Originally Posted by HorseMoms
To feed your horse accurately to ensure sufficient weight gain or to maintain your horse's weight you need to know how much total food he should get a day. That means in either pounds or kilograms how much forage and grain he is getting in a day. But you need to know his weight first.
Here's what I suggest:
You mentioned he weighs approximately 960 lbs.with an activity level of moderate work. A horse in moderate work should be fed 2% of their body weight per the NRC nutrient requirements of horses.
You mentioned your horse was on the thin side so you could start with a conservative weight goal of 1000 lbs. And weight tape him every 2 weeks to see how much he weighs. If he gets to a good weight level recalculate his total feed per day using the 2% body weight with that new weight and then feed him that amount per day to maintain his weight.
The equitation is as follows:
1000 lbs. X 2% (BW) = 20 lbs total feed per day.
The next part of the equitation for his moderate work activity level is grain to hay ratio. How much of his total feed per day is hay and how much is grain. For moderate work level the grain to hay ratio is 40% grain and 60% hay.
The equitation is:
20 lbs total feed per day X 40% grain = 8 lbs. Grain
20 lbs total feed per day X 60% hay = 12 lbs. Hay
These are guidelines and every horse is different some horses are easy keepers and other horses can't keep weight on.
To keep your horses grain intake down (so you can help prevent a potential colic problem) :
-you can find commercial grains that are high in fat (these grains will usually have oil or rice bran in them. Your performance grains will have this extra fat)
-Use your existing grain and add extra fat; oil (flax, coconut, cocosoya), flax seed meal or rice bran
- Mix your grain with alfalfa pellets, they are higher in calories than grass hay.
If you want to see if he is getting enough total feed per day right now with him being at 960 lbs do the equitation above just put 960 lbs were the 1000 lbs is now. The grain to hay ration will remain the same since it is based on his moderate work activity level. Once you have his total feed per day weigh his existing grain and hay and see if it match's the guideline.
The accurate way to know your horse is getting the right amount food neither under or over is to weigh their grain and hay. You can weigh it once using a container and then you use that container to measure feed out each time. Or you can use a bath scale.
Remember to make all diet changes slowly whether you change the grain or the amount. You can safely increase your horses grain 1/2 lb - 1 lb a day every few days. If you are changing from one grain to another try to mix the new grain with old before starting him completely on the new grain. Whatever you reduce the old grain by replace that amount with the new grain.
Hope I have been of some help but if you are still not sure I recommend calling your vet and asking them to help you with your horse's diet plan.
We're going to be adding a diet plan (for free) on HorseMomsSupplements.com in a few days. Once it's up I can post here that its available.
I hope that helped.
I know this thread is old but I wanted to Thank you HorseMoms
so much for this example.
Im new at this and the way you explained about the feed is so clear and easy to fallow.
Your post may help others too.