Providing a properly balanced equine diet is one of the most crucial parts of horse ownership, yet its complexity means it is frequently misunderstood or even overlooked. Whether you’re the only one who cares for your horse or you rely on boarding facility staff to help, you should have a basic understanding of proper horse feeding to be sure your horse is on an acceptable nutritional plane. If you need help developing a diet to meet your horse’s individual needs, your veterinarian, an equine nutritionist, and/or an extension specialist can be great resources.
For this article we’ve called on four equine nutritionists and extension specialists for their best feeding advice.
The first step in crafting a horse’s diet, says Rhonda Hoffman, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN, professor of horse science at Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro, is knowing whether he is healthy. “First, and most importantly, horse owners must be able to look at their horse and assess whether it is at a healthy weight or too fat or too thin,” she says. “The eye of the feeder fattens (or thins) the horse.”