by the ton, this would be 3915/2000 = almost 2 tons of hay per horse. If you buy your hay by the bale, you will need to find out the approximate weight of each bale. Assuming a 40 lb bale, 3915/40 = 98 bales per horse.

Should horses have access to hay all day?

Conclusion. Horses don’t have to eat all the time, but having constant access to hay helps keep their digestive system working correctly. Allowing your horse to graze on pasture grass is safe and keeps them healthy.

How long does a horse live?

Apples and carrots are traditional favorites. You can safely offer your horse raisins, grapes, bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe or other melons, celery, pumpkin, and snow peas. Most horses will chew these treats before swallowing, but horses that gulp large pieces of a fruit or vegetable have a risk of choking.

Can you feed horses grass?

Horses eat grass, so what’s the problem with feeding grass cuttings? Unfortunately, grass cuttings are potentially very dangerous for horses to eat and sadly many have died as a result of people putting lawn mowings over the fence into horse pastures. Again, this could make them extremely ill and could kill them.

The rules of feeding your horse

A guide on what to feed your horse, when to feed him, and how to feed him. From the very first time you came into contact with a horse, you were very certainly subjected to The Rules: don’t walk behind a horse, don’t run anywhere, always offer rewards on your flat palm with your fingers outstretched, and so on. The most important are the regulations of feeding. Always remember to follow these guidelines, and your horse care will be a solid foundation from which to develop.

Provide plenty of roughage

Many pleasure and trail horses do not require grain; instead, they thrive on high-quality hay or pasture. If hay isn’t enough, grain can be added, but roughage should always account for the majority of a horse’s caloric intake. For horses, roughage is essential, and their digestive systems are geared to make advantage of the nutrients found in grassy stalks. Every day, a horse’s roughage intake should be one to two percent of his or her total body weight. Horses who spend the most of their time in stalls don’t have much opportunity to graze, but their normal eating habits may be recreated by placing hay in front of them for the majority of the day.

Horse feed may be purchased on

Feed grain in small amounts and often

If you are feeding your horse grain, divide it up into smaller meals rather than one huge meal every session. The majority of horses are fed grain twice a day to make it easier for their human caregivers to care for them. If you have to feed your horse a significant amount of grain for whatever reason, you might want to consider adding an additional noon feeding. Horses benefit from little, frequent meals because they are more natural for them and because they help them to better digest and use their food.

  • Every horse has a unique set of requirements. When determining how much food they require, take into account both their size and the amount of effort they perform. Take into consideration how much hay or pasture your horse receives: Horses who spend the most of the day grazing on good pasture require little, if any, in the way of hay. Regardless of whether they are kept indoors or outside, horses who do not receive enough turnout or are not on suitable pasture will require extra hay. During the winter or when there is a drought, hay should be used to supplement pasture grazing. It is possible to reduce or totally remove hay rations when the grass is thick and lush, depending on the amount of accessible pasture. When it comes to grain, less is always more, so start with a little quantity and increase or decrease as needed. Your horse’s nutritional requirements will be met with the appropriate combination of grass, hay, and grain. It is important to remember to alter your horse’s feeding ration if the amount of labor they are doing varies.

Horse Feeding Basics – The Horse

One of the most important aspects of horse management is providing a properly balanced equine diet, yet because of its complexity, it is sometimes misinterpreted or even disregarded. In order to ensure that your horse is on a healthy nutritional plane, whether you are responsible for his or her care or rely on boarding facility employees to assist you, you need have a fundamental grasp of correct horse feeding. If you need assistance in establishing a diet that will satisfy the specific needs of your horse, your veterinarian, an equine nutritionist, and/or an extension expert can all be valuable resources.

Evaluating Body Condition

According to Rhonda Hoffman, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN, professor of equine science at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, the first stage in designing a horse’s diet is determining whether or not he is healthy. “First and foremost, horse owners must be able to look at their horses and determine whether or not they are at a healthy weight, or whether or not they are too fat or too skinny,” she explains. “The horse’s fattening (or thinning) is determined by the sight of the feeder.” Horse owners should get familiar with theHenneke Body Condition grading system, which goes from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (in good condition) (obese).

‘Five horses is the ideal number,’ says Carey Williams, PhD, associate professor and associate extension specialist at The Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Brunswick.

In order to be felt, not seen, ribs should be present. This will assist the horse owner in determining if the animal requires additional weight or weight loss.”

Understanding the Math

Following that, you’ll need to know how much your horse weighs in order to figure out how much and what to feed him. It is not necessary to use a weight tape to estimate your horse’s weight unless you are taking him to a facility that has a large enough scale, such as a veterinarian’s office or commercial farm. The formula varies based on whether the horse is a young developing horse, a pony or a draft breed, breastfeeding or pregnant, working hard, underweight, or overweight, among other variables.

