Horse nutrition requirements are totally dependent on several things. In our opinion, there is no 'one size fits all'. The main things that determine what a horse needs for maximum quality of condition, health, efficiency and cost savings are:
1) Age of horse. Young growing horses need more protein and fewer carbs. Older horses need a different feeding program to stay in good condition and stay healthy.
2) Poor keepers. Poor doers need a LOT more feed and higher quality feed than easy keepers.
3) Really easy keepers. Really easy keepers may need something that is very low calorie but still has the Vitamins or ??? That are missing from their hay.
4) Amount and kind of work being done. Obviously a horse in hard training or being ridden many miles every day needs more feed. One can feed for a very high blood count and can want a horse to be 'hot' and have a lot of energy and speed or one can want horse to 'laid back' quiet and more lazy. You feed the two very differently.
5) Kind and quality of forage available. Every feeding program has to be built around what hay or forage is available. You need to feed a horse very differently if mature grass hay is being fed free choice as opposed to bright green, high protein grass hay or alfalfa or other legume hay that is much higher in protein and other nutrients.
6) 'Condition' the horse needs to be kept in. If one is trying to condition a horse for showing or for a big sale, appearance and condition is extremely important. A saddle horse that needs to be healthy but can carry a little 'hay belly' and is going to have a natural hair coat (long in the winter and sun-bleached in the summer) can also do very well on a different diet than a show horse needs.
6) Dietary and metabolic restrictions. If you happen to have a horse with metabolic problems like a horse with Cushings or previous Laminitis, EPSM, HYPP or even allergies or any other feed related problem, you have to build your feeding program around those needs and restrictions.
7) Breeding horses. Pregnant mares and breeding stallions have different nutrition requirement. Most foals born with weak and crooked legs were carried by mares that lacked adequate nutrition even though they might have been 'fat' and looked OK.
So, in order to feed a horse for optimum condition and health without breaking the bank requires a lot more information.
Well here it goes.
I live in canada, its very cold here right now. I live on the outer city so its not easy to get high quality hay.
The hay I feed is a alfalfa/berm/orchard grass mix.
Our pasture has some grass still but if we get a heavy snow fall it isnt accessible to the horse.
I have a 3 1/2 yr old Clydesdale. Ridden a hand full of times a month, now that its freezing cold probably not as much.
She gets 2/3 of a bale a day and eats half, in 24 hrs most of it is gone. And a salt block she enjoys.
She is turned out into the pasture it has a very large shelter in it.
A weanling QH I just got yesterday he eats the other 1/3 of the bale and is on "frisky foal" pellets... I made him a nice "grewl" yesterday (frisky foal, 1 hand full of rolled oats, colostrum, chopped pear, warm water) I gave it to him he sniffed it and looked at me like I was crazy and continued eating his hay.
He is inside the barn and I take him for walks to work on his halter training/getting him used to sounds, cars driving past the field ect. (which is going very well)