A veterinarian gives advice on day-to-day hay, grain and grass sections for adult horses. Indigenous bsci-ch.org

Question: I've relocated my horse, a 5-year-old warmblood gelding, to a brand-new barn. Recently, I discovered out that the amount of hay they feed is an extremely small. In the morning, they obtain one flake, in the evening 2 flakes. They additionally get grain 2 times a day. Throughout the day, the steeds are out in a pasture with no grass for about seven hours. A horse that has actually just arrived had colic critical night, and also I think it's because of an north stomach. Just how much hay does a warmblood need who is worked every work moderately for around an hour?


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Answer: A 5-year-old warmblood, who is operated moderately for an hour a day, needs more than 3 flakes that hay every day. A general dominance is that a equine needs fifty percent a bale of hay every day to accomplish baseline dietary requirements. However depending on the horse and also the hay, the amount might vary.

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The form of hay significantly determines the lot you need to feed the horse. Alfalfa hay, a legume, is well-off in nutrients and also must it is in fed sparingly. Timothy hay, a grass, is not as rich and can be fed in much bigger amounts. Clover and mixed grass hay have actually moderate nutritional value. The moment that castle hay is reduced is additionally a element for the quality. First-cutting hay, in general, has an ext stems and also is not fairly as easy to chew and digest as second cutting.


The scientific way to identify the correct amount of hay because that a details horse is to have the hay analyzed in ~ a laboratory such as Holmes activities for protein, digestible nutrients and also other feed components. Then, you have the right to accurately calculation how numerous pounds that hay your horse should receive.

Mature horses require 10 to 12 percent crude protein in their diets. Plenty of native or prairie grass hays contain just 6 to 8 percent. A fortified grain concentrate have the right to be supplied to complement the ration, raising its energy, protein, vitamin and also mineral content.


If testing the hay is no an alternative or if the hay different from week come week, you must estimate the nutritional top quality of the hay and weigh a sample of it. The starting point because that a 1,000-pound equine is at least 10 pounds of hay every day. Textbooks, together as horse Nutrition and also Feeding through David Frape (available indigenous Blackwell Publishing, 1-800-862-6657) can provide you approximations that nutritional components of various species of hay.

Mature horses at turnout or in really light job-related will maintain weight and health on good quality hay. The is essential to rise or decrease intake to maintain your horse's weight. Measure your equine with a load tape and recording the an outcome on a continuous basis will help you to notice any changes. Equines at various ages and stages of growth, advancement and task have various dietary requirements.


Hay is not just a dietary necessity, it is a physiological one, too. As you have noticed, horses are at raised risk of colic there is no the chewing time and also gut fill detailed with a greatly hay diet. Steeds have developed to eat constantly; therefore, they develop stomach acid constantly. Hay and saliva room alkaline and will act to buffer the stomach acid. Horses are many content when they have the right to nibble practically all the time.

My reference is to feeding your equine as much good quality hay as he will clean increase and include grain only as essential to store him in ~ the right weight.

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Carolyn R. Simmelink, DVM, has been in private steed practice based in Redding, Conn., since 1981. She specialty is educating brand-new owners passionate to administer their steeds with the finest of care. She has competed in horse trials at Training Level and also in dressage shows at 2nd Level. Both of her daughters are associated in Pony Club.