  • When measuring the length of a horse, it is taken from the point of its shoulder blade to the tip of its rump.
  • “A weight tape should be placed moderately tight (you should still be able to fit a few fingers under the tape),” says Williams.
  • Professor Bob Coleman, PhD, BSc, of the University of Kentucky’s Extension Horse Specialist program recommends employing technology to assess a horse’s weight, according to the university.
  • Horse owners will be able to measure their horses and obtain an estimate of how much they presently weigh, as well as an estimate of how much they should weigh in their optimal condition.

Start with Forage

Forage consumption by horses is estimated to be 1.5-2.5 percent of their body weight daily, with “easy keepers” on the lower end of the range (the “air ferns” of the horse world) and “hard keepers” (those who have difficulty maintaining weight) on the higher end of the range (those who have trouble maintaining weight). As Coleman says, “forage is the foundation of all feeding regimens since it is a key source of the essential nutrients that animals require.” “Having said that, it is possible to supply more than the horse requires, for example, by providing nice grass when a horse is in maintenance.

  • According to Williams, a 1,000-pound horse engaged in mild activity can ingest up to 20 pounds of forage (grass and hay) per day.
  • As much of the leftover quantity as feasible should be provided as other kinds of fodder, such as hay, with grain being added only if your horse need it to satisfy his energy requirements.
  • As a result, if the pasture quality deteriorates, it may be required to feed more hay.
  • Returning horses to pasture in the spring, as well as in the fall after a frost, is the same procedure: Do so gradually, as sugar levels in grasses rise during these periods, increasing the likelihood of a horse suffering from colic or laminitis.
  • The horse’s gut microbiome, which assists in food digestion, might also respond to the new grazing environment as a result of this practice.
  • He advises landowners to educate themselves on the nutrients that different forage kinds give.
  • For the most part, grass hay offers all of the calories that a horse of “normal” size requires.
  • This $20-30 expenditure is little when compared to the cost of hay and feed, and it may assist you understand what type of feed to buy in order to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in the hay, according to her.

In addition, if your hay has less nutrients, it is simpler to justify feeding a higher-calorie, higher-protein, and more costly grain concentrate to your animals.” Despite the fact that every horse owner has his or her own hay preferences, Coleman says his or her favorite is a mixed alfalfa-grass hay that is suitable for horses of all ages and stages of development, from growing to performance to senior horses.

Williams recommends a grass hay that satisfies the nutritional requirements of a horse in maintenance, such as hay that has 8-10 percent protein and suitable amounts of vitamins and minerals, according to the author.

Using volumetric feed (for example, two flakes every feeding) might result in discrepancies since flakes may weigh varying amounts depending on their size.

Inspect the hay for patches that are brown, black, gray, or white in color, which indicate the presence of mold. According to Hoffman, high-quality hay should be pale to medium green in color and should not smell dusty, gloomy, or moldy.

Does Your Horse Need Grain?

For example, if grass does not provide your horse with sufficient nutrition, it may be necessary to supplement his diet with a concentrate feed, as previously stated. The number of calories required by horses rises as they exercise, according to Lawrence. “Compared to most mature horses, growing horses have a disproportionately larger requirement for calories, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. During pregnancy and nursing, the body’s nutritional requirements rise as well. “Diets for pregnant and nursing mares must contain appropriate nourishment, or otherwise the mare will deplete her own bodily resources to some extent in order to promote fetal growth or milk production,” says the veterinarian.

  1. Feeding should be done by weight once again.
  2. These pellets often contain nutrient fortification, which is particularly important in the case of vitamins and minerals.
  3. Some feed producers sell this sort of pellet on its own, referring to it as a ‘ration balancer’ in their marketing materials.
  4. When it comes to grain selection, Hoffman recommends that horse owners use a commercially blended and balanced grain concentrate rather than giving simple grains such as oats or attempting to make your own feed to save a few dollars.
  5. “As a general rule, when it comes to grain, you get what you pay for,” Lawrence continues, implying that it may be necessary to purchase a feed that is in the middle to upper range of prices in order to get the optimal balance between cost and high-quality ingredients and minerals.
See also:  How To Put A Chest On A Horse? (Solved)

Water and Salt

Horses must eat a huge amount of water in order to keep their bodies operating correctly as a result of their size. A mature, average-sized horse will consume 5 to 10 gallons of water per day at its full size. The quantity of water a horse requires is multiplied by a variety of circumstances, including activity, high weather, humidity, sweating, pregnancy or nursing, and increased hay intake, which can sometimes be three or four times the regular amount. Maintain constant access to lots of clean, fresh water for your horse at all times.

