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Horses - Diet and Nutrition/Grinding my own horse feed


Hello there
I am looking for some help as to grinding my own horses feed. We have performance horses. Barrel and rope horses and few breeding mares. We live on a working ranch where we also farm some crops. We have always ground our own cattle feed. I am wanting to start grinding my own horse feed.  I would like to start out with alfalfa, and then I figure oats but wasn't sure. I know will need some Minerals. Thanks again and hope to here back from you.

Hi TJ,

Thanks for your question.  There certainly isn't anything keeping you from making your own horse feed and it can be quite a cost effective practice if you have enough horse to feed to justify mixing a large batch.  A complete horse feed would include an energy source, protein source and mineral and vitamins.  Fiber sources can also be added if you have poorer quality forages to feed...but in my opinion the horse gets enough fiber from quality forage and doesn't have to have it added to a grain mix.  You'll know whether or not you need to add fiber to your mix.  So you can use Alfalfa as protein and energy source in your mixed feed...although it is perhaps not the best source of either.  Although alfalfa is relatively high in protein, it is actually low in the amino acid (protein building block) that horses need most.  Consider including soybean meal with your alfalfa to create a better amino acid profile.  Oats will make an excellent energy source in your grain mix and also bring some quality fibre to the diet.  For minerals and vitamins you could always buy individual ingredients but frankly its probably easier to buy a premix from your local feed company.  Most major feed companies will sell a complete mineral/vitamin premix in a mash (ground form) that you can simply add to your mix.  

Now your performance horses may not need to same mix as your broodmares but you can find some common ground to determine how much of each ingredient you should put in the mix that would satisfy everyone.  I could help you with ingredient amounts if you let me know which ingredients you want to use, and what mineral/vitamin premix you can find to work with.  Let me know if you need anything further.

Thanks, Corlena

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Corlena Patterson


I can help with any of your horse nutrition questions and concerns. I have been involved with horses for closing on 40 years, with a B.Sc in Animal Science and currently working on an M.Sc in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh. I have owned my own feed store, consulted professionally as an equine nutritionist, and lectured in the fields of equine and dairy nutrition at the University level for 5 years. I have developed and currently market 'Ration-X', a ration formulation program for horses...designed for the everyday horse owner. I am happy to help in any way I can.


Experienced in developing and implementing feed programs for horses of all disciplines, creating custom horse supplements and managing inter-disciplinary equine facilities. Specialize in equine nutrition consulting.

The American Society of Equine Appraisers

'Stable Management' Handbook, Equine Canada.

M.Sc (Equine Science-current), B.Sc(Agr) Animal Science, Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification, Farrier Certification, Equine Consultant Certification, Certified Equine Appraiser, Certified in Emergency Equine Rescue.

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