Best feeding plan for horse
My horse is a 9 year old Quarter horse gelding, 15.3 hands, between 1000-1100 lbs. I'm trying to determine the best feeding schedule for him. In summer, he gets 24/7 access to a 7 acre pasture shared with 4 other horses. In winter, he's still on pasture but also gets 2 flakes of hay twice a day. He loses some weight in winter, but gains it back in summer. I usually ride him 2-3 days per week. He's a hunter under saddle and western pleasure horse, I jump him occasionally too. My rides are typically an hour long, sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes 1 1/2 hours. I do W/T/C, transitions, bending, lateral movement, etc; I would probably say light to moderate intensity work. Based on this, what would your feeding plan for him be? How much hay and grass? Any grain? How much? Right now he's a tad skinny and I want to get him to a better weight, but I never want him to be overweight. I just need a good, healthy weight maintenance plan.*
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Here is my feeding program for my horse. My horse is a driving/riding horse. Drives 2 times a week for around a hour and half with mostly fast trotting, hazards, and cones. He is ridden 3 times a week western pleasure. Canter, trot and walk work. For around a hour. He is 800lbs. Full blooded Arabian. He gets 1 flake of alfalfa at night. About 20-30 pounds of grass hay in the morning along with 2 lbs or safe choice the days he is worked. He has been on this program for a long time and does super well. Even when he was working 6 days a week he was doing so well. Never over weight and during the winter he did add a few pounds to help with the winter weather.
If anything I would add some grain to help fill in the needs that he is not getting with the hay. Hay does not have anything a horse needs in terms of vitamins and minerals. I like safe choice myself. It has controlled sugar and starch. Not super high in cost.
Before adding any grain, I would add more hay, maybe even a flake of alfalfa in winter. It's not going to hurt to lose a bit towards end of winter and go into grazing season a tad lean, spring grass is lush, and can cause problems if the horse is already on the rounder side. If you think about it, nature had it figured out perfectly. Spring is foaling season, rich grass is needed for the mommas and babies to grow properly. The feral horses all look great at the end of summer, have some fat stored for the winter with much less nutritious forage, end of winter they're all lean, then comes the lush grass and so on.
Your horse's work is considered light. So all I would add is either a vitamin/ mineral supplement or one of the ration balancers,and some flaxseed in winter to provide the omegas missing in hay. The ration balancer is a rather concentrated feed, meant to be fed max 2 lbs a day. Vit/ min and flax you can mix in with a handful of soaked alfalfa pellets or beetpulp. Really just a handful.
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