For every pound of hay consumed by a horse, Williams estimates that the animal will drink two quarts (half a gallon) of water, according to Williams.

Alternatively, owners can supplement salt intake with a mixture of one-third trace mineral or plain salt top-dressed on feed and two-thirds free-choice dicalcium phosphate, which can be provided by the owner (e.g., a salt block).

This also helps horses to satisfy their calcium and phosphorus requirements, which are not met by trace mineral salt blocks because these minerals are not present in them.

Take-Home Message

Especially if you are new to horse feeding, consult with your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist to ensure that your horse’s diet has the nutrients he need. He might suffer from major health concerns if he does not. Cookies are used on this website to enhance your browsing experience. If you continue to use the site, we will assume that you are in agreement with this policy. Accept More information can be found at

How should I feed a horse?

What, when, and how much to feed each horse varies depending on the specific horse. When deciding what is best for our horse, we must evaluate the reasons why an animal wants food, how it feeds in its natural form, and the fundamental laws of feeding that must be followed. In order to maintain their physical health, provide the raw ingredients for development, repair damaged tissues and provide energy to do labor or exercise, all animals require a constant supply of food. The horse is a grazing animal, which means that it is meant to feed practically continuously throughout the day and night.

Rules of Feeding Horses

This mimics the horse’s normal eating pattern and promotes good digestion by ensuring that food passes through the digestive tract on a consistent basis.

Feed plenty of bulk and roughage such as grass, hay, haylage, etc.

This ensures that the digestive system is always sufficiently stocked, just as it would be in the wild.

Feed according to size of horse and workload

More labor necessitates the use of more energy and food. The animal will become overweight or underweight if it receives too much or too little nutrition.

Keep a check on your horse’s condition

Fat scoring will allow you to determine whether your horse need weight increase, weight loss, or weight maintenance on a regular basis. This information is critical when determining how much you should be feeding your horse on a regular basis. In addition, it is important to note that an overweight horse that is deficient in energy would be unlikely to profit from a higher calorie diet. Please check ourRight Weight page for further information, as well as instructions on how to analyze your horse’s condition.

Do not make sudden changes to the diet

Microorganisms in the large intestine break down feed, and they must adjust to any changes in the animal’s feeding regimen. Some bacteria can die as a result of sudden changes, while others can create toxins and induce metabolic diseases.

Keep to the same times of feeding each day

Horses are creatures of habit, and they thrive when their daily routine is consistent.

Ensure that both feed and feeding utensils are clean

Horses are picky eaters who can be readily prevented from eating by a variety of means.

Feed something succulent each day

Succubus fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots serve to sustain the horse’s attention while also adding moisture to the diet.

Do not do fast work immediately after feeding

A full stomach will put pressure on the horse’s lungs and make it difficult for him to breathe. When you work quickly, the blood in your body is redistributed throughout the body, impairing your ability to digest your food.

Provide a constant supply of fresh water

If this is not feasible, make sure that the horse is moistened prior to feeding so that any undigested food does not pass through the digestive system too quickly after being fed.


In addition to grass or grass products such as hay, you must know what else to feed your animals. Remember that many leisure horses may just require the addition of a vitamin and mineral supplement, rather than a concentrate meal, to achieve optimal performance. A great deal of expertise and skill were necessary in the past to create a balanced meal for the horse by combining the raw materials oneself. It is now much easier to complete this process because to the widespread availability of balanced mixed feeds manufactured by a variety of reputable feed producers.

If you need help determining which feed is best for your horse or pony, you may either visit your own veterinary surgeon or call one of the helplines set up by the feed manufacturers.

As one of our official suppliers, Baileys Horse Feeds kindly donates feed to the horses and ponies in our care at our four Rescue and Rehoming Centers.

The low-calorie balancer also allows us to ensure that excellent doers continue to receive all of the vitamins and minerals they require while on a calorie-restricted eating plan.

How to Feed a Horse

Article in PDF format Article in PDF format Feeding a horse may be a difficult task. There are many various types of feeds available, and no two horses are exactly same. In addition to the horse’s breed, age, weight, health, and workload, the amount and kind of feed supplied will depend on the climate and what is readily available in the area. Continue reading to find out how to feed a horse.

