By Matt McMillan, Ph.D., Equine Nutritionist, Hi-Pro Feeds
The nutrients a horse requires can change depending upon several factors related to size of the horse, stage of life and level of activity. When considering the horse, daily nutrient requirements can typically be determined by classifying the animal into one of the following categories: adult-idle with docile temperament, adult-idle with alert temperament, adult idle with nervous temperament, adult working with light exercise, adult working with moderate exercise, adult working with heavy exercise, adult working with very heavy exercise, stallions non-breeding, stallions breeding, pregnant mare < 5 months, pregnant mare 5 – 11 months, Lactating mare 1 – 6 months, and growing 4 – 24 months with varying work loads. Once the horse has been classified in to one of these categories, it can then be determined what the general daily nutrient requirements for that horse shall be. These nutrient requirements have been determined through years of research and reported in ‘The Nutrient Requirements of Horses’, Sixth Revised Edition, 2007, which is the most current publication provided by the National Research Council who is the governing agency that provides such nutritional information on horses as well as other livestock species. This publication can be obtained through the National Academies Press and hand calculations can be performed to determine if the horse is receiving all the nutrient requirements based upon factors previously mentioned.
However, a more convenient way to determine whether your horse is receiving the nutrients it needs is by using a program provided by Hi-Pro Feeds in cooperation with Kentucky Equine Research called the Microsteed™ Ration Wizard.
Microsteed allows the user to answer questions such as age, breed, gender, weight, activity of horse, and pasture availability. After all questions are answered, feed options are provided. The user is then allowed to select a feed. Once a feed has been selected, the ration can be built and an output is given showing the amount of feed, and hay that should be fed according to all the answers provided by the user. A graph is also provided for the user to demonstrate how all the nutrient requirements are being met such as energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus, etc. This output can be printed out if desired. Also, if there are further questions by the user, there is an area to ask those questions which will be received by an equine nutritionist at Hi-Pro Feeds and correspondence can take place from there.
Microsteed Ration Wizard is a quick and convenient way to check and see if your horse is receiving the nutrients it needs. Remember that the horse’s nutrient requirements can change rapidly depending on many factors. Try the Microsteed Ration Wizard Program today by clicking here.
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