Posted: Apr 14, 2014 | Author: Health4Horses
Just like in humans, the nutritional requirements of a horse will vary depending on its age, stage of development, metabolism and workload. High quality hay might be enough for a less active adult horse, but a hay-only diet will require you to give a vitamin and mineral supplement. You can ask your vet or local retailer about a good quality supplement suitable for your horse.
How much and how often?
A mature horse will eat approximately 2% of its body weight per day, so for an average 500 kg adult horse, that equals around 10 kg of food per day. At least half this amount should be roughage such as hay. Ideally, the hay ration should be split into as many feedings as possible per day so that the horse doesn't overeat at any one feeding.
When is hay not enough?
While feeding hay alone (plus a vitamin and mineral supplement) might be enough for some adult horses, a hay-only diet will not be enough to meet the nutritional requirements of young rapidly growing horses, pregnant or lactating mares, or high-performance animals. In these cases, you will need to supplement their diet with a good quality horse feed.
Your local vet can provide expert advice regarding horse nutrition and how to supplement your horse’s diet.