How to Balance Your Horse’s Diet


by Al Badia

Balancing your horse’s diet is a crucial part of horse care. It will help your horse to maintain a healthy digestive system, and it can also prevent illness and disease. The minerals and vitamins are concentrated so that only a small amount of the ration balancer needs to be fed, typically 1 to 2 pounds a day for a 1,000-pound horse, depending on the product.

Start with forage.

The first step to balancing your horse’s diet is to start with forage. Hay is the most important part of your horse’s diet. If you feed your horse a good quality hay and make sure they have access to it, they should be able to meet their nutritional requirements. However, if you’re not sure what kind of hay you’re feeding your horse, it’s best to have it tested by a professional lab

Have your hay tested.

When you get the hay tested, ask them whether the nutrients are adequate for your horse’s needs and make adjustments as necessary (e.g., adding supplements or changing types of hay).

Choose the appropriate grain to fill in the gaps.

If there are certain nutrients that aren’t readily available in your local area or from local sources (like alfalfa), then you’ll need to supplement their diet with grain containing those specific nutrients (e.g., minerals).

Read feed tags and look for innovative ingredients.

You can also look at innovative ingredients like kelp meal or probiotics when trying to improve nutrient absorption or minimize digestive upset (e.g., diarrhea)


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