Best horse feed available with stallion house. Choose the right feed for your horse from the top choices available in 2021.

Horses like all other living beings require a balanced diet along with water which is a very important ingredient of their diet. 

Feeding them can be a wee bit confusing as there are a large number of feeds available and the amount of feed to be given to an equine is dependent on his type, weight, size, age, health and the workload. 

The climate of the place where the animals are living and the locally available produce helps in determining their feed.

When an equine lover enters a shop to buy the best horse feed, he gets thoroughly confused by the varieties available and each proclaiming their benefits. 

The poor owner can’t make up his mind as to which are beneficial out of the whole lot. We are here to help you buy the best horse feed for your horse.

Best Horse Feed - Top 10

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Organic Horse Feed, Oasis Organics Alfalfa Pellets 50lbs Non-GMO
Organic Horse Feed, Oasis Organics Alfalfa Pellets 50lbs Non-GMO
Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Free Balance 1212 Block 40lb
Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Free Balance 1212 Block 40lb
Standlee Hay Company 1175-30101-0-0 Premium Alfalfa Pellet, 40 lb
Standlee Hay Company 1175-30101-0-0 Premium Alfalfa Pellet, 40 lb
Speedibeet - 20kg
Speedibeet - 20kg

Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Free Balance 12 12 Supplement 25lb

Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Free Balance 12 12 Supplement 25lb

Buckeye Nutrition Perform 'N Win 20 lb

Buckeye Nutrition Perform 'N Win 20 lb

TRIBUTE Kalmbach Feeds Essential K for Horse, 50 lb

TRIBUTE Kalmbach Feeds Essential K for Horse, 50 lb

Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Omolene 500 Competition 50lb Textured

Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Omolene 500 Competition 50lb Textured

TRIBUTE Kalm Ultra for Horse, 50 lb

Harrison Howard Horse Grooming Kit 9-Piece Equine Care Series

Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Equine Senior Active 50lb Textured

Yosooo Equine Horse Grooming Kit

Freedom Feeder Mesh Horse Feeder

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Freedom Feeder Mesh Net Full Day Slow Horse Feeder
Freedom Feeder Mesh Net Full Day Slow Horse Feeder
  • FREE FROM MEAL ROUTINES – Freedom Feeder nets are a way for you to be free from meal time routines, helping you and your horse live a happier and healthier life by reducing the anxiety and behavioural issues around meal times
  • FEEDS HORSE ALL DAY – provides a horse with high fibre, low calorie forage throughout the entire day as well as enables you to monitor a horse’s forage consumption.
  • SUPERIOR DURABILITY AND EASY TO USE – Top of the line DuPont nylon netting can hold up to 30 lb. of hay. All horse feeders come with 2 break-away carbines for hanging or tie downs. 
  • These hay blocks are made of very good quality grass and alfalfa hay which have been compressed into very convenient and light weight blocks.
  • Since these have dehydrated hay and grass for longer shelf life, you can drop one into a bucket with 5 quarts of warm water.
  • The hay quickly expands into each flake of moist palatable hay.
  • It is useful for horses of all age groups and the hay is easy to carry around when travelling.
  • It also reduces the need to carry water when travelling as it provides proper hydration and enhances water intake. One of the best horse feed available in the market.

Purina Free Balance Supplement, 25lb

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Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Free Balance 12 12 Supplement 25lb
Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Free Balance 12 12 Supplement 25lb

This is an excellent vitamin and mineral balance supplement for maintenance horses who eat only pasture or hay. One of the Best horse feed available in 2021.

  • Vitamin and mineral fortification
  • Weather resistant
  • Added antioxidants including vitamin E
  • Vitamin stability for bio availability
  • Natural flavouring that horses love. One of the best horse feed available in the market.
  • Fortified vitamins and minerals to support strong bones, immune system and reproductive function
  • Added antioxidants, including vitamin E, to help promote muscle growth, healthy hair coat, skin and hooves
  • Natural flavouring that horses love

The fortification of vitamin and minerals in the concentrated feed helps to maintain strong bones, improve the immune system and better the reproducing function of the animals.

Horse Feed Premium Alfalfa Pellet, 40 lb

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Standlee Hay Company 1175-30101-0-0 Premium Alfalfa Pellet, 40 lb
Standlee Hay Company 1175-30101-0-0 Premium Alfalfa Pellet, 40 lb
  • Great for using around the farm or stable
  • Premium Alfalfa Pellets Forage
  • High Quality
  • Great for using around the farm or stable

These alfalfa cubes are very palatable and help in maintaining a healthy digestion in the animal.

