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- How Much Feed and What to Feed Your Hors | Equine hoof & health
How Much Feed and What to Feed Your Horse The Basic Amounts of Food a Horse Needs Everyday So, to start with let’s take an average horse of around 16.1hh and in light to moderate work they will need to eat 1.5-2% of its bodyweight in food intake each day. At least half of that should be in grass or hay. So our average horse is around 500kg (16.1hh in good condition) and they will need to eat about 10Kg per day to maintain condition, that’s the baseline without allowing for hard work or light condition. Underdone horses or those expected to perform (competitions or breeding) will need closer to 12Kg – 15Kg a day. Horses will usually eat about 8-10Kgs of pasture in a 24-hour day. (Make an adjustment in that assessment if your horse happens to be stressed in the paddock, e.g., fence walking, or the pasture is really not good quality). Therefore normally very little additional feed will need to be given to our average size horse in light work and good condition on good to average pasture– say a maximum of 1 or 2Kg per day of balanced feed.(see below). Now there are only a limited number of these perfectly average horses, so we need to make adjustments for others that are either -underweight or hard working or – larger or smaller in size – high energy or quiet laid-back types – young and growing etc. How do you Know the Weight and Size of the Horse? Knowing the weight of your horse is important, not just for feeding purposes, but also doses of wormers, medications etc. Ideally take them to a place with a scale – sometimes they are at major shows. Alternatively use a weight tape – it is not so accurate as scales but should be close enough for feed calculations. With such a tape you can keep an eye on weight loss and weight gain. If you use scales, then do the weight tape too and note any difference and then adjust for that when you use the tape alone in future. There are calculated formulas using a measurement taken right around the girth (about a hands width back from the elbow). Also measure the distance from the point of the shoulder in a straight line to the point of the buttock on that side. Take the girth x2 and add the length – all in centimetres and then divide by 11877 to get an estimate of the weight of the horse in Kgs. This is a guide as it is not as accurate as scales or even the weight tape. So knowing the weight of your horse, you can then work out how much extra feed he needs everyday. Feeding for Your Horses Weight and Size Good Condition Relaxed Horses Weight Fair pasture Light Work Performance Horse Pony 13hh-14.2hh 150kg 0* 0* Small Horse 15.2hh 450kg 0* 0* 1-2kg Average Horse 16.1hh 500kg 0* 1-2kg 5k Tall Horse 17hh 600kg 2kg 2-3kg 5-6kg Tall Large Build 17hh 700kg 2.5-3kg 3-4kg 6kg *Every horse will need some supplements (especially minerals), so a small handful of feed is necessary for those not on full feeds and as a reward after a work session. This is purely a guide to show the relative differences between horse sizes. Knowing your horse is important – are they: a good grazer, are they regularly worked or left out for a period then brought into work for a period, are they in a light condition and not easy to gain weight, are they inclined to gain weight easily, are they stabled at night -or all of the time, is it winter or summer, how good is the pasture? The decision of how much additional concentrated feed must be based on these individual factors. A thin horse will need building up slowly with additional feed until it reaches a more optimal weight. Overweight horses should not be given extra feed, This is where the human assesses from the basics to provide an individual intake to compensate for all factors. Making adjustments will be necessary. It is also important to note that no more than 2kg of concentrated feed should be given at one time, so daily intake above that must be broken down into smaller feeds. Equine Feed - Balance of Fibre- Fat- Protein and Carbohydrates When giving additional feed it is really important that it is a balanced mix of fibre, protein, fat and carbohydrates. Many owners are reluctant to feed any carbohydrates thinking they will create too much quick energy and make the horse tricky to ride. There is a tendency to feed Cool or low GI feeds which are expensive, often very high in protein and they don’t actually make a horse calmer. Carbohydrates are essential for condition, for some energy and for the key conversion of fat to a slow energy release (ketosis). Pasture will provide the carbohydrates for condition, but horses in work (other than light hacking etc) – or underweight will need some additional carbohydrates. Grain is the main source and processed grains such as extruded barley or crushed oats are ideal. Maize should be avoided as the energy level is too high for most horses, difficult to fully digest and can affect attitudes etc. Check out labels on feeds for addition of maize. Fat can be fed in the form of rice bran, copra meal or oil.,. It provides condition and a slow release of energy. Copra meal will need the addition of Lysine. Fibre comes from the pasture and the addition of chaff… At least 50% of the diet should be fibre (forage – grass – hay – chaff- haylage). Protein should be between 8 to 11% of the diet. Main sources are lucerne chaff, pasture, soybean meal. When looking at labels – crude protein indicates the total amount of protein in a feed . Digestible protein is the actual amount used by the horse. Most natural protein is 75% digestible, so if a feed contains 10% crude protein it will actually have about 7.5% digestible protein. A typical diet for a horse in light condition and some work, needing to gain weight and allowed 24 hour access to average pasture and/or hay will need two additional feeds a day providing an additional total 4-5Kgs, and made up of fibre, fat, protein and carbohydrates. Each feed can be for example: 1 Kg of fibre such as chaff (Lucerne or oat chaff) or fibre-mix, 