Horses - Diet and Nutrition/Feeding


I have a 17.2 Dutch warmblood who is 6...rising 7 who I have just broken in and now riding and going well! He does feel a lot of hard work recently and I'm certainly working harder then he is when I'm exercising him! I'm exercising him 4/5 times a week for a good hour and a half to two hours! He is currently only having hay and being turned out at night! Do you recommend he have a hard feed?! If so what sort of feed? He isn't fat but i have noticed you can now see his ribs slightly!


Hello Hayley,

Thank you for your question.  Although I'm a real proponent of feeding mostly forage diets, horses that go into work for the first time often require additional supplementation to support the increased energy and protein demands of training.  The type and amount of 'hard' feed that you choose really should depend on the type of forage your horse is getting.  Grain should supplement what forage can not supply and not replace forage. As a first choice, I would recommend a feed that uses beet pulp and fat as its energy source and has a protein level suitable for horses in training (again this depends on the nature of your forage, but aim for 12-14%).  The amount that you should feed also depends on the type and amount of forage you're feeding, but basic feeding guidelines are usually indicated on the bag and tag.  They will serve as a good starting point.  

If you tell me what brands of feed are available in your area I could provide a more precise recommendation.  Likewise, your local feed company may have someone on staff who can help you select the correct feed from what they have on hand and provide recommended feeding rates.  I hope that is of some help.

Thanks, Corlena

Horses - Diet and Nutrition

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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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