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Nutritional Requirements of Horses - Part 1

Reproduced with permission of Otter Co-op Feeds

In this multi-part series, we talk about the Nutritional Requirements of Horses including:


  1. Proteins
  2. Vitamins
  3. Macro Minerals
  4. Micro Minerals

Of course, the single most important thing in a horse’s diet – Water!  Always offer good clean water free choice and when possible have the water temperature between 7 – 24 degrees Celsius to ensure optimum water consumption.

Part 1 – Energy

Energy is the fuel that allows the heart to beat, muscles to work, foals to grow inside pregnant mares, mares to produce milk and stimulates growth in young horses.  Energy is not a nutrient however as a horse gets energy from the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are combined in the