  1. 1 Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Horses require 5–15 gallons (18.9–56.8 L) of water per day, depending on their size. Make every effort to ensure that your horse has access to water at all times if at all feasible. Otherwise, make certain that you water your horse at least twice a day and that you allow your horse to drink for several minutes before you turn away.
  • Make certain that the water in your horse’s trough is clean and does not include any frozen chunks. It’s also important to keep the trough clean, so wash it out every day.
  • 2 Give your horse enough of structural carbs to keep him healthy. The consumption of structural carbohydrates, such as hay and grass, is vital in a horse’s diet. In order to survive, horses must consume vast quantities of hay and grass as their primary sources of nourishment. In fact, horses should consume 15-20 pounds of hay every day, or 1-2 percent of their body weight, so make sure that your horse has plenty of hay to munch on at all times.
  • Check to see that the hay you give your horse is clear of mold and dust before you feed it.
  • Advertisement
  • s3 Don’t overfeed your horse with nonstructural carbs
  • Instead, feed him in moderation. The inclusion of nonstructural carbohydrates in a horse’s diet is also vital. Examples include oats, maize, and barley. Throughout the day, feed your horse modest quantities of grain at regular intervals. Horses can also eat 12 pounds of grain per 100 pounds of body weight each day, if they like. Make two or three evenly spaced feedings to your horse over the day to provide a healthy diet.
  • Make careful to measure the quantities that you feed your horse to ensure that you are providing her with the proper quantity of food. For horses who are suffering from heat exhaustion, feed grain to them during cooler times of the day, such as early in the morning and late in the evening.
  • 4Adequate protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals should be included in your horse’s diet as a supplement. You should feed your horse fortified feed every day, even though it will acquire the majority of its calories from hay and grass. This will assist to fill up any nutritional gaps that may exist. Your horse’s nutrition should include protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are necessary, but they are not required in big quantities. 5Adjust the dosage as necessary. Supplementing with specific vitamins for horses is an option if you believe your horse is not getting all of the required vitamins and minerals from his or her feed. Just be careful not to over-supply your horse with vitamin supplements! Just as a vitamin deficit may cause issues, an overabundance of vitamins can do the same thing. 6 Treats should be given in moderation. Giving goodies to your horse when you want to reward her is also a wonderful method to strengthen your friendship with your horse. However, you must be careful not to overdo it with the goodies, because your horse may become accustomed to them and begin to search for them in your clothing.
  • A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, green beans, watermelon rinds, and celery are excellent rewards for your horse.
  1. 1Weigh your horse with a weight tape or a weight bridge to determine its weight (equine scales). If a weight bridge is available, it should be used instead of a tape since it is significantly more accurate. Weight fluctuations are best recorded using condition scoring, which is the most accurate method. Track the variations in your horse’s weight every two weeks by plotting them on graph paper. 2 Calculate the total number of calories required per day (forage and concentrate). The need is between 1.5 and 3 percent of its body weight, with a mean of 2.5 percent of its body weight. The following equation may be used to estimate how much you should feed your horse on a daily basis: Total Daily Ration = BodyWeight/100×2.5 = Total Daily Ration
  2. 3 Decide what kind of weight increase you want your horse to have before you begin. What if you want to retain your horse at the same performance level as it is now (maintenance diet)? Want to lower the weight of your horse due of health concerns (reduced diet)? Alternatively, do you wish to boost the body weight of your horse as a result of a previous sickness or as a result of your horse being underweight?
  • When designing a feeding plan for your horse, the most effective technique is to feed based on the goal weight rather than the present weight. e.g. A horse that is underweight and weighs 300kg is presented. If the horse’s optimal weight is 400kg, don’t feed 2.5 percent of 300kg if its ideal weight is 400kg. Feed 2.5 percent of the 400kg of meat
  • When dealing with an overweight horse, use the same procedure. Feed based on goal weight rather than present weight, which means you will actually be feeding less than the amount recommended for an overweight horse, resulting in a drop in the horse’s waistline.
  1. 4Control the amount of energy in forage by feeding different types or a combination of different sorts of forage. Different types of fodder contain varying quantities of DE (digestible energy), and this varies depending on the kind of forage (grass, haylage, hay, oat straw), as well as the type of grass being consumed (rye, timothy, cocksfoot or orchard grass). When it comes to grazing, the time of year has an impact on the DE. Spring grass has a high concentration, but winter grazing has a low concentration. The “cut” has an effect on the DE of conserved grass. Early cut grass has a higher concentration in DE than late cut grass, and vice versa. The amount of oat straw in DE is quite low. The most accurate approach to determine the nutritional value of your forage is to get it tested
  2. 5 Choose an energy source that is appropriate for your horse. Some horses are more prone to overheating than others (becoming over excited and spooky). Slow-release energy (fiber and oil) will be beneficial in this situation because it is the safest source of energy and produces the least amount of health problems in these horses. Other horses are sluggish and devoid of “sparkle.” Fast-release energy (starch found in cereals/grains such as oats and barley) can be provided to the animal. Several health issues have been linked to starch consumption, and certain horses must be prohibited from consuming it
  3. 6 If you are confused about how much to feed your horse, you should consult with a trained specialist. If you are unsure of how much you should be feeding your horse, consult with your horse’s veterinarian for assistance. A number of feed producers also have customer service lines where you may receive feeding recommendations for your horse. Advertisement
  1. 1 Make any necessary adjustments to your horse’s feeding consumption. Your horse’s nutritional requirements will vary depending on the quantity of new grass she has ingested while out to pasture and the amount of exercise she has engaged in during that time. Every day, assess your horse’s requirements to determine whether to reduce or increase the amount of feed she receives on a regular basis.
  • If your horse has been out on pasture all day and has eaten a lot of grass, she will not require as much hay as she would otherwise. After a long workweek that included a lot of riding, you will need to offer your horse with more food to assist restore the calories she expended.
  • 2 Arrange for feedings to take place an hour before or after you have rode the horse. Don’t feed your horse immediately before or shortly after she has completed a difficult activity since blood flow will be redirected away from her organs, which might cause digestion to become impeded. Feedings should be timed to coincide with your horse’s regular activities.
  • In the event that your horse will be participating in a very intensive exercise, arrange her food for three hours before the activity.
  • 3 Make modest adjustments to your horse’s dietary needs. It is not enough to just switch to a new feed if you have determined that you need to modify your horse’s diet. Begin by replacing 25 percent of the old feed with the new feed to get the system up and running. Replace 50 percent of the old feed with the new feed within two days after receiving it. Replace 75 percent of the old feed with the fresh feed two days after that, and repeat the process. Second, you will be able to feed your horse completely fresh for two days following that.
  • In addition to making modest meal modifications, you should feed your horse at the same time every day at the same place. Having a consistent feeding plan helps horses perform better. Making significant changes to your horse’s diet or feeding schedule might result in equine colic and founder. Equine colic is a disorder that causes severe abdominal discomfort in horses and may necessitate surgical intervention. As a result of the inadequate circulation, founder can cause the hoof to separate from the foot, which is a serious problem for horses. The founder is frequently lethal
See also:  How To Put A Chest On A Horse? (Solved)