1 Kg of fat meal (soybean, copra, rice bran), 500gms grain suggested processed (boiled or micronized or extruded) barley. Supplement with a good full formula mineral mix and electrolytes. Oil can be added as part of the fat but keep to a maximum of 200 ml a day and make sure it has been stored in a cool place for no longer than 30 days or it may be rancid. How to Feed Your Horse Economically Horses are expensive animals to keep, and it is important that they are fed correctly with enough nutrition for good health and the ability to do the level of work that is being asked of them. It is convenient and easy to use a premix feed and there is a large selection to choose from. It is advisable to talk to premix manufacturers to get advice on the ideal feed for your particular horse- their condition and required workload need to be taken into account. If those factors change (eg they are turned out) then the feed selected should be changed. There is an old saying that is very appropriate: “Feed according to work done”. Always read the label and the suggested feed weights, check for additives like maize, also unnecessary selenium. Assess, based on the information above, as to how much to feed, many premix feeds suggest high volumes (5-7Kgs per day) and that may not be accurate for your horse. Stick to one premix that is the right mix and don’t add a dipper of this and that or other premixes. Just add chaff or other forage source. It is expensive to over feed. There is a current demand for low GI or Cool feeds, mainly from owners who are worried about containing the energy of their horse. Often this relates to the skill of the rider, an intermittent work pattern ( eg weekends only) , the type of horse ( maybe too sensitive ), a lack of some supplements. Often these horses just don’t need feeding, filling them up with low nutrition bulk or high protein additives like lupins, is a waste of money. Protein is the most expensive part of the diet and being high is very negative to the health of the horse. If the pasture is insufficient then supplement with hay and other forage. A small handful of a mix of a fat meal with necessary supplements will suffice and save a lot of money. Fat is a good safe slow release energy and copra meal or rice bran etc is very economic. For the horse needing to have additional intake there is no doubt premix feeds are the more expensive way to go and are used because many owners don’t have the knowledge, or the time to create a feed from basics. However, when budgets are tight this is the solution. It has been so for the hundreds of years before premix feeds were invented. As discussed above a correct mix can be put together with a source of fibre, fat, protein and carbohydrates, it can easily be adjusted as conditions change. For example, work level changes so reduce the carbohydrates, horse gains too much condition reduce the fat, loses condition increase the fat – maybe add another source. Issue such as tying up will need all grain to be removed from the mix. Always maintain a high level of fibre both in a feed but also on a 24 hour basis with pasture and or hay/ haylage. Even if a premix can be afforded then use that as a base and when necessary adjust by just adding the appropriate ingredient to provide for a particular need. Finally, to do the best for your horse and your budget – take the time to learn and research about feed. Read the labels. talk to experienced professionals and decide if your horse really does need all the stuff in the feed bucket. Keep it simple and that will keep it economic. Feed Size Guide For Good Condition Relaxed Horses
- Grass & pasture New Zealand | Equine hoof & health
Grass and Pasture in New Zealand – The What, Why, How of Grazing and Grass Related Issues for Horses Maintaining Grazing Paddocks for Horses New Zealand is the land of green pastures with many different grasses and plants growing in them. In the main, grass is the best fodder for a horse, it is natural and balanced with fibre, carbohydrates, fats and protein, some minerals and most vitamins. However, some grasses are better than others and only the best of equine dedicated properties can choose which grasses are grown. Many owners have horses on land where there they cannot have a say on the composition of the grazing. Many agistment properties are over grazed and not replenished so they become quite poor in the quality of the pasture, and weeds take over – some of them dangerous to horses. To get the best out of the property you are on, good maintenance will help maximise the quality in terms of nutritional value to the horse. A clear plan should be set up to ensure horses are rotated so paddocks are rested until they recover. As soon as the horse is moved, the area should be mown (that kills many weeds) and harrowed to aerate the soil and spread the poo. Ideally poo should be picked up from small paddocks but sometimes this is not always a possibility so harrowing will prevent it from clumping and souring the soil. Fertilising is a good option too, even just spreading lime can rebalance the pH of the soil and help improve growth. Spraying may be necessary for heavy infestation of persistent weeds, but regular mowing can reduce that need. Note that short grass has a much higher sugar level than long grass so allow the resting paddock to grow long before returning a horse that may be susceptible to high sugar intake which can create more energy, (for more information read the article (hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/carbohydrates-in-grass) or too much weight (for more, read the article ‘Laminitis from Dietary Intake ’). Poor Grasses and Weeds to Avoid for Horses Firstly, nontoxic weeds (eg. blackberry, gorse,dock etc.) will move in on poorly maintained land and take up space, reducing the availability for nutritious grasses. Trampled paddocks can become weedy and poor, as the soil texture is altered and does nor support quality growth. In those conditions supplementing with Vitamin E is needed and a full mineral mix should always be a daily