To all the knowledgable horsey people, we have abeautiful farm and we have decided to move my horses to my house where we have now put up fantastic stables. I am not happy with the condition of my horses on what they were being fed at the previous yard. Where can I find a breakdown of what does what and how much your horse should get. I want to tailor each horses feed to get the best results. We want to mix our own feed, its more effort but worth it. I only find overseas sites with this info and it doesnt always apply here in SA. I want my horses to look great, please help!
Renee Swanepoel answered: I would start by buying a good Nutrition book. Something a bit more complex than the average book you would find in the CAN. A really great book, if you can find it is the ‘Nutrient Requirements of Horses: Sixth Revised Edition’, published by National Academies Press in 2007. It is a great technical read and has a lot of nitty gritty as well as the latest info on research that has been done. Do your research properly – if you are going to be responsible for feeding your horse then you had better make sure that you understand how his digestive tract works, and what his body needs. Once you understand how nutrition works, you might have a better understanding as to why your horses may not have looked so great at their old yard.
It is possible to have great looking, well fed healthy horses without having to mix your own feed. If you do decide to do so, I would get in touch with the guys at TUT in Pretoria (Department of Sciences, Equine Studies 012 382 5332 and Email is firstname.lastname@example.org ) ask for the details of the Professor in charge of the Equine Nutrition course and he/she will be able to advise you on a balanced ration that will cater to your horses’ requirements. It is important that you mix a balanced, correct ration, based on sound scientific principles. There are feed companies with their own in-house nutritionists who will also be more than happy to answer questions you may have. You can find them quite easily in the web.
That said, if you decide to use a commercial mix, I would still do as much research as possible, try to look at samples of the ration first if you can. Is it fresh? Is it properly labeled and can you tell what is in it? Is the quality consistent? How easy is it to get hold of? Then do a proper feed analysis, which will tell you exactly how much to feed and how protein to feed. Also very important is your source of roughage – quality is vital. Maintaining your pastures will also play a role in the health and well being of your horses.
The best way of learning, in addition to all the studying, I have found, is whenever you see a horse in really great condition, ask the manager or owner about their feeding principles and what they are feeding, and after a while you will start to notice that there are things that seem to work, and things that do not!
I hope that helps you a bit, if you need more info please do let me know and I will be happy to help!