Equine Nutrition and Health Services Blog

Importance of Forage

December 8, 2015

Forage is the base of the equine diet.  No horse can survive without forage, and all horses must consume at least 1% but preferably at least 2% of their body weight every day.

Forages come in many forms: long stemmed, cubed pelleted and chopped, but the best way to feet it to horses is long stemmed.  Horses need to chew forage for many reasons, including mental and behavioral health, dental health, increased saliva production to help prevent ulcers and most of all, excellent quality nutrition. 

The type of horse being fed will dictate which type of forage should be used.  For example, a racehorse will require a forage of super high quality and high caloric density, while a Shetland pony needs a more fibrous, lower calorie forage.  Several varieties are available to choose from, and all of the following are suitable choices for most horses.

Best choice for working and producing animals: Orchard Grass 

Orchard grass  is a bunch-type, tall-growing, cool-season perennial grass. It is fast-growing and matures very early in the spring. In the vegetative (leafy) stage, orchard grass is a high-quality forage. Quality declines as the plants approach maturity. Therefore, to obtain high animal performance, harvesting at an early stage of maturity is most desirable. Orchard Grass is high in fiber and has a good level of protein, vitamins and minerals. 

Best Choice for your Easy Keepers: Timothy-Grass

Timothy-grass is an abundant perennial grass native to most of Europe. It is names after Timothy Hanson, a U.S. farmer and agriculturalist said to have introduced it from New England to the southern states in the early 18th century. Timothy hay is very palatable to horses if it is cut at an earlier stage of maturity.  Timothy hay is an excellent choice for all classes of horses, but especially those that require more fiber and lower calories and lower protein levels. 

Best Choice for Working, Breeding and Growing Horses: Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. Alfalfa is very palatable to horses and contains very high levels of protein, soluble fiber and calcium.  It is the best forage for working, breeding and growing horses.  It is very useful in the diet of horses that need superior levels of nutrients and high calories.


Back to the Basics

December 1, 2015

What Every Horse Needs, Period.

by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

The horse world is cluttered with feeds, supplements, and remedies all promising a better, “new and improved” horse. While many such products do in fact improve horses’ health and condition, there are certain basics that every horse needs, regardless of breed, age, condition, or purpose. Even seasonal or regional changes do not alter these foundational principles.

Water is the most important nutrient

It must be plentiful, clean, and ...

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OmegaTri and the Equine - Reducing Inflammation, Restoring Balance

February 11, 2014
The topic of oil supplementation for the horse is a common discussion among horse owners. Often when you walk into someone’s feed room you may see bottles of corn oil, sunflower oil, or fish oil. What are these oils trying to accomplish? For some, it might be to improve coat quality or to help add weight, but the type of oil product that will be looked at today has another purpose – reducing inflammation and restoring balance to the equine diet. 

OmegaTri oil is different from the oil prod...
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