All About Basic Horse Nutrition Advice

Horse Nutrition – In order to get the best performance possible out of a horse, proper nutrition is absolutely essential. Whether the horse is training for competitive riding or just leisure riding, good horse nutrition helps create and maintain a healthy horse. What basic things must each horse owner take into account to help create a healthy diet?

There is one fruit and one vegetable that must be a staple of every horse’s diet. Carrots are important as a balancing food in the diet and can help the horse maintain his eyesight into old age. Even more important than that are the apples. Apples have long been a favorite of horses and for good reason. Whether red or granny smith, apples help make a healthy horse.

Obviously, horse feed is an important aspect of each horse’s diet. There are plenty of good horse foods out on the market, so finding a good one is not much of a challenge. These should be filled with oats, grains, and oils in order to help the horse remain healthy. Simply providing this horse feed is not enough, though. Good horse owners add a little something to the bucket in order to provide the best for their animal.

Cod liver oil should be mixed into the food each time it is served. This nutritious oil is full of vitamins, which help supplement the horse’s diet. In addition to that, molasses can be mixed in with dry horse feed.

In order to truly be healthy, horse nutrition need their fair share of salt. Since it is not feasible to salt their food, horse owners need to think of other options. Most tack shops sell a horse lick, which is designed especially for horses. It is important to get the horse version, as there are also salt licks designed for cattle.

One secret food can help horses retain their energy. If you put your horse through a lot of activity during the day, it will undoubtedly get tired. In order to rejuvenate the horse, an owner must use a combination of foods. One of the best foods for this energy boost is the red beet. Horses won’t particularly like beets unless they are first soaked in water. This healthy food is full of energy and nutrients that every active horse needs, though.

One question that many horse owners have is about the oats that they feed the horse. Oats are a valuable part of any horse’s diet, but horses can not live on oats alone. Since oats have a highly unbalanced level of calcium and phosphorous, they must be combined with hay or alfalfa sprouts in order to keep the horse healthy. Added as a supplement, oats can be good for horses, though.

Horse Nutritional Requirements: What Is the Right Proportion?

Everyone needs good nutrition. Your horse is no exception. Horse nutritional requirements should be given a high priority because bad nutrition leads to stress, poor performance, dulling of the coat and susceptibility to disease.

We just have to think that our nutritional needs as human beings are similarly the same as with horse nutrition but with some variations great and small. Great because they’re bigger than us and small because some ingredients like trace minerals that are always given in small doses. What are the four basic food groups? They are, carbohydrates to make us go, proteins to make us grow, vitamins and minerals to make us glow. The same principles apply in preparing for the horse’s nutritional requirements.

The bone of contention is always on the correct proportion for each component. Almost any veterinarian that is worth his salt, has something to say about the proper nutritional requirements. This is just natural because situations are as varied as the fish on the sea. Although the NRC or the National Research Council has come up with respectable guidelines, they are just guidelines as the title suggests. Horses in some particular situations may require more carbohydrates because of longer working or training hours. Young, growing horses need more protein. The more varied the sources of nutrients the better for the horse.

Protein requirements may differ mostly in connection with the horse’s age and activities. Young horses and those in training need more protein because they need to regenerate body tissues faster than older and more docile horses. Indiscriminate use of proteins would not help the cause of the horses if not given according to their needs. The presence of Amino acids should be the top concern. Amino acids are the basic templates in manufacturing the nutrients that horses needs in the development of body tissues and at the same time maintaining it.

Vitamins A,D,E among others are primarily important in horse nutrition. The two C’s in minerals calcium and copper together with the S’s salt and selenium are very important. Together with zinc and phosphorous they round up the mineral requirements. Preparing horse nutritional requirements requires a field of expertise.

The need for an ample supply of fresh water must not be overlooked.

As always, diet and feed stuffs may lack in essential nutrition so it is always good to provide a high quality, complete supplement to ensure no deficiencies.

How to Feed Your Horse Nutrition Food

A lot of care and attention is spent on feeding a horse. For a new horse owner, choosing feeds can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately, years of horse ownership has simplified the process a little bit and a horse owner can find a wealth of information on nutrition starting with their equine veterinarian.

Equine nutritionists generally break down a horse’s nutrition into six essential areas:


Water should be your very first concern when thinking about horse nutrition. Water regulates every system in a horse’s body and without water or if the water has dangerous ingredients in it, a horse can become dehydrated and experience serious and debilitating conditions. A horse will need to take enough water to match its activities level. A working horse and a horse kept for leisure will have different water intake requirement. Horses sweat much like humans do and that water must be replaced.


This nutrient is found in every food substance that grows on earth from cattle to dandelions. Even though humans generally associate protein with meat or dairy, a horse will get its protein from vegetable sources. Alfalfa, especially the second and third cut, provides excellent protein.

Protein is an important part of a horse’s diet as it aids muscle development, especially so for young horses. A great sign that a horse might not be getting enough protein is the development of a rough coat of hair.


This nutrient is the basic energy unit that you will find in most forms of horse feed. Carbohydrates are easily digestible and provide ready and quick energy. A horse left to graze all day will consume all its necessary carbohydrates, but since most horses do not have this luxury, they must be fed a grain such as corn, oats, or barley.

It is important to note that the amount of carbohydrates that a horse consumes should be regulated. A horse could develop colic if there is a sudden increase in carbohydrates such as sugar in their feed.


While most fats are not present in large quantities in a horse’s natural diet, they do have nutritional value. Additional fat can be added to your horse diet if the feed does not provide enough energy. Fat should be given only in limited quantities however to prevent disease and obesity. A horse’s body has simply not developed to handle a large amount of fat, so a horse owner must be careful when adding it to avoid colic or gastrointestinal distress in their animal.


Because we feed horses foods other than their natural foraged diet, their feed will lack certain essential vitamins. Most horse owners love their horses so much and would not bear to see their quality if life suffer as a result of insufficient vitamins and minerals intake.

One of the ways to find out if your horse is having the required vitamins is to examine the food it consumes. Diets high in grains are likely not vitamin heavy and horses on these diets, as well as horses under stress may need extra vitamin supplementation. You can seek advice from your veterinarian to decide the types of vitamins and supplements that are suitable for your horse.

Read: The Right Horse Grooming Tools – How to Get Started


Minerals are necessary for the correct growth and regeneration of many parts of the body. These minerals are often present in forage, but again may be lacking in a high-grain diet. A horse lacking in minerals may not show many overt signs, but its health may slowly deteriorate

Proper horse nutrition is difficult to attain, because it requires meticulous planning and constant attention to detail. Horses need lots of different things in order to thrive, so owners must always be conscious of new trends in the horse industry.

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