Back to school—do you change how your horse is fed?

Changing Horse Feed Schedules

After Labor Day weekend, our daily routines change. Summer breaks are history; kids young and old are back in school or college. Did you also change your horse feed schedules as well? If so, then you need to take a look at his feeding routine, the type of feed he’s getting, and the amounts fed.

Feeding Schedules

Try to keep feeding times as consistent as possible. If you feed twice a day and need to modify meal times, do so gradually over a couple of days.

Feed Types

Generally when a horse is less active, you need to feed it less. However, there are times when you may need to change the type of bag feed. For example, a performance horse that has recently geared down to light work will not need the higher calorie, higher fat and higher soluble carbohydrates that are found in some performance formulas. In this case, I would recommend a gradual changeover of .25 lbs. per day.

Feed Amounts

Whether it’s from pasture or hay, horses require a diet that is predominately forage because it provides the fiber that is essential to a horse’s gut health. The amount of forage the horse consumes should be consistent and equal a percent of its body weight.

For example, a horse fed for maintenance would consume hay at a rate of 1.5 – 1.75 % of body weight: a horse that weighs 1,000 lbs., then would need to consume 15 to 17.5 lbs. of hay daily to maintain its body weight.

On the other hand, a horse that is worked at an intense level may consume .5 % more hay (in addition to a performance formula). For that same 1,000 lb. performance horse, the difference would be an additional 5 lbs. more hay daily.

No matter the season, Integrity has a feed with the proper nutrients for your horse to have a beautiful coat and the right amount of energy.

Not sure which feed is right for your horse? Please email Dr. Bray with details of their age, health, and lifestyle and he will personally explain which feed is best for your horse and why.