Balanced Horse Diet??? Advise please...
I've been spoiled over the last 3 years boarding my horse at a great facility. She's my first and only horse. My fiance and I are building a house and barn, and should be ready to move ourselves and my horse Lola to our new home by next summer. So, I've been trying to educate myself on horse nutrition (ahead of time). But, I am finding it is harder than learning calculus! :shock: I cannot believe how ignorant I am about what my horse is eating!!!! :oops: Thankfully the BO knows what she's doing and Lola is in fantastic health. But this lack of knowledge needs to change.
Can anyone give a BEGINNER the basics. I've been reading books and searching online and all I am finding is VERY complicated explinations or conflicting opinions. I am looking for someone to "dumb it down" for me so I can grasp the basics and build a foundation. :lol: At this point, I am not looking for recommendations for brands of feed, but rather what I should be looking IN feed for optimal health. And WHY.
Recommendations on books would be welcome too. I've bought dozens that describe 25% grain and 75% forage... or 2.5% body weight in grain daily... or colorful charts and diagrams with odd measurements... yada yada... But that doesn't help me understand WHAT my horse needs daily for nutrition and WHAT to look for in a feed! I hate to say it but either the information I've found is lacking any specific detail or it's pack with SO MUCH detail I cannot understand a word.
I've been reading alot lately on ration balancer. Opinions vary on this, I know. :-)
I hope this thread can be help to myself and others. I'm ashamed to admit I am clueless about something that should be a cornerstone of owning a horse. :-(
P.S. God bless my BO but... She knows what she is doing, but sometimes is terrible at explaining it. It's like she has so much horse info in her brain when you ask a question it all comes out in a flood! :lol: hehe. I love her though, great lady!
The answer really more depends on what your particular horse's needs are. If you have a nice pudgy easy keeper, hay a small amount of grain and a multi-vitamin might be all you need. If she's a hard keeper, things get a little more tricky. Finding the right balance will take a little trial and error. Then depending on the time of year and the amount of exercise the horse is getting will also put a few more factors into play. Horses so well with more hay in colder weather to keep their body furnace humming along. Horses in heavier exercise need more fat and protein in their diet.
Yes, most horse require 1.5 to 2.0% of their weight in hay each day to maintain healthy weight.
For books, I don't know, but hopefully somebody will have suggestions for you.
I agree with you, information on horse nutrition is overwhelming. When I ask other horse owners everyone has a different answer. I am also a first time horse owner and I just brought my horse home from a great boarding stable. The BO told me she just needs grain twice a day as long as the pasture is good, no hay unless the pasture starts to look bad, but from what I have read horses need hay everyday. I would like some advice, also recomend what kind of grain and a good multi-vitamin. Right now she is on Legends by Southern States. Thanks!
I'm going to link you to this little article. There is a little bit of higher math involved, but overall it was SUPER helpful. Although it doesn't explain some things, it does break it down to real nutrients and what their daily values are.
Merk Veterinary Manual
I agree with you its frustrating that there is almost NOTHING available in the way of a true breakdown its just "give them lots of hay and grain and they'll be great!"
I love this site: Horse Nutrition Explained
It definitely helped me a lot - I just grabbed a pen and paper and took down all the important notes, conversions, yada yada yada. Everything is fairly straighforward and is divided into sections throughout the site.
Love the links. Very helpful. Thank you!
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