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Universal Diet: What do we feed our own horses?

Updated: Mar 15




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We have 9 horses at our place currently. They are all different ages and breeds from a pretraining TB filly who is 3yo, to a 34yo Arab mare, and 3 mid-aged horses/ponies prone to laminitis. They arrived so sensitive to pasture that they had to be dry-lotted - now on 24/7 turnout. If you want to know how this was achieved, let us know and we can make it another newsletter.

The main source of calories for our horses is pasture. We only add feed that is missing from pasture.

They all have slightly different diets, but here is what they all get in common, and why these ingredients are beneficial:


Lucerne

Lucerne, also known as alfalfa, is a nutrient-rich legume. It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent source of energy. Lucerne can aid in maintaining healthy weight, promoting muscle development, and supporting overall growth. We are adding it for its high calcium content benefiting bone health.

We buy straight lucerne hay direct from the farmer. We are buying straight lucerne this season because the horses also have access to abundant pasture - if it was drought and they had less pasture we would buy a grassy lucerne because it would be adding calories that pasture was not providing. All horses get hay in the morning. The younger horses get lucerne chaff in the evening feed. We have recently changed from one brand to another, because it was becoming predictably very dusty, which was a concern for respiratory health. The two geriatric horses get no chaff in their hard feed (a mash), instead they receive more hay in the evening.


Soy Bean Meal

Soy bean meal is a valuable protein source. It is easily digestible. We feed it mainly for essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth - including lysine for topline.

8 horses get one cup of full fat soy bean meal per day. The young TB receives two cups, because she is still growing. Forget expensive topline supplements. Ask your produce store for the cheapest full fat soya bean meal - not a brand name. Your produce store might have access to one that is half the price of another brand for the same thing. When buying unfamiliar brands always check that it is full fat soya bean meal - that it has a batch number and a used by date.


Oats

Oats are widely recognised as a staple feed for horses, and for a good reason. They are an excellent source of energy. Oats also contain essential nutrients, and are highly palatable. Moreover, their moderate protein content contributes to muscle development and repair.

All horses get one cup of whole oats. While it has great nutritional value, we feed it mostly for parasite management. Every evening, huge flocks of corellas descend on our paddocks and break apart all the manures, which exposes any intestinal parasite eggs to UV light from the sun the following morning, which helps break the worm cycle. If you're interested in parasite management read this blog.


All of our horses get 30g of one of our Trace Mixes (we use them interchangeably), supplying optimal copper, zinc and iodine.

10g of either Yea Sacc or Bio Mos for gut health.

30g of Calm Mix, supplying magnesium.

50g of flax/linseed for omega 3s, gut health and coat health.












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