Growing Young Horses

14.1 and 1/2 HH

When I decided to go down the baby horse road I really didn’t know how much I didn’t know. I knew that the nutrition of a young horse was different in ways but never had to worry too much about it because my horses have always been 3+ when they came into my life. Well I have been kicked out of the comfort zone with Luna. I am pretty sure I am annoying the bejesus out of my knowledgeable friends with stupid baby questions. I imagine this like a toned down version of what it is like trying to keep a tiny human alive and healthy? Except horses are more self sufficient when left to their own devices. Thank the lort for no changing of diapers! One of the biggest learning curves has been the proper feeding/ nutrition. Balancing what a young horse eats is really important to make sure that they mature properly. Over feeding can lead to too much sugar and starch which could impact cartilage development. You also have to make sure that whatever you feed provides adequate protein, vitamin, and mineral content. Luna has access to great pasture and quality hay all the time so we have her on a ration balancer (Essential K) by Tribute to make sure she gets all of the other essentials. The goal is to promote slow and steady growth. I am going to continue to do more research but the common theme I am seeing is don’t feed them too much of the wrong thing and too little of the stuff they actually need. Duh right?I am sure there are about a million different perspectives on how to feed a young horse but I would definitely be interested to hear what others of you have done when you have had horses between weanling-2yo.

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  1. I don’t think what I did is any standard by which to follow, so I’ll just say that Luna is adorable and giving me hardcore baby fever (as if I didn’t already have it…).

    1. If you need a good reference, the NRC can be downloaded for free.

      You are on the right track-overfeeding energy and underfeeding other nutrients like TM are whats typically implicated in the development of OCD and other bone/joint issues.

      Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to foal nutrition!

  2. I really didn’t do anything special with Emi…but that’s pretty easy since she’s a pony breed. Pretty much all she could eat hay/pasture, and a very small amount of grain for her vitamins to go in. Feeding a baby warmblood is a different ball game all together.

  3. I am crazy when it comes to nutrition for giant breed puppies and goats, and know so much about that. But I totally forget about what it takes to properly feed a baby horse! I paid more attention to this when Vegas and Pandora were ~9 months old when we brought them home, but I talked a lot with a Purina rep who pointed us in the right direction. As far as I know. It looks like you are on the right track though!

  4. I can’t imagine! It’s hard enough for me to try to consider everything for an adult horse.. I can’t image a baby horse! (Much less a human baby… now THATS scary!)