  • They are made of high-quality grass which is harvested at the peak time and is the naturally sun cured to help provide good palatability.
  • They are made with no binders and can be used in all seasons.
  • The cubes are very convenient and easy to store.

Best Horse Feed - Speedibeet, 20kg

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Speedibeet - 20kg
Speedibeet - 20kg
  • Quick Soaking Beet Pulp Flakes For Horses
  • Ready In 10 Minutes Or Less
  • Non-GMO
  • 95% Sugar Free With No Starch
  • Will Soak Up To 5X Its Size in Water In 10 Minutes

This is a quick soaking flake made of beet pulp which is easily digestible. It has high content of soluble fiber and this helps in slowly releasing the energy to the horse.

  • The horse feed is 95% sugar free as it has no starch and is ideal for maintaining the weight in the animals.
  • It soaks up water up to 5 times its size in just 10 minutes.
  • The quick soaking action of the pulp makes it a very good snack for summers and winters as it doesn’t ferment or freeze in either season. One of the best horse feed available 2020.

Buckeye Nutrition Perform 'N Win

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Buckeye Nutrition Perform 'N Win 20 lb.
Buckeye Nutrition Perform 'N Win 20 lb.

This balance is ideal for ponies, miniature horses and easy-keepers.

It is a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids which can be added to the hay or grass which lacks these without giving them excess calories. 

They are beneficial for the overall health of the animal and help in building muscle and the immune response. Best horse feed which is clinically tested available in 2020.

This box of pellets is made of totally whole, fresh and traceable ingredients which are very low starch and sugar and has been fortified with vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

  • It has no corn or molasses.
  • The essential amino acids are the building blocks for muscle development and a strong topline.
  • These pellets provide the essential nutrients without giving excess starch or energy.
  • They have highly digestible fibre which helps to keep the hindgut in motion and releases energy slowly so it lasts the whole day.
  • It is extremely beneficial for animals with low activity or with nutritional disorders.
  • It is good for building a strong immune system and reducing the inflammation in the animal.
  • The horses don’t get colic and remain healthy.

Purina Omolene 500, 50lb Textured

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Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Omolene 500 Competition 50lb Textured
Purina Animal Nutrition Purina Omolene 500 Competition 50lb Textured
  • Purinareg Amplifyreg Nugget
  • Features a blend of fat fermentable ber and soluble carbohydrates forthe equine athlete that needs to perform at their very best over theentire length of an event
  • Purinareg Omolene 500reg Horse Feed contains beet pulp as an excellentsource of fermentable ber for slow release energy
  • Purinareg Omolene 500reg Horse Feed is an incredibly palatable diet which is excellent for horses who are picky eaters
  • Nutrient and calorie dense blend of natural whole grains for lower feeding rates and less risk of digestive upset

This is the best horse feed for the athletic horses because it contains high fat which is a blend of vegetable oil and flaxseed oil. It also has fermentable fiber like shredded loose beet pulp and soluble carbohydrates.

  • All these blends in the pellets provide the energy the animal needs for the length of the events.
  • The fermentable fiber gives slow release energy which is highly beneficial for the athletic and hard-working horses.
  • These pellets have been formulated by the nutritionists.

Tribute Kalmbach Horse Feeds, 50 lb

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TRIBUTE Kalmbach Feeds Essential K for Horse, 50 lb
TRIBUTE Kalmbach Feeds Essential K for Horse, 50 lb
  • Low feeding rate results in low NSC and low calorie intake ideal for horses with metabolic conditions
  • Low cost per day. Dense nutrient concentration makes it the lowest cost method of applying the most critical nutrients
  • Optimal balance of essential amino acids for growth and muscle maintenance
  • With EquiFerm XL micro-encapsulated active dry yeast; acts as both a pre- and pro-biotic, increases total diet digestibility and improves overall gut health

This a good horse feed supplement for growing, performing and working horses. It is a low-calorie pellet which supplies all the essential nutrients like amino acids for muscle building, growth and maintenance and the necessary vitamins which are good antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium.