Create a new question

  • Question What is the most effective horse feed available on the market? As the Assistant Manager of Paddock Riding Club in Los Angeles, California, Alana Silverman is a Certified EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) Equine Specialist as well as a certified EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) Equine Specialist. The owner and rider of over 25 years, Alana specializes in English riding and riding instruction, as well as horse care and maintenance. She graduated with honors from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Expert Horse Trainer with a certification Answer Each variety of hay has a unique nutritional composition. For example, alfalfa is quite high in sugar content. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best sort of hay to feed your horse, as well as the best time to feed him. Question I’m not sure how many apples or carrots I should feed to the horse. Do not feed the horse more than 10 pounds of grain every day. It is possible that they will develop negative behaviors such as pawing if you consistently feed them at the crossties
  • What can I do to help my horse lose weight? I’m having trouble getting her to reduce weight. Increase your physical activity. Don’t put too much pressure on her. Reduce the amount of feed you consume gradually. If it’s winter, don’t be too concerned
  • They’ll use the extra weight to keep themselves warm. Question Is hay pellets sufficient for senior horses, or need they be supplemented with hay? Furthermore, you need appropriately give them with hay in order to ensure that they receive enough nutrients. Question How can I get a horse to gain weight if it’s too thin to begin with? Provide your horse with the appropriate amount of food in order for him to gain weight. If that does not work, several retailers provide weight growth supplements that contain additional nutrients to help your horse acquire weight. Question What is the best way to give grain to a horse? Place the grain in a bucket and set it aside (one that will hook to a rail). The horse will most likely eat it right immediately, and after they are through, remove the bucket from the stable. We don’t recommend leaving it in the stable since the horse may play with and knock it off. Granular feed twice a day is OK depending on what you give your horse. You may also add supplements to the grain by mixing it with a little water to ensure that it adheres to the food
  • Question Is hay sufficient for horses to consume? No, horses require a grain diet twice a day in addition to hay and grass to maintain their health. Question Is it safe to offer a little additional feed after a very strenuous workout? In most cases, it isn’t essential. We all have a proclivity to overfeed our horses. Generally speaking, it is only the elite competitive horses who put in enough effort to affect the amount of feed they require. Question What is the ideal place for the hay: on the ground or raised (1 meter) above the ground? As long as there is good, clean land with enough of Timothy, alfalfa, or wild hay, it doesn’t matter where you live. Question How much would it cost to feed a horse on a weekly basis? Based on the horse and its age, it should cost between 50 and 150 dollars a week to maintain the horse.