supplement. There are also some weeds and grasses to be avoided as they do have a toxic effect on a horse. Ragwort - (Jacobaea vulgaris) Not normally eaten when growing and flowering in the paddock but becomes palatable when dead and dry, especially when it is in hay. It is important to know if your hay has come from pastures that have ragwort. It create serious liver disease and can often be fatal. Catsear - (Hypochaeris radicata) It looks like dandelion with a rosette of leaves but it has multiple yellow flowers on a green hairy stem. Dandelion has one flower per smooth stem. Eating Catsear can cause neurological symptoms like staggers and/or stringhalt. Paspalum - (Paspalum spp) A common pasture grass which grows well in a wet humid Spring or Summer in New Zealand. The sticky seed heads, if eaten, can cause stagger like symptoms, particularly when the seed heads have turned black. Not usually fatal unless the horse falls into a dangerous area and can’t recover. Removing from the pasture will resolve the condition. Johnson Grass - (Sorghum halepense) Originally eradicated, there is now a new infestation spreading in New Zealand. It is drought resistant and toxic when young and stressed by trampling, climate etc. The cyanide compound that develops in those conditions can be fatal. Tall fescue - (Festuca arundinacea) This is an Australian species that has recently appeared in New Zealand. It causes equine fescue oedema, obvious signs are swelling of the head, neck, chest and abdomen. Depression and loss of appetite can occur. Some cases have proved fatal. Endophyte protected Ryegrass - (Lolium perenne) Commonly used in dairy pastures, the grass is vulnerable to attack by a weevil and so a fungus was developed to protect the young grass. This fungus is called an endophyte. Ingesting this endophyte can cause staggers – a neurological state that makes the horse unrideable and sometime prone to falling over. Kikuyu – (Pennisetum clandestine) A grass found in the upper part of the North Island on roadside verges and often in horse pasture as it spreads easily by long runners. It is not very good for horses as it does not provide good nutrition and squeezes out the grasses that do. In itself it is not toxic but it is an oxalate grass which does have a negative effect on the uptake of calcium in horses. For more information read our article Calcium Supplementation- How this relates to oxalate grasses What are Good Grasses for Horses? A mix of grasses and legumes – leafy to stemmy, is better than one dominant species. A horse will vary what they eat through the seasons, for example they are likely to graze grasses in the winter and spring, and legumes in the summer and autumn. Also different grasses and legumes grow at different rates throughout the year. There is quite a variety of climate and soil types throughout New Zealand so if you do have the opportunity to sow a paddock then check out the available mixes for equine grazing with your local seed supplier – they will have the best options for a horse in your particular area with regard to soil type and climate. Some mixes don’t contain perennial ryegrass but if it does not have the endophyte then it is a good addition to a mix for horse pastures. The core of the best grasses for quality nutrition for grazing horses are: Grasses: Non Endophyte Perennial Ryegrass Timothy Prairie grass Non endophyte Tall fescue Kentucky bluegrass Cocksfoot Legumes/Herbs: Alfalfa Some white clover (limit) Some red clover (limit) Chicory Other grasses and legumes may be added which provide fibre and may suit certain areas prone to drought for example. The seed specialist will advise on these. If the paddocks cannot be ploughed and reseeded, sometimes overseeding can assist to improve the quality of the pasture. Again the advice of a local seed specialist is very useful. Hay and Haylage-Baylage- Is it Good for a Horse? Hay is grass that has been naturally sun dried and baled in the Summer and usually stored for a season before being fed as a supplementary feed to horses that are on poor pasture or stabled. Hay is not as nutritious as fresh green fodder and the longer it is stored the lower the levels of vitamins and minerals. It makes no sense when owners withdraw their horses from green pasture for behaviour reasons and then feed hay, they are still feeding grass. Fresh pasture is high in sugars which still exist in hay. It is the digestion difficulty of the sugars that creates negative behaviour and can be solved withhvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/product-page/digest-rite-sport-2kg so that the horse can stay on the nutritious pasture. Hay should smell fresh, have a slight green colour, be totally dry but not dusty, and with no weeds or mould. It should be cut from quality grasses ideal for horses. Haylage and Baylage is grass that has been cut earlier (and wetter) than hay and wrapped in plastic to encourage fermentation by anaerobic bacteria. Good quality haylage from a reputable source is digestible and palatable to a horse. However it is vital that the wrapping has no holes (not even pinhole) and that in warm conditions is eaten within a few days of opening. This is because once the seal is broken and it is open to any air for too long, botulism will result and that is extremely toxic to horses. Severe colic and even death may result. Grass Sickness or Grass Affected Horses – What is This? Firstly, Grass Sickness is a very serious disease in horses and is mainly prevalent in horses in Great Britain. There have been no recorded instances in New Zealand. A lot of research has been undergone over many years and the causal agent is still unknown, but currently it is thought it may be a soil borne bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Symptoms may start with mild intermittent colic but can also be severe and gut paralysis can develop and is then fatal. Grass Affected Horses is not a veterinary accepted condition or term, it is a uniquely peculiar New Zealand definition which seems to have arisen as a generalism