  • These vitamins help in reducing damage due to aging and boost the immunity.
  • The pellet also has micro amounts of active dry yeast which acts as a pre and probiotic.
  • This small amount of yeast helps to increase the digestibility of the diet and also improves the gut health.
  • The taste of the pellets is good and they enjoy eating them.
  • It helps by giving their coats an amazing shine and fills in the for the nutritional gaps in their diet without making them nervous or hyper active.

Tribute Kalm Ultra for Horse, 50 lb

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TRIBUTE Kalm Ultra for Horse, 50 lb
TRIBUTE Kalm Ultra for Horse, 50 lb
  • High fat for calm performances without loss of energy or condition
  • Organic minerals replenish body tissue stores depleted during exercise
  • Essential nutrients: amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants for healthy hair coats, muscle maintenance and boosted immunity
  • With EquiFerm XL microencapsulated active dry yeast; acts as both a pre- and probiotic, increases total diet digestibility and improves overall gut health

These feeds are high in fat and have digestible fibre which is healthy for the horses and gives them sustainable energy. These horse feeds are for performance horses and have organic minerals and direct-fed microbial s. 

They also have all the essential amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants which help in muscle building and maintenance and for a healthy coat.

Purina Equine Senior Active, 50lb Textured

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Purina Equine Senior Active 50lb Textured
Purina Equine Senior Active 50lb Textured
  • Amplifyreg Nugget provides higherfat from flax seed rice bran andvegetable oil
  • ActivAgetrade prebiotic to supportimmune function
  • High fat and fiber formula withcontrolled starch and sugar to helpmaintain blood sugar levels
  • Contains Vitamin E to provideadditional support for a healthyimmune system
  • Controlled starch and sugar

These are concentrated horse feeds and extruded nuggets which are useful for the active senior horses who have good teeth and don’t have digestion and chewing issues.

It has high fat and fibre along with a controlled starch and sugar combination which dispenses all the vitamins and minerals which the animal needs to stay fit, active and healthy.

  • It also maintains their bodies and keeps them active in the years to come. 
  • The equines love its taste.

Purina Strategy Healthy Edge, 50lb Textured

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Purina Strategy Healthy Edge 50lb Textured
Purina Strategy Healthy Edge 50lb Textured
  • Purinareg Amplifyreg Nugget
  • Purinareg Outlastreg Supplement Added to Support Proper Gastric pH
  • Outlastreg supplement contains a unique blend of ingredients that are designed to support gastric balance giving you and your horse the confidence to perform
  • Controlled Sugars and Starch approximately 18 total sugars and starch
  • Formulated with digestible fiber sources including beet pulp to support digestive health and partially replace forage in the diet if needed to extend your hay or pasture

This is the first commercial horse feed. It has been used for a billion feedings and is still of very high quality. It has maintained its standard of being the most convenient and value-oriented feed. One of the best horse feed available in the market.

It is an excellent feed for all types of horses and for all stages of their life. It is beneficial for performance, maintenance, breeding or growing horses.

The formula has been formulated by the nutritionists and has high quality standards. Excellent for the animals and keeps them in an amazing condition with a lean body and shiny coats.

Natural Vet Bug Check Horse Feed

Currently Unavailable*

It contains Lacto-SACC pro-biotics which help in maintaining a healthy gut of the animal. Since it contains less lacto acid it helps to keep the bugs away from the animal.

  • As this is a chemical free supplement there is no problem of the flies around the horses.
  • It also improves the integrity of the skin barrier.
  • The dried Brewer’s yeast is excellent for maintaining a healthy gut.
  • The grape seed meal, B1 and garlic help in maintaining a good immune system and also in strengthening the skin.
  • The coat of the animal is healthy and shining not only from the outside but also from the inside.

Feed is a necessity for all living beings, whether they are humans, animals or plants. Each needs nutrition to survive, grow and be useful to the planet. 

Good sustainable nutrition is required for productive work which may be done by animals or humans. Feed is one factor which binds people with each other. It helps them to bind with animals and plants too. 

Your pet will look with wanting eyes at the person whom he knows will feed him.

Good nutritious feed helps to build the stamina, energy levels and keeps the body in a healthy condition. Whether it’s a healthy breakfast or a mid-morning snack they all go towards making us fit and healthy. 

Over eating and not following routines or meal times can cause indigestion not only in humans but also in animals. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a routine and follow it to reap it’s benefits.