More information can be found in the following answers: Inquire about something There are 200 characters remaining. Include your email address so that you may be notified when this question has been resolved. SubmitAdvertisement


  • Providing a “dummy meal” of low-energy chaff and balancer to a horse that does not require anything other than fodder, but who has other horses maintained with him, is recommended. This will prevent the horse from feeling left out while the other horses are being fed. Feeds should be mixed daily, and any uneaten feed should be discarded. By mixing feed on a daily basis rather than mixing all of the feed together when it comes, you may limit the feed and keep track of what the horse is consuming. If the horse refuses to eat or becomes ill, you can eliminate a feed product from the diet. Feed high-quality feed and forage to your animals. Colic can be caused by poor quality meals that are moldy or sour in flavor. Feeds that are too cheap or of poor quality may not be consumed, resulting in higher costs in the long term. Feed a plenty of forage – Grazing, haylage, hay or oat straw should be provided so that the horse has enough to eat during the day. This assists in keeping the peristaltic action and digestive fluids moving, as well as avoiding behavioral and physiological problems. If you have access to a weight bridge on a regular basis, consider adding condition to your score. It is possible that a horse that has gained weight has not developed fat, but rather muscle. Feed often and in little amounts – The horse’s stomach is tiny in comparison to its body size and cannot accommodate a large amount of food. It is expensive to use a weight bridge, and not everyone has access to one. Inquire with veterinarians, dealers, and studs to see if they have one and if they would be willing to let you use it. But it is the “changes” in weight that are significant
  • Depending on how you feed your horse, you may have to feed more hay because some will be lost by being trotted into the ground or bedding
  • Feed by weight, not by scooping or scooping and dumping. Check to see how much a “scoop” is for each type of feed
  • Always make certain that the place where food is stored is out of reach of horses
  • And It is best to tie the bins together or secure them with a lock to prevent horses from eating more than they should. In order to prevent a horse from bolting its grains (eating too quickly), place one or two huge stones in the grain bucket. To access to the grain, they will have to push the stones aside while the horse consumes it


  • Advertisement
  • “Mouthy” vices (e.g., cribbing, wind sucking), eating wood and manure, and stomach ulcers are all possibilities. Making ensuring the horse has access to feed at all times can help prevent these problems. Laminitis, founder, and excitable behavior are all possible symptoms. It is possible to avoid problems by restricting the intake of starch and sugar in the diet. Azoturia is a kind of lizard that lives in the Azoturia genus (also called tying-up or Monday Morning Syndrome). It is possible to avoid this by feeding according to the effort and limiting calorie consumption on days off
  • Colic. Feeding little and frequently, providing enough of fiber, and using high-quality feeds can all assist to prevent this. Make moderate modifications to the feed, as described above. Obesity and emaciation are both present. Regular condition scoring, record keeping, and energy level regulation can all assist to avoid these problems.


About This Article

Summary of the Article XWhen it comes to feeding your horse, make sure it has plenty of hay or grass to nibble on at all times. In addition, you should feed it 1/2 pound of barley or oats everyday for every 100 pounds of body weight it possesses. You can reward your horse with fresh apples or carrots as a reward if you want to spoil him a little, but only in little amounts. Provide your horse with plenty of fresh water and a little bit of fortified feed each day to ensure that it gets enough minerals, protein, and other nutrients to keep it healthy and happy.

Continue reading for information on how to accurately measure your horse’s body weight and determine the exact amount of food it requires. Did you find this overview to be helpful? The writers of this page have together authored a page that has been read 269,093 times.

Did this article help you?

Photodisc courtesy of Getty Images As horse owners, we often take pleasure in caring for our animals, which frequently entails providing them with the highest quality feed available. On the other hand, it’s simple to go overboard with the feed. Overfeeding can result in obesity-related disorders in horses, such as the equine metabolic syndrome, as well as laminitis. A horse that does not have any special or specific feeding requirements may put you in danger of overfeeding your horse if you find yourself becoming a master cook for him.

See also:  How Long Is Horse Gestation? (Best solution)

Making bran mashes and heating them is not required, nor is it necessary to slice carrots or prepare and serve complex meals.

Overfeeding is a specific issue in the case of younger horses.

Your child will benefit from gradual, steady development, frequent parasite control drugs, and plenty of physical activity to keep it slim and fit.

How to Feed a Horse: Understanding the Basic Principles of Horse Nutrition

Kylee J. Duberstein, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science at the University of Georgia. University of Florida’s Department of Animal Sciences is headed by Dr. Edward L. Johnson (Ph.D.).


What is the right way to feed a horse? With so many different feed, supplement, and hay options available, many individuals are left wondering just what their horse need in order to maintain excellent health and nutritional status. There are many different horse-feeding beliefs and misconceptions, which makes determining what to feed even more challenging. The legislation compels commercial horse feed makers to include information about their feed on a “feed tag,” which can be affixed to or written directly on the bag of feed they sell to the public.

