The Essentials of Horse Nutrition

February 22, 2016 by Linda

horse grazing

Happy and Healthy

Keeping your horse happy and healthy falls back to feeding them a well-balanced diet. An adult horse typically consumes 2-2.5% of its body weight in dry feed each day.
The basic nutrients that should compose a horse’s diet include Carbohydrates, Vitamins/Minerals, Protein, and fats.
Carbohydrates are most likely the largest part of a horse’s diet. High quality hay that is cut at an appropriate length and stage of maturity is essential.
Proteins are necessary for body growth and maintenance. Improved protein quality is seen to be more beneficial than an increased total protein amount as excess protein causes excessive ammonia in the horse’s urine, leading to potential respiratory problems in stable horses.
Vitamins and Minerals
Sufficient amounts of essential organic (vitamins) and inorganic (minerals) compounds are important for the horse’s body to function properly. A diet should be analyzed nutritionally to make certain that the horse is getting adequate essential vitamins and minerals, and if additional supplements are required.
Fats
Horses can tolerate a very high level of fat in their diets as fats are an excellent and digestible source of energy. Many dry feeds are supplemented with an increase of fat so as making sure both nutrient and energy requirements are met.



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