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5 Best Fattening Horse Feeds

Different horses have different nutritional needs. An adult horse who does not work, of course, has less nutritional needs than a hard working or draft horse. A growing horse needs the right type of nutrition to develop normally. 

There are many different factors that affect how much a nutritional needs a horse has.

Maintenance needs are Minimum

A large horse has a greater maintenance requirement of energy than a small horse. All horses have a maintenance needs of energy and nutrients like protein, minerals and vitamins. 

Maintenance needs are the needs the horse has when it does not do anything beyond being a horse, that is, when it is not working, giving it or being pregnant, and not increasing or decreasing in the hole and weight. 

The amount of maintenance required by energy depends mainly on how big the horse is, ie its body weight. A large horse of 800 kg has a greater maintenance requirement than a 200 kg pony.

Supplement for work, growth and breeding

If the horse or pony is in full work, it needs the addition of energy, protein, minerals and vitamins for it, as well as growing young horses need additions for growth and drowning stones need extra for their milk production. 

The size of the work supplement varies with how hard work is for the horse. Hard work is meant for example training and competition in the field competition on light and medium level and difficult class jumping, and as hard work are trot and gallop training and competition, elite level competition and distance competition. Forestry and farm work is also considered hard for a lot of hard work.

However, the vast majority of working horses are not practiced hard or very hard, but easy to medium-sized. As easy work, the majority of recreational riding / driving is counted, and as medium work is calculated for example work at riding school or similar. 

If the horse does not have free access to grass, we should weigh the donors to know how much the horse is eating. Otherwise, it is difficult to adjust the feed state up or down when the need arises.

The horse's protein needs

Growing young horses, have a higher protein requirement than most horses. It's because they are going to employ or build something, a growing body, which means that building blocks are needed. It is the protein that is the building blocks. 

The amount of digestible crude protein the horse requires is stated per MJ, so it is related to the energy requirement. 


Among the minerals, calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are particularly important, for example, to build up the skeleton, for muscle work and for the energy metabolism of cells. The horse needs calcium and phosphorus in appropriate proportions to each other, therefore, the Ca / P ratio is usually mentioned. There should always be more Ca than P in the horse-fed state to prevent the skeleton from being decalcified. The C / P ratio should therefore always be at least 1.1 in the total feed state. 

A suitable range for the Ca / P ratio is 1.2-1.8, but if the field feed is Ca-rich, the quota may be higher. In feeding trials, Ca / P ratios up to 6 have been used without observing any negative consequences of this on the horses. However, a prerequisite is that the P requirement is met.

A mineral that the horse also needs is sodium (Na), which is included with chloride (Cl-) in common saline (NaCl). For most horses, the Na need is covered by the horse having access to a salt stone, but horses who sweat a lot also lose a lot of Na through the sweat and may then need to replace that loss by getting extra salt.

Important analysis of the rough feed

No matter what type of feed you have, it's important to know the nutritional content in order to feed properly. This can only be found by analyzing the nutritional content of the food. For example, an analysis of the nutritional content of the fodder shows the amount of energy, protein and minerals in the feed.

An analysis of the roughage is always required. Take any samples directly in the field when harvesting. Photo: Carin Wrange

You can not watch a blanket with the naked eye and decide if it's 8 MJ or 12 MJ in it. If there is no analysis on the lamb feed when you buy it, you can take a sample and send it for analysis in retrospect, but it is a little more difficult. 

You will then take samples (preferably with silage or hay drill) from a few bales, which means that you have to make holes on the plastic when it comes to wrapped cotton lining. You can also sample 3-4 bales as they are opened for feeding. The samples are then collected in a plastic bag and stored in freezer until a sample of a sufficient number of bales has been collected. The samples are then cut into smaller pieces, reassembled and sent for analysis. Testing from only one ball can not be recommended as such a test is not representative of the feed.

Most easily, during harvesting, just before pressing, go diagonally across the field and take samples from randomly selected places. Then you get an analytical response that represents a larger part of the field from which the feed comes from, in a convenient way.

5 Best (affordable) Fattening Horse Feeds are:

1) Natural grass/plants

2) Lupin

3) Quality Hay

4) Vegetable Oil

5) Grains