Most horse owners, on the other hand, either don’t comprehend or don’t have the patience to study this material.

Basic Nutrients

When it comes to feeding horses, it’s crucial to remember that there are six main dietary categories that must be met: carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water, to name a few examples. A lot of the time, feed companies will balance the first five nutrients for us; nevertheless, it is vital to remember to include water in the equation. Normal, healthy horses will drink 5-15 (or more) gallons of water every day, depending on the temperature, humidity, and amount of activity they are involved in.

If this is not practicable, horses should be watered at least twice daily and given at least a few minutes to drink between each watering session.

Dietary supplementation should be based on the horse’s nutritional requirements for each of the other five elements listed above.

It is a highly valuable ability to be able to examine a feed label and evaluate whether or not the feed will match the nutritional needs of your horse. Let us take a look at each of the nutritional categories you will come across when analyzing your feeding regimen.


A major portion of the horse’s diet will most likely consist mostly of carbohydrates. They may be split into two categories: structural (fiber) and non-structural (non-woven fabric) (sugars and starches). Structural carbohydrates are found in the greatest proportions in the roughage that horses consume (for example, hay and grass), and they are able to be digested because of the way the horse’s digestive system is designed (see figure). When the horse’s digestive material has been digested in the stomach and small intestine, it moves into the large intestine (hindgut), which in the horse is comprised of the cecum and colon, respectively.

  • This explains why grass and hay provide such a high level of nutritional value to horses.
  • Digestive disorders such as impactions can be caused by hay that has a coarse stem or hay that is excessively fine in consistency.
  • Hay that is overly mature when it is cut has little nutritional value for the horse.
  • Grains (corn, oats, barley) are the primary source of these sugars and starches because they give a more concentrated source of energy than structural carbs (thus, the term “concentrates” is often used when referring to grains and grain mixtures).
  • It is recommended that the horse be given a minimum of 1 percent of its body weight in forage (on a dry matter basis); the optimal amount would be 1.5 to 2 percent of its body weight in forage.
  • There are a variety of “safe” feeds being promoted to the horse industry at the present time.
  • “Safe” feeds, for example, frequently contain substances such as beet pulp and soybean hulls, which contain a high composition of digestible fiber and a low starch content, while avoiding items such as maize, which contains a high starch content and should be avoided.

Owners of horses with particular needs (e.g., Cushings disease, metabolic syndrome, chronic laminitis, ulcers, or repeated colic) may often choose a horse feed with a low starch content by looking at the average starch % given on the guaranteed analysis on the feed tag.


Although protein is essential for body growth and maintenance, many horse owners are unaware of the importance of this component in their horses’ diets. Proteins are broken down in the small intestine into amino acids, which are then recombined in the body to form proteins that are responsible for the formation of muscle, hair, and hoof. It is critical to understand that proteins are made up of amino acids, and that the proteins produced by the body contain amino acid sequences that are very particular to the individual.

  1. For horses, lysine is the amino acid of choice.
  2. In essence, this increases the protein quality of the diet without increasing the total amount of protein in the feed.
  3. A frequent myth in the horse business is that higher protein intake is related with increased energy output.
  4. When it comes down to it, protein is by far and away the most challenging energy source for horses to digest and convert into useful energy.
  5. A larger proportion of protein is required by developing horses compared to older, more mature horses.
  6. When horses are putting down new tissue for growth, they require extra protein (i.e.
  7. A lower protein content (8 to 12 percent), depending on the activity of the horse, will most likely be sufficient for mature horses.
  8. Equine overnutrition simply results in the horse excreting the extra protein as urea in its urine, which is then transformed to ammonium.
  9. It’s crucial to remember that forage is a good source of protein as well as carbohydrates.
  10. Hays may be divided into two categories: grass hays (such as bermudagrass and timothy) and legume hays (e.g., alfalfa, peanut, clover).
  11. When it comes to crude protein, excellent grade legume hay may include anywhere from 18 to 22 percent, whereas good quality grass hay can have anywhere from 10 to 16 percent.

In this case, the quality of the hay and the stage of development at harvest both impact how digestible the hay is and how much protein the horse obtains from it.


The practice of feeding high-fat diets to horses is a relatively new development in the horse business. This study proved that horses are capable of withstanding a moderately high quantity of fat in their diet. Energy-dense fats are a convenient and easily digested source of energy. Fat content in commercial diets that have not been supplemented with extra fats is between 2 and 4 percent. Increasingly, fat is being added to commercial feeds in the form of stabilized oils or other forms of fat-fortified oils.

Because adding fat to a feed enhances its energy density, resulting in the horse requiring less feed, it is critical to ensure that the other nutrients (e.g., protein, vitamins, and minerals) are sufficient to fulfill your horse’s nutritional needs as well.