Nutritional Requirements

Horses need a very balanced diet which includes energy giving feeds like carbohydrates and fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Water is also a very important nutrient of their diet.

Energy is derived from fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Fats give twice as much calories as provided by carbs, which are further classified as simple and complex carbohydrates, namely starch and sugar are simple while fibres are complex carbohydrates.

horse nutritional needs

Since fibre rich diet like hay takes longer to get digested and does not provide more energy, a mix of cereals or grain mixes are richer in starch and sugar therefore they yield more energy or calories per unit weight.

Proteins are not good energy providers and are not ideal as energy rich feeds for the animals but they are an essential part of the diet as they are the building blocks which are needed for making structural tissue like the skin and muscle. 

They are also needed for the hormones and the enzymes.

Minerals are found in large quantities in forages or their pastures but they still require supplements of macro minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium chloride, potassium magnesium and sulphur.

  • Even micro minerals like zinc, copper and selenium should be included as they are not available in their hay.
  • Vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E are also needed by horses.
  • They are found in good quantities in their pasture. Vitamin D is obtained by exposure to sunlight and is synthesised by their skin.
  • The micro-organisms in the digestive tract of the horses synthesizes vitamin B complex and vitamin K therefore they don’t require supplements of these.

Unlike humans, horses can synthesis vitamin C, therefore they don’t require any supplementation of this vitamin

Types of categories - Horse Feed

horse Feed can be broadly categorized into two main types – roughage and concentrates.

Roughage’s include the hay, alfalfa grass or the Bermuda grass, normal locally available grass in the pastures. The pastures are best for the animal’s digestive system and they tend to consume large quantities of it.

Concentrates are generally graining and cereals used to feed the horses once or twice daily. 

Earlier times each grain was fed separately like the oats, barley, corn or bran to the animals, but these days with a large number of companies making concentrate mixtures which have been designed by nutritionists and then specifically tested to help achieve certain goals.

It’s of great importance to get the roughage and concentrate ratio correct when feeding the animals.

  • Horses with little or no work can survive on roughage along with some vitamins and mineral supplements if the hay they are being fed is not green otherwise the pasture grass is sufficient for them.
  • Work horses, growing, breeding or old horses need to be fed concentrates along with the roughage. The roughage should be 60 % of the diet always.
  • Overweight horses should be fed in a slow feeder so that they don’t over eat and can keep nibbling on the whole day.

There are different types of concentrates available for the horses but a general rule that one can follow is not to pick up cheap feeds as these may not be nutritionally balanced and have poor formulations which can be dangerous for the horses. 

Therefore, it is better not to be penny wise and pound foolish.

A good brand will have a good balance of vitamins and minerals along with the nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

horse roughage

Breeding mixes

These generally have 14-16% protein and large amounts of carbohydrates in the form of corn.

  • These mixes are specially designed for breeding horses – pregnant or lactating mares and growing horses.

The high content of protein and energy are beneficial for the young foal to grow into a horse and for the pregnant mare to nurture her growing foal.

Show or performance mixes

They also have high protein content about 13-14% and even the energy content is high but they are different from breeding mixes because here the carbohydrate is combined with fats which cause the energy to release slowly and no heating up energy.

  • These are highly useful for horses doing heavy work as they provide the necessary protein needed for muscle building, repair and toning.
  • The slow releasing energy is beneficial for the hard work done by the animal as it does not make it over energetic and hyper active.

Cool mixes

These contain mainly fats instead of carbohydrates and very less protein around 10-12%.

Even foals aged 5-8 years who do light work can be given this horse feed.

Sweet mixes

The sweet feed contains molasses, corn, oats and mineral supplements. It is given as per the work the animal does.

  • As it is rich in sugar it tends to give a sugary high to the animal.
  • After the animal has been fed with this customized horse feed, he should be made to do active work so that he can burn out the high sugar in his body.
  • This diet is given as per the work regimen of the animal.


Choose those supplements only which are required for you horse. 

Do not fall for the sales talk about the benefits of supplements because they can interfere with the natural diet of the equine and unbalance the feed.

  • If the feed is correctly balanced general vitamins and minerals are not required.
  • They are required if the hay or the grazing is not of good quality.


This supplement can be mixed with the regular horse feed of the animals as it covers the very basic health issues.

