How much feed is correct? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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How much feed is correct?

Hi, I have a quick question. 18 yr. Old mare, no job, just a big pet. How much senior feed along with her hay is the right amount?
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 08:41 PM
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This depends on so many factors. What are the nutritional values of the feed? Of the hay? Has the hay been tested, or is it just whatever you can find? Is she an easy keeper, hard keeper? Insulin Resistance risk, or Founder? Overweight, underweight, just right?
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 08:59 PM
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There is no easy answer not cut-and-dry do this or that...
How big is she?
What breed is she if you know?
Is she high-strung, fret easily or is she pretty calm and untroubled?
Does she crib or pace a fence line?

How much hay do you currently feed her and is she able to eat and chew it well or does she leave behind wads of balled hay?
What kind of hay do you feed? Brome grass hay, alfalfa, timothy????
All feed and hay are fed by weight not volume so knowing those numbers is a must...

How much exercise does the horse get?
Is she alone or have company that may make her "move her feet"?
Does she have pasture grass or is she out on your lawn grazing often and for how long?

It isn't the horse is this and she eats and is fed that...
There is a work to calories needed "formula" if you want to call it that that must be factored in...
There is also some experimentation and documentation when you make changes so you know if there is a improvement or regression in appearances...
I always take pictures and tape measurements so true documentation is seen and noted.
I also follow directions on feeding correct amounts found on feed bag backs of most every manufacturers products.
There is honestly always some "tweaking" to a horses diet as some horses are easier to keep weight on than others and watchful, observant eyes are a must.
**You also feed with a thought to the horse is supposed to weigh "XYZ" both if they are underweight or overweight..** You don't feed say for a 1000 pound horse if the horse is supposed to weight 1200 pounds and is thin...then again you don't feed amounts for a 1400 pound horse when your horses size has them weighing 1100 feed for where the horse is supposed to be to be healthy.
Do not overlook her teeth being checked and taken care of and older horses need more often checking.
Check she is not carrying a worm-load either.
If it is abnormally cold she might do well to wear a blanket so she not need to use her fat stores trying to stay warm...horses can and do convert fat stores to energy when cold and drop weight quickly staying warm as them must to survive and thrive.
So many things must be taken into consideration to give you a isn't so simple.

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:04 PM
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There really is no simple answer to this. Senior feed is usually a complete feed. It usually has a lot of fiber in it for older horses that have trouble eating hay. This means recommended feeding amounts are usually fairly high. You'd have to read the bag on your feed to know what's recommended.

The recommended amount on the bag is not always right for your horse though. Any changes in your horse's feed should be made gradually, over the course of a few weeks. Your horse should eat close to whatever they're eating now and if you want to increase or decrease her rations, you should do it slowly and in small stages. Deciding whether to feed your horse more or less or whether to switch feed types is dependent on your horse's body condition. If you find you have to feed a lot more or a lot less than the recommended amount on the bag of what you're currently feeding to keep your horse at a healthy weight, then it might be a good idea to make changes in other areas.

How much a horse needs to eat to stay in good body condition depends on a lot of things. It's not just about size and workload. A lot has to do with their underlying metabolism. As horses get older, it can become more difficult for them to chew and digest, and other health conditions may influence their ability to gain and maintain weight. You really have to tailor the diet to the individual horse. The quality and nutritional make up of what you're feeding has a lot to do with it as well.

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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She's had her teeth done, always been an easy keeper, she gets alfalfa hay from our local tack store and also Neutrena senior feed. She's very healthy, still has some spunk. I just wanted to be sure she's getting correct amounts for her age, etc.
She gets four flakes of hay and 9 qts of feed a day.
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Also, she is a Polish Arabian, 14.3 hh doesn't get much exercise, at my rental place, I can only let her out for any period of time if I can stay with her for however long, so she's become somewhat barn sour, I'm afraid. I am not allowed to ride her (health problems). Everyone says I need to give her up, but I love this little horse, and ppl in my area are strictly quarter horse ppl. I got hassled ALOT when I got her, being an Arab.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:26 PM
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Can you please share some pictures of the horse...
To me that is a rich hay and depending upon weight of the flakes could be a huge amount of hay or not enough...
9 qts of feed sounds enormous, but when you weigh it...
No as much as you think...

Weigh your feed...
Different manufacturers also have more or less calories per pound..
Here is a list of some feeds and their calorie content per pound...
Also some information of calories per pound of hay, different kinds of hay...
Calorie Requirements for Horses | Calories in Horse Feed | Dayville, WA

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Not a great pic, but there she is.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20190128_170706_1553218474123.jpg (90.2 KB, 3 views)
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:50 PM
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The right amount of feed for your horse is the amount that keeps her in good condition, not fat and not too skinny.

She looks pretty good to me. Lacking a little topline but that's normal with older horses, and the rest of her body condition is pretty well ideal.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-21-2019, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yay, so I'm doing good by her?
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