Water Intake and Electrolyte Supplementation for Horses

Of the five basic nutrient groups – protein, carbohydrates and fats (energy sources), water, minerals and vitamins – water is the most essential to your horse.


Research has clearly shown that horses deprived of water for three to four days will not consume feed. A minor reduction in water intake or an increase in sweat loss will eventually cause dehydration, which can result in decreased performance, shock and possibly death.

This publication will clarify the water requirements of horses …

Digestive System of the Horse

In order to provide a horse with the proper nutrients it needs to survive, we must first understand the horse’s digestive system and how it functions. This publication will walk you through each part of the horse’s digestive system and provides further feeding management guidelines.


Digestive System of the Horse and Feeding Management

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Nutritional Concerns for Exercising Horses

Exercise can place large nutrient demands on the horse, and intense management is necessary to ensure adequate intakes of balanced rations for exercising horses. This article explains the different types of exercise and how the nutritional requirements of horses change based on age, type and degree of exercise.

Dr. David W. Freeman, Oklahoma Extension Equine Specialist

The horse is a unique specie of livestock in that its primary purpose is for pleasure or work. Equine nutritionists have long been concerned …

Body Condition and Reproductive Performance of Broodmares

The body condition scoring system is a scientific method used to evaluate the condition of the horse based on the amount of fat on the horse’s body. This article explains the different areas to evaluate when scoring a horse’s body condition, as well as details to consider when scoring a horse

David W. Freeman, OSU Extension Equine Specialist 

Body condition refers to the amount of fat on a horse’s body. Fat is tissue that serves to store energy and is …

Top Ten Nutrition Tips for Your Horse

Adequate nutrition is one of the main components in the health of a horse. This article provides 10 nutritional tips to keep your horse healthy.

Marcia Hathaway, PhD, University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science 


Mares and foals grazing in pasture.


Top 10 Nutrition Tips

  1. Always supply unlimited quantities of clean, fresh water.
  2. Maximize forage intake.
  3. Minimize concentrate consumption.
  4. The Calcium to Phosphorous ratio (Ca:P) should be between 3:1 to 1:1.
  5. Supplement minerals and vitamins.
  6. Balance a horse’s ration in the following order: energy, protein, minerals,

Feeding the Newborn Foal

Getting a live foal on the ground is only half the battle in getting the baby off to a good start. The second half is the foal’s consumption of colostrum, the dam’s first milk.


Colostrum: The Foal’s Most Important Meal 

Mare and foal

Colostrum is the first milk secreted by the mare immediately before foaling and up to 24 hours after foaling. It contains extremely high levels of antibodies, which are large protein molecules capable of transmitting immunity against disease. Colostrum is nature’s …

Feeding Management of the Equine

Equine digestive disorders, such as colic and laminitis, can affect any horse owner. Understanding the distinctive digestive anatomy of the horse that can lead to these disorders, however, can help horse owners to better manage their feeding program. This article explains the anatomical peculiarities of the horse’s digestive tract, as well as feeding management steps horse owners can take to help prevent digestive disasters. 

David W. Freeman, Extension Equine Specialist

Often, it is the way rations are fed rather than …

Feeding Orphan Foals

Foals can be orphaned by a variety of situations: sickness, death, poor milk production and injury to, or disease of, the mare’s udder. Although colostrum consumption within the first 15 hours of life is critical to the foal’s survival, proper nutrition later is equally important to the foal’s growth.

Bob Mowrey, Extension Horse Commodity Coordinator, North Carolina State University. 



Horsemen faced with raising an orphan foal have two possibilities for providing adequate nutrients. These solutions include bonding the foal to …

Cold Weather Feeding Practices for Horses

As the temperatures begin to fall in the early winter months, horses require additional energy to stay warm. This additional energy requirement usually calls for changes or alterations in feeding practices. This article explains how cold weather can impact your horse and what you can do to make your winter feeding program more efficient.


Prepared by Dr. Robert A. Mowrey, Extension Horse Husbandry Specialist

The Impact of Cold Weather

During cold weather, the horse requires additional energy to maintain its

Nutritional Considerations for Broodmares

The broodmare owner should supply the amount and balance of nutrients that will aid in maximum conception rates and best meet the needs during gestation and lactation. This article provides information on body condition and nutritional needs of broodmares in different stages of gestation and lactation. 

David W. Freeman, Extension Equine Specialist

Mare and Foal

The success of any breeding program depends partially on correct nutritional management of broodmares. Past history reveals the common use of many different nutritional management practices for broodmares. …