to describe horses that have changed in attitude to be either full of beans or grumpy and touchy. Some will say it comes from “toxins in the grass”. It should be noted that ingestion of toxins makes animals (and people!) sick, they don’t make them full of beans and energy. Bucket loads of toxin binders are poured into horses in an attempt to remove these mythical toxins. The problem truly arises from the horses poor digestion of grass (and feed) sugars and starches, causing mild gut ache as partially digested and fermented feed moves into the hindgut and the lactic acid comes in to break it down. It is easily fixed by feeding a supplement with digestive enzymes which enhance the process in the foregut and relieve the discomfort. The toxin binders on the market are actually a Silicated clay and may help to slow the passage of the feed through the gut. They have been developed overseas primarily for pigs and poultry to remove fusarium moulds from poorly stored and mouldy grains, especially corn. They have never been developed for New Zealand pasture which does not have those moulds. Sadly there is an obsession with these products and a lot of unnecessary clay is being fed to horses, some of whom just feel good and are maybe too bright and energetic for their owners. Maybe Grass Affected Horses should instead be called “Overfed- Underworked Affected horses.” Removing horses from pasture and locking them up and feeding hay is irrational (hay is grass) and unfair on an animal whose natural environment should allow him freedom to roam and graze. In New Zealand we have so much opportunity for horses to live as natural existence as possible. In other parts of the world horses have to be stabled and this is a complex management issue and carried out by experienced professionals. If your horse is difficult to manage talk to a qualified professional – a veterinarian, an experienced trainer, about their symptoms. It may have nothing to do with the grass.
- Equine Help articles | HV hoof care products | Māpua
Below is a list of informative articles and common Equine health problems The art and science off feeding horses. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/the-art-and-science-of-feeding-a-horse What is a balanced diet for horses? www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/what-is-a-balanced-diet-for-horses Mineral Interactions. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/mineral-interactions Feeding for Hoof Health www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/feeding-for-hoof-health Heading 1 Feed your Horse Salt. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/feed-your-horse-salt Minerals and Coat Bleaching. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/minerals-and-coat-bleaching Iron Overload by DR Eleanor Kellon VMD. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/iron-overload-by-dr-eleanor-kellon-vmd Saccharmyces Products- Which one do i feed. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/saccharomyces-products-which-one-do-i-fe Linseed is it safe? www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/linseed-is-it-save Is Lucerne Evil? www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/is-lucerne-evil Pasture Laminitis. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/pasture-laminitis Grass and Pasture in New Zealand www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/grass-pasture-new-zealand Paddock Paradise. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/paddock-paradise Allergies www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/signs-and-management Behaviour and Attitude. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/behaviour-and-attitude Broodmare. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/broodmare Problems with coughs and colds. https://www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/problems-with-coughs-and-colds Feeding for Weight Gain. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/feeding-for-weigh-gain Foaling & Orphan Foals. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/foaling-or Foot Abscess. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/foot-abces Hydration. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/hydration Joints. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/joints Mud Fever. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/mud-fever Care of the Older Horse. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/care-nutrition-for-the-older-horse Internal Parasites. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/internal-parrasites Thrush. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/thrush Selenium. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/selenium Sheath & Udder. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/sheath-udder-cleaning Equine Vital Signs. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/equine-vital-signs Wounds. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/wounds Equine Tendon Injuries. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/tendon-injuries Mycotoxins and Binders. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/toxin-binders-for-horses-and-why 30 facts about your horses feet. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/30-facts-about-horses-feet Effects of sun on Equine skin. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/effects-of-sun-on-equine-skin Horses gut health-the what,why. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/horses-gut-health-the-what-why Kelp for horses & dogs. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/kelp-for-horses-dogs Carbohydrates in grass and effects on behaviour. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/carbohydrates-in-grass EPSM/PSSM/tying up. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/epsm-pssm-tying-up Stringhalt: What to feed. www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/stringhalt-what-to-feed How Much Feed and What to Feed Your Horse www.hvhoofandequinehealthcareproducts.com/how-much-feed-and-what-to-feed-your-hors