Vitamins are chemical substances that are significantly necessary to human health. This group of enzymes must be present in the body in order for critical processes to take place that allow the animal to survive. Vitamins are divided into two groups: the water-soluble group, which includes the B-complex vitamins (e.g., B 1, B 2), and the fat-soluble group, which includes the vitamins A, E, D, and K. Vitamins are divided into two groups: the water-soluble group, which includes the B-complex vitamins (e.g., B 1, B 2), and the fat-soluble group, which includes the vitamins A, E, D, and K.

In order to understand why the horse does not normally require dietary supplementation of all vitamins, it is necessary to understand how the horse synthesizes many of the vitamins it requires.

It is critical to inspect your horse’s diet and ensure that all of his vitamin requirements are being met, as vitamin shortages can result in a variety of health concerns.

When extra water-soluble vitamins are administered to an animal, they are normally eliminated in the urine; however, when excess fat-soluble vitamins are fed to an animal, they are retained readily in the animal’s fat tissue and can accumulate to dangerously high levels.

The majority of the time, a decent feed regimen paired with a well-formulated concentrate will be sufficient to fulfill your horse’s vitamin requirements.


Minerals are inorganic components that are essential for the body’s healthy functioning and must be present in sufficient quantities to do so. Minerals are another another ingredient that may be found in supplements on the shelves of feed and tack stores. It is critical to note that your horse’s mineral requirements may alter based on his age and health (i.e., if the horse is working, gestating or lactating). Horse feed firms balance their feed to suit the mineral requirements of different categories of horses, which is something that most of them do.

  • In rare circumstances, further supplementation of certain minerals may be necessary to get the desired outcomes.
  • It is important to exercise caution, however, because excessive levels of minerals can produce toxicities, which can result in significant health issues, or interfere with the absorption of other minerals.
  • Another option is to provide a free-choice loose salt-vitamin-mineral mix to satisfy vitamin and mineral needs.
  • Furthermore, because mineral blocks are often composed of less than 5 percent mineral and more than 95 percent salt, they are insufficient in meeting the vitamin and mineral requirements of horses.
  • A basic rule of thumb is to anticipate horses to ingest 1.5 to 3 oz.
  • When you look at a bag of feed, one of the most typical mineral ratios you will encounter is the calcium:phosphorus ratio.
  • If the phosphorus levels are high in comparison to the calcium levels, calcium will be drawn from the bones and absorbed into the bloodstream in order to restore the calcium:phosphorus ratio to its normal level.
  • However, grains are quite rich in phosphorus, and commercial diets are normally fortified with some type of calcium.
  • Another essential mineral concern is the amount of perspiration lost by your horse.

It may be important to supply these horses with salt as well as other electrolytes in order to keep them healthy (such as potassium). When necessary, a balanced electrolyte mix can be given to the horse’s grain combination to help keep him hydrated.

Simple Calculations to Determine Nutrient Intake

Equine nutritional requirements differ from one individual to the next, therefore it is critical to be able to analyze a feed label and determine whether or not a certain feed will suit your horse’s nutritional requirements. On the label of most horse feeds, manufacturers include feeding instructions to assist consumers in determining whether or not the feed is acceptable for their horses and how much of it should be offered to each individual. The ability to examine a certain feed and comprehend why it is or is not a smart choice for your horse is advantageous.

The nutritional requirements of a horse are estimated based on the horse’s age, workload, and health state, and the nutritional value of various grains and hays is also provided.

To gain access here this database through the internet, go to.

If you choose certain forages and other feedstuffs (under “Dietary Supply” — click on “New” to change feedstuff) in this application, you will be able to figure out how much of your horse’s nutritional requirements are being supplied by a certain feed or combination of feeds (you must input the weight of each feedstuff being consumed).

Sample By-Hand Calculation

Equine nutritional requirements differ from one individual to the next, making it critical to be able to analyze a feed label and determine whether or not a feed will match your horse’s nutritional requirements. On the label of most horse feeds, manufacturers include feeding instructions to assist purchasers in determining if the feed is acceptable for their horses and how much of it should be offered to each individual horse. However, it is advantageous to be able to examine a certain feed and comprehend why it is or is not a smart choice for your horse.

The dietary requirements of a horse are estimated based on his age, workload, and health state, and the nutritional value of various grains and hays is provided.

Please visit the following website to gain access to this database: Under “Animal Specifications,” you may enter the age, weight, health condition, and workload of a specific horse to establish its exact nutritional requirements for macronutrients (which are listed in the table at the bottom of the web page), as well as its specific vitamin and mineral requirements (under “Other Nutrients”).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.