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Feeding

This is a discussion on Feeding within the New to Horses forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        09-23-2013, 12:16 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Feeding

    Hi guys,

    I come from the world of riding and mucking stalls not necessarily care and feeding, my big question is how much should I be feeding a horse? And what ratios? I have looked in all sorts of books and they all day 3% of a horse's body weight per day but it doesnt say how much grain or how much hay. What the break down is for feeding..

    Any help would be appreciated
         
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        09-23-2013, 01:16 PM
      #2
    Trained
    It depends....on the type of horse and how much work it will do.
    A non-hard working horse will do fine with good quality grasshay free choice, a vit/ min supplement or ration balancer, salt and clean, fresh water. He will eat about 2-3% of it's bodyweight daily. Easy keepers will do fine with less, hard keeper, or certain breeds will need some extra calories.
    So to give you more detailed info, we need more detailed info
         
        09-23-2013, 01:42 PM
      #3
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
    It depends....on the type of horse and how much work it will do.
    A non-hard working horse will do fine with good quality grasshay free choice, a vit/ min supplement or ration balancer, salt and clean, fresh water. He will eat about 2-3% of it's bodyweight daily. Easy keepers will do fine with less, hard keeper, or certain breeds will need some extra calories.
    So to give you more detailed info, we need more detailed info
    I don't have a horse yet, I was just trying to plan, I would be doing riding, walk trot and canter, just futzing around the farm, I don't like showing, and only find jumping minimally fun, so I may do it sometimes but not often.

    Not much else besides some riding, I plan on letting him graze allot, but whats they hay to grazing to grain ratios and how do you know which grain to feed?
         
        09-23-2013, 01:52 PM
      #4
    Trained
    The Basic rule of thumb is forage, hay, and ~ 1 lb hay/100 lbs horse
    It does vary, mostly bc people buy bad quality hay which the horse cannot keep weight with, or good quality but lightweight bales. Someone at your location needs to give you a primer on hay quality and weight. I know the weight and quality of MY hay bc I load it in my trucks, transport back home, and stack it in my barn's loft every year. Most of my bales are alfalfa mix (grass), 55-65 pounds/bale. When you hoist the last bales up with a "clean and jerk", you can gauge the weight pretty well. =b
    When I get a new horse I start with 3 flakes of hay, 2x/day, or a total of 6 flakes of hay every day.
    If my horse is still looking around for hay I add a flake at a time per feeding. If my horse doesn't eat it all, I cut back one flake a day. Even though horses have small stomachs and need to eat ~8 small meals/day, they can adjust to 2 feedings in a stall/day.
    ALWAYS keep fresh water available at all times.
         
        09-23-2013, 01:58 PM
      #5
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    The Basic rule of thumb is forage, hay, and ~ 1 lb hay/100 lbs horse
    It does vary, mostly bc people buy bad quality hay which the horse cannot keep weight with, or good quality but lightweight bales. Someone at your location needs to give you a primer on hay quality and weight. I know the weight and quality of MY hay bc I load it in my trucks, transport back home, and stack it in my barn's loft every year. Most of my bales are alfalfa mix (grass), 55-65 pounds/bale. When you hoist the last bales up with a "clean and jerk", you can gauge the weight pretty well. =b
    When I get a new horse I start with 3 flakes of hay, 2x/day, or a total of 6 flakes of hay every day.
    If my horse is still looking around for hay I add a flake at a time per feeding. If my horse doesn't eat it all, I cut back one flake a day. Even though horses have small stomachs and need to eat ~8 small meals/day, they can adjust to 2 feedings in a stall/day.
    ALWAYS keep fresh water available at all times.
    do you use grain?
         
        09-23-2013, 02:00 PM
      #6
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Winterose    
    I don't have a horse yet, I was just trying to plan, I would be doing riding, walk trot and canter, just futzing around the farm, I don't like showing, and only find jumping minimally fun, so I may do it sometimes but not often.

    Not much else besides some riding, I plan on letting him graze allot, but whats they hay to grazing to grain ratios and how do you know which grain to feed?
    You should be fine with just grazing and hay, when horse is stalled.
    Get a good estimate of your horse's weight, and weigh your hay flakes, since flakes can vary a lot in weight, so you know how much you need to feed to arrive at 2-3% of bodyweight. If your horse loses condition or is thin to begin with, and doesn't gain with more hay, then you can look into hard feeds.
    Like I said, it depends on what type of horse it is.
         
        09-23-2013, 02:21 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    You cannot really plan feeding a horse, as every feeding plan has to be set individually for the horse in question. But a general rule of thumb is ad-lib hay and/or grazing (horses are trickle feeders, they need eating small portions, but very often, which cannot be provided by human regulated feeding times), also grazing on grass or hay in a natural position (head low) is very important to their dental health. Grain can be left out completely, they don't really digest the starch and sugars in grain do them no good, but, if one chooses to feed grain to a horse, it must not be sweet feed. For example, I prefer whole oats in small portions (no more than 1.2kg of oats for a 600kg good-doer in moderate work). It seems to me that a horse in the workload you mention, which would be really light, could do well just on hay and grass, provided that he is in good health otherwise.

    I really advise that you subscribe to this free online course. I completed it last time it was up and it teaches all the basic information about equine nutrition you need to know:

    https://www.coursera.org/course/equi...trition-002%2F
         
        09-23-2013, 02:59 PM
      #8
    Foal
    Awesome thanks! Do you know if it needs any books or if it has assignments that have to be done? Or is it just video lessons for the 5 weeks?
         
        09-23-2013, 04:41 PM
      #9
    Trained
    I use grain with my current herd of three REALLY EASY KEEPERS. I've owned hard keepers in the past---AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!
    Yes, I feed grain, but not much. Mostly it's to get my horses to pay attention to me and come to a call--training, really.
    I've feed just oats in the past, and I am considering switching from sweet feed to oats. Oats are the safest grain, especially crimped oats.
    Grain doesn't put weight on your horse. Good quality roughage does this. "Corporal" (1982-2009,RIP) was a hard keeper. I finally came up with a diet to keep weight on him in his old age
    2x/day
    2 flakes grass hay
    1 flake straight alfalfa

    1x/day (evening, for disgestion and heat, in the winter)
    3 pounds Purina Equine Senior
    April-October, pasture and Equine Senior
         
        09-23-2013, 05:24 PM
      #10
    Green Broke
    Figure a minimum of ten pounds of forage per feeding per horse for an average horse.
    A flake of hay is about 4 inches wide. Depending on the hay , the weight , etc you would need 1 to 4 flakes per day. You don't say what the horse will be grazing.
    After the horse is home, if it drops weight within a month , you need to add more Hay, lots more. You can take all the classes you want to get a basis , but unless you have your pasture and hay analyzed you will still be playing a guessing game.
         

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