Soya oil

it is an alternative supplement which is used for binding the horse feed as it is more beneficial because it has less sugar as compared to molasses. 

When mixed with the horse feed it gives it a coarser and drier texture

Various Types of Energy Best Horse Feeds

Beet pulp

This can be served wet or dry, but equine owners prefer to soak it in fresh water for 12 hours before feeding the animals.

  • This pulp is rich in proteins, carbohydrates and is a rich source of energy.
  • Generally used for horses who are underweight or are doing heavy work.

Rice bran

  • It has very high energy content as it is made of carbohydrates, phosphorus and vitamin E.
  • This is the bulk horse feed and helps to improve their performance, endurance and gain weight.

Cereal grains

These grains are rich in starch and also provide vitamins, proteins and fatty acids to the animals.

  • They give more energy to the horse and enhance his performance as they are easy to digest.
  • They are ideal for horses which are highly athletic.


This grain has very high energy content and a very specific amount should be fed to the horse each day because any small change in the quantity of barley can lead to significant consequences in the diet of the animal.

This horse feed is not easily digested by the animal therefore a correct and precise amount needs to be added to the bulky feeds like hay or beet pulp.


  • It is a good protein supplement which can be mixed with other diets.
  • It is very beneficial for the digestive system as it contains large amounts of omega -3 fatty acids, which assist the microbes in the large intestine.
  • With the increase in the microbial population in the large intestine the animal is able to digest his feed better and more easily, thus leading to be less colicky.


Oats is a very popular grain in the horse feed as it has low energy content.

  • They are generally added to increase the bulk of the feed.
  • They have low nutritional value and are not the main feed of the animal.
  • They are useful to increase the quantity of the feed.


It is a good source of carbohydrate for the horse, but generally it is very hard and animals with dental problems find it difficult to chew.

  • Generally broken or cracked corn kernels are added to the diet and it becomes easier to chew.
  • The ideal horse feed would be to mix this grain with other grains like oats or barley.


These are available in different combinations and are used for different needs of the animal.

  • They are generally made for foals, pregnant mares or older horses.
  • They are generally a mixture of corn, supplements and grains, but molasses is added to improve the taste as well as for binding the pellets.


They are mainly of two types- hay and pasture or grass.


A main source of horse feed in the diet and it provides the necessary bulk to the diet.

  • It is very useful as it also provides the nutrition to the animal. I
  • t can be meadow hay or seed hay.
  • Dark, moldy and dusty hay should be avoided, as it should clean and with a sweet smell.


Grass is a very good feed source for horses.

  • It is their main source and offers all the nutrients the animal needs in its diet.
  • It provides for the bulk in its diet and gives the required amount of calcium to the animal.
  • It should be included daily in the diet.

Grazing on pastures keeps the animal healthy.


The grass is cut and dried and is an alternative to the hay provided in the diet of the animal.

  • It provides the same benefits as the other roughages and also gives the required calcium and protein the animal needs.
  • It is normally used for the bulk feed and preferably should be mixed with other horse feeds and not given alone.

Hay cubes

These cubes are made with hay which is dried, chopped and compressed. Generally, it is used for horses who can’t tolerate hay dust.

  • Since the hay in the cubes is very hard there are chances of the animal choking on them.
  • They are best used by soaking and then breaking them, this makes it more palatable.
  • They can replace the normal hay once in a while.


This is a mixture of grass, straw, alfalfa, molasses, and rapeseed oil.

  • It is good for slowing down their eating and can be used as a replacement for hay.
  • It has high fibre and is quite palatable.
  • Vitamins and minerals can be added to it to provide a complete feed to the animal.


Horses need at least 12 gallons of fresh water every day.

  • It is a very important part of their diet and helps in keeping them hydrated as well as aids digestion of feed.
  • Animals who feed on pastures require less water as compared to those eating hay.

Treats for the Horses

Treats are relished by the horses and it is good for them. They can be given whole fruits with their skin and rind.

They enjoy fruit and vegetables like apples, carrots, watermelons, apricots without the pit, bananas, berries, cherries, pitted dates, raisins, grapefruit, lettuce, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, roasted peanuts sweet potatoes, pineapple squash and tangerines.


Amount of Horse Feed

The idiom ‘Eats like a horse’ is not an under-statement. Horses eat a lot and all the time.

