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Horses - Diet and Nutrition/What To Do In Areas With Limited Resources?

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Question
Hi.

I live in a mountainous country with limited resources, and I also do not yet speak the native language very well. I've taken in a male horse, just barely three years old, 13.3 hands, had him gelded, and am trying to give him the best care available in my area. He's in decent condition and has not yet filled out.

Right now, he's alone in a small paddock area that has a 20' x 20' open stall, no grass, and no other horses nearby.

I can get good quality hay that is primarily alfalfa with a little grass mix. I also bought hay nets to slow down his eating so he doesn't go very long without food (except overnight). He generally gets 2.5 flakes in the morning, 1 flake in the afternoon, and 2.5 flakes in the evening. Even though I'm stating flakes, I gauge the amount by weight and aim for 14-15 pounds of hay per day.

He also gets two, single handfuls of sweet feed a day with a balancing supplement.

Is there something more I can be doing for him? Most horses here are tied up on the side of the road, and equine resources are slim. Thank you for any advice.

Answer
Hello Angela,

Thank you for your question.  At 3, your horse is still developing and although he has likely reached close to his mature height he still has some filling out to do.  It sounds like you have the necessities at your disposal...quality forage and water. Make sure he has access to both free choice. Try to make sure his hay net doesn't go empty.  The amount, if any, of the sweet feed and balancing supplement he needs really depends on the quality of your forage and the nature of the feed.  Because your horse still has some filling out to do, select supplements with higher protein levels (13-14%) and elevated mineral content if you need to feed grain.  You will want to be sure that calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and zinc levels are adequate and well balanced to help with the final growth stages of bone and joints. Well formulated supplements designed for growing horses can take the guess work out of balancing diets because they've been formulated to meet the growing horse's needs. The only other suggestion I would have is to try and source a salt block.  I hope that helps.  

Horses - Diet and Nutrition

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Corlena Patterson

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
The American Society of Equine Appraisers

Publications
'Stable Management' Handbook, Equine Canada.

Education/Credentials
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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