Grains for Horses and Their Characteristics

Today grain makes up a significant portion of horses’ diets. The most commonly fed grains are oats, barley, and corn. This article discusses each of these.

The concentrate portion of the ration contains grains that are higher in energy and lower in fiber than roughages. Many grains are fed to horses. The most common are oats, barley, and corn. Wheat and milo are other grains fed to horses.



Oats are the most popular and safest grain to feed to …

Nutrients and Common Feed Sources for Horses

Scopes of Grain


Feeding the horse is not difficult, but to do it properly, it takes knowledge and consistent attention. Nutritionists and owners must constantly evaluate their feeding program to ensure that their horses are receiving proper nutrition.


A nutrient is defined as any feed constituent that is necessary to support life. The following is a list of functions that nutrients perform in the horse’s body:

  • source of energy
  • component of body structure
  • involved in or enhance chemical reactions in the

Common Feeds Fed to Horses

Hay and grain

Common feeds fed to horses are classified into three categories:


Roughages are high in fiber and low in energy.
Roughages include pasture, hay, and silage.


Concentrates are low in fiber and high in energy.
Concentrates include grains and grain by-products.


Supplements are used to balance rations to make up for deficiencies in protein, minerals, and vitamins.
Protein supplements are of plant or animal origin, whereas minerals are organic or inorganic. Most vitamins can be synthesized by the

Factors that Affect Hay Quality

Hay is the most common roughage fed to horses in confinement. The goal of a horse owner is to purchase and feed high quality hay. A good understanding of the factors that affect hay production will help you select high quality hay.

Factors that Affect Hay Quality: 

1. Growing Conditions

Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. Clovers are legumes and may not be as green in color as alfalfa. Red clover can …

Hays for Horses and Their Characteristics

There are many different choices when it comes to types of hay for horses. Each type of hay has certain characteristics that you should be familiar with.

Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. It can be quite expensive, depending on whether it has to be shipped long distances. Timothy must be harvested in the pre- or early-bloom stage to ensure a high nutrient content. The first cutting usually has a higher weed

Horses and Water

Water is the most important nutrient for horses. The average adult horse drinks between 10 and 12 gallons each day. This article contains information on the importance of water to horses.

Water Needs for Horses

Clean, fresh, palatable water should be available to the horse at all times.

A mature, idle horse (500 kg) will require between 10 and 12 gallons of water per day, depending on environmental and/or physiological conditions.

Horses drinking from a Water Tank

Factors that change water consumption:

  1. pregnancy
  2. lactation
  3. work
  4. profuse