  • There have to certain set rules as to how much can he be allowed to eat and what needs to be fed and the quantity of the supplements or concentrates.
  • These rules if followed correctly will lead to maintaining a healthy animal.

Horses are meant to eat hay or good amount of roughage. Their digestive system is so designed that it gets all its nutrition from the grass.

Pastures are also good enough to keep the animals healthy as most of the nutrition is available in the stalks of the grass.

  1. A healthy horse should eat 1-2 percent of its body weight as roughage every day. Grazing helps to keep them healthy. Those horses who don’t graze much and remain in the stable most of the time should have hay speed out in front of them so that they can nibble whenever they want, take a break and snooze, and then start eating again. This way their systems are always has some amount of roughage moving.
  2. Since every horse has different requirements, therefore their work pattern and size should be kept into account when you are deciding how much feed is to be given.
  3. Animals who graze on good green pastures don’t need much hay but if green pastures are not available good amount of hay is required especially during the cold winter months.
  4. If you are feeding grain to the animal then it’s best to start with small quantities and find the right balance of grain, hay and pasture.
  5. Whenever there is a change in the feed or the feeding pattern make sure its done slowly and in small quantities so that the animal doesn’t get colicky. Best is to replace only 25 % of the current feed with the new one so that by the end of 10 days the animal is eating a totally new diet.
  6. Measurement of the feed is very important and it should be as per the weight of the horse. A kitchen scale can be used to measure out the feed using scoops or coffee can.
  7. A thousand-pound horse can eat fifteen to twenty pounds of hay in a day.
  8. Avoid taking a horse out for exercise immediately after a big meal, because a full stomach gives their lungs less room to work. It can also make the animal colicky as the blood flow gets diverted from the stomach to rest of the body. Similarly, after exercise wait for at least some time for the animal to cool down before feeding it.
  9. It is very important to stick to a routine when you feed them as they have accurate internal clocks. They tend to get colicky if the meal times vary. Thus, consistency in meal times is important.
  • Thus, an ideal diet of a horse ridden every day for about an hour should be 2- 5 pounds of concentrate and 15-20 pounds of hay.
  • Ensure that the animals never go without feed for more than eight hours at a stretch.

Feeding Errors

Feeding horses is fun and since they enjoy eating their meals one can easily make mistakes. Certain mistakes occur very often and can be avoided with little care and planning.

  1. Dangerous plants

Wheat and rice bran can be harmful when added to the equine diet. They can cause mineral imbalances. Even lawn clippings and garden refuse if thrown over the fence for the horses can be toxic for the animals. There are certain plants which one must remove from the pastures and yards as they can be deadly for the animals. Try to keep the animal away from these plants and make sure they don’t enter the hay you are feeding him. Some of them are listed below-

  1. Deadly Nightshade
  2. Buttercups
  3. Bracken fern
  4. Horse tails
  5. Pigweed
  6. Lily of the valley
  7. Milkweed
  8. Red Maple

These plants can cause severe problems in the animals if they enter its hay or feed. Some can cause poisoning and even lead to death.

  1. Overfeeding

Horses after dogs are man’s best companions and like all are good friends, we love feeding them.

  • Most of the time this love of feeding can lead to excess feed and overfeeding has a lot of problems, the major problem being obesity like in humans too.
  • Most horses need a very simple diet of hay or good pastures.
  • The lush green grass provides most of the nutritional requirements, but those animals on hay as roughage need supplements and concentrates in a balanced amount so that they get all their nutrition.
  • Generally overfeeding happens in young horses as they look lovely when they are plump and need to grow slowly and steadily so that there aren’t any joint malfunctions.

They need a controlled diet along with ample amount of exercise so that they remain lean and fit.

  1. Underfeeding

A work horse needs much more nutrition than an ordinary horse. He needs to look lean but not skinny.

  • Even old horses need proper nutrition.
  • If the hay provided is not sufficient then it needs to be supplemented with concentrates.
  • Hay or grass should be the main bulk of the feed.

By giving less hay or grass and more concentrates or grains can cause the animal to get colicky. Specially developed feed for senior horses should be fed to the older horses as their digestion is slower and they may not be able to digest regular feed.  

  1. Insufficient pastures

Pastures which look lush green from a distance may not necessarily have rich green grass.

  • The lush green appearance of the pasture maybe due to large number of weeds present in it.
  • These weeds make it very hard for the horse to find good nutritious grass to eat.

Once the horses start eating these toxic and less nutritional weeds it can cause many health issues.

  1. Poor quality hay

Good quality hay is a must for the animals as a lower quality one may be cheaper but you may land up being penny wise, pound foolish.

  • Bad quality hay can cause the animal to get colicky and also it maybe nutritionally deficient.
  • Moldy and dusty hay can be harmful for the lungs of the horses as they tend to breath in the hay.
  1. Measuring by volume

Hay and concentrates should be measured and given to the animal by their weight and not by the volume.

  • Body weight is used for calculating the amount of feed to be given. Many a time the bales of hay can’t be weighed because of their size and volume.
  • The weight of the concentrates of grain should also be taken into account as this is also to be given as per the weight of the animal.

For convenience a large scoop can be used, but make sure it is equivalent to the weight of the feed you have calculated for the horse.

  1. Excess supplements
  • Adding more supplements to the diet can cause mineral and vitamin imbalances.
  • Over supplementing can become toxic for the animals as they have to be added to the hay or other feeds which is eaten in large quantities.

Therefore, care should be taken when adding vitamins and minerals.


  1. Ignoring dental states

Older horses tend to lose teeth often and this can lead to problems with their chewing.

  • They are not able to take in all their nutritional requirements thus leading to health issues.
  • Some older ones develop hooks and sharp edges on their teeth and this causes them a lot of pain while chewing their feed.

Therefore, dental care is a must.

  1. No parasite controls

Internal parasites also feed on the nutrition of the animal and can damage the internal organs. A regular deworming is a must to remove the parasites.

  • Not enough water

Water the elixir of life is very essential for animals too. Clean and lots of water are a must to remain hydrated especially those horses feeding on hay.

  • Pastures provide water through the wet grass and make digestion easier.
  • Very cold water is not liked by the animals and it causes impaction colic in them.
  • Ideally one should have a trough heater or add hot water to the trough so that the animal is able to drink.

This ensures that the animals remain hydrated in the cold winter months.

  • Inadequate amount of salt

It is important to feed salt to the animal as it helps in maintaining the electrolyte balance of the body. Owners put salt blocks or loose salt in the feed, but care should be taken that one doesn’t put more than the required amount.


  • Deficiency of Nutrients

Deficiencies in diet are not easy to identify but there are some parameters which can help us in knowing which common ones are lacking in the diet.

  1. If the horse is getting dehydrated then he is drinking less water. Ensure that he has a constant supply of water.
  2. If the coat of the animal and his hooves are not of good quality and are not hard and shiny, it is an indication that the animal lacks protein in his diet. Since these tissues have a rapid turnover rate protein are required for their maintenance and building of muscle.
  3. If the animal is losing weight and lacks energy then he is deficient in feed supplements and calorie rich diet is required.
  4. Other deficiency like those of vitamins and minerals is very hard to determine. Calcium deficiency is also very difficult to determine as the calcium is removed from the bones to maintain the blood calcium levels. It is best to take an x-ray to find out the bone density.
  5. The best is to determine the nutrition status of the animal by visiting a nutritionist to help in doing a dietary evaluation and then he or she could recommend the tests needed. Generally, feed stores and companies have people who are trained in nutrition for horses, but there are also independent equine nutritionists with degrees in equine nutrition. They can offer you an unbiased view and help you in forming the ration proportion for the animals.

Thus, before you decide on what and how to feed your horse it is important to check out the body condition of the animal.

Whether their neck is firm, ribs are covered but can be felt easily, their rump is nice and rounded and not bulging or flattened and the back is in good shape. If these conditions are met then a low calorie, low protein and fibrous feed is biologically and behaviourally appropriate for the animal. A god quality pasture can by itself be enough to maintain the health of the horses.

About the Author


Harsh has worked in publishing and marketing since 2012. He started his career at Journal and has since worked and written for several top equestrian publications and Technology websites. Most recently, he worked in corporate marketing with a focus on strategic and digital planning. A lifelong dog, & horse owner, Harsh currently writes for A website that Provides complete details of products like saddle, girth etc which can provide maximum comfort to your horse. He is also a certified therapeutic riding instructor and previously managed the care and training of a 12-horse therapy herd. Harsh holds a B.SC in Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism

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