SD Blog Hop: Feed

If you ask 5 different horse people the same question I am relatively certain you could end up with 10 different answers. Even with a seemingly straight forward question. Amanda participated in a hop for a blog that I am relatively new to.

Spotted Dressage asks What Do You Feed & Why?

I have 3 very different horses from 1-10 years old with very different needs in the nutrition department. I decided to break this down by horse for simplicity. This is also a sliding scale and can vary depending on the time of year and what each creature is doing.

There isn’t a lot of method to the madness. I did verify that my horses are getting the right amount of all of the essentials with the help of hay analysis and the use of FeedXL. If you are interested in equine nutrition I have found Feed XL to be pretty useful. It quickly helps to pinpoint diet deficiencies and overall promotes a healthy diet for the horse. That said you only get out what you put in to the tool.

What do you all feed? Do you have a big input on what your horses are fed or do you allow the management of the barn to dictate those decisions?


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  1. One of my favorite topics and what I do for a living 🙂 I love talking to horse people about nutrition and if anyone reading this wants a pdf of a basic Nutrition 101 set of slides (a talk I gave a couple weeks ago) I am happy to send it.

    My horses are like night and day. Marcus is your typical TB hard keeper. Combined with his age and level of neurotic-ness, he needs a lot of calories. He gets Purina Active Senior (high fiber and higher fat), plus canola oil and ad lib orchard mix hay. Frankie gets 1lb of a ration balancer (M10), and 2lbs of a 10/10/10 textured and ad lib orchard mix hay. Both get a homemade electrolyte daily, year round.

    Everyone is different and if you ever have questions, talk to an equine nutritionist-most feed companies will have one. This may ruffle feathers, but don’t put much weight in what a supplement rep says as they aren’t nutritionists and most of the claims are marketing ploys. For example, that amino supplement claims to meet the amino acid requirements of horses. Funny thing is-we don’t know what the amino acid requirements are. We don’t even know positively which amino acids are limiting. That being said, because we know so little about the requirements of certain nutrients (ie amino acids, vitamins, minerals), that leaves error room and may explain why one size doesn’t fit all. The research will catch up but until then, its working with what is out there.

    Every horse is an individual and so they need to be fed as so. But one starting point for all horses is a a good quality forage as the basis to the diet.

    1. Couple other points to understand how to feed a horse if anyone is intersted:
      1. Fiber is a horses main energy source which is why a good quality forage is so important.
      2. Read your feed tag and follow feeding instructions.
      3. Overweight horses still need to have their nutrient requirements met.
      4. Oil is a great source of calories in horses that are hard to keep weight on. It used to be that we though horses couldn’t digest fat because of a lack of a gallbladder but the liver steps in to help 🙂
      5. Feed by weight not by volume.