5 Tips for Selecting Concentrate for Your Horse

Nov 02, 2020

Tara Jo Bina
Countryside Feed Livestock Nutrition
Deciding what grains and supplements your horse needs can be a daunting task. We all want to do the best by our trusted friends, but sometimes it can be difficult to know what is right. Here are a few tips for making these decisions:
  1. Horse diets should primarily be made up of forages Horses should eat between of 1.5 – 2.5% of their body weight in forages every day. For a 1000-pound horse, that makes 15 – 25 pounds of hay per day! This is why there is such an emphasis on hay quality for horses! For more information on the importance of quality hay take a look at Roles of Forages in Hores Diets and Using Your Senses to Find Quality Hay.
  2. Concentrates should supplement forages Forages generally do not provide all of the nutrients required by horses. Some hays or grasses may be lacking in vitamins and minerals, or protein. Feeds can be formulated to provide any combination of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals to fill in nutritional gaps forages may leave open. This is important to keep in mind when selecting the tyep of feed you need.
  3. Know your horse’s energy requirements Good quality hay offered in ample amounts, can generally meet the caloric requirements of most mature horses under a light work load. Growing and pregnant horses as well as high performance horses typically require supplemental energy to maintain their body condition. Some horses are also natrually easy keepers that require less energy to stay healthy.
  4. Understand what type of feed you need Concentrates are typically made of cereal grains like corn, oats, barley, etc. to provide protein and energy. These feeds can be balanced to also provide vitamins and minerals needed by your horse. There are also supplements that are meant to provide mostly vitamins, minerals, specific amino acids, fats, etc. Testing your forages is a great way to determine if a complete grain or supplement best fills in the nutritional gaps.
  5. Know how much to feed Reading feeding directions is very important to know how to properly feed your horse. As a rule of thumb, horses should not be fed more than 0.5% of their body weight inone feeding. When too much concentrate is fed at once, too much acid can be produced in the stomach, leading to problems such as colic, ulcers, and laminiti Underfeeding complete concentrates can also result in the need for extra vitamin and mineral supplementation .
Feeding directions on supplements are also very important to read. Some vitamins and minerals can be toxic if over fed!
Over all, being diligent in reading labels and paying attention to your horse can result in successful feed selection. If you would like to discuss choosing the right feed for your horse, contact you Countryside Feed representative!

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