Feeding Frequency for Horses

Feeding Guidelines

When feeding the horse, there are three general guidelines one should follow.

  1. Feeds should be fed at least twice a day.
  2. Feeds should be fed in equally divided amounts.
  3. Feeds should be fed near to or at the same time each day and at even intervals throughout the day.

Let’s look at the reasons why farm managers, nutritionists, and veterinarians follow these guidelines.

In the wild or out on pasture, horses eat frequently as they graze throughout the …

Grain Feeding for Horses

Feeding Grain

Horses should be provided the grain meal at the same time as feeding forages. Like hay, grain should be fed from a feeder instead of on the ground to decrease feed losses and contamination by urine and feces. Feeding grain on the ground also increases the horse’s consumption of dirt, which may accumulate in the large intestine and eventually cause sand colic or intestinal impactions. Grain can be provided in wooden, plastic, or rubber feed buckets, feed bags, …

Common Feeding Programs for Horses

Class of Horse Determines Nutrient Requirements

Horse Head

The National Research Council (1989) has published a guide to feeding horses entitled “Nutrient Requirements of Horses.” These requirements are based on several factors, including:

  • class of the horse
  • body weight
  • body condition
  • stage of production
  • age
  • activity level
  • growth.

Diet selection for each class or activity level of the horse will depend on the nutrient requirements for that particular class of horse and which ingredients are selected to meet those requirements. Horses should …

Slowing Down the Fast Eating Horse

Encourage aggressive horses to eat slowly.

Horses that eat fast and aggressively should be encouraged to eat more slowly. Horses that bolt their food have a tendency not to chew it before swallowing. There are several management tactics to use to slow aggressive eaters:

  1. Feed in large shallow troughs.
  2. Put bricks or softball-size rocks in the feed trough.
  3. Feed extruded feeds.
  4. Mix in chopped hay.
  5. Mount a wire ring inside the feed trough.

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

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 …

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.

The horse is a unique specie of livestock in that its primary purpose is for pleasure or work. Equine nutritionists have long been concerned with supplying the correct amounts and types of …

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

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

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.


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, vitamins.
  7. Monitor your horse’s body weight and body condition

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 …