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Special Feeding Needs

The nutritional requirements of a horse will vary depending on many factors. Things like age, stage of development, pregnancy or lactation, and the level of physical activity can all affect the horse’s nutritional needs. A hay-only ration will not be enough to meet the needs of horses with higher requirements. So grains, protein or vitamin/mineral supplements will be required. Ideally, a complete mixed ration should be provided to ensure that the horse has an appropriately balanced diet.

Poor doers and easy doers

Just as people tend to have differing metabolisms, older, inactive horses can vary greatly in how well they maintain their body condition on hay diets. "Poor doers" are unable to maintain their body condition and may require supplementation. By contrast, "easy doers" may put on too much weight on a hay diet and need to have their intake restricted. Various health conditions can also require special attention to diet.

As you probably realise by now, there's no easy "one size fits all" approach to feeding, and your horse's individual circumstances should always be taken into account when designing a diet. Ask your vet or a respected equine retailer for advice on an appropriate diet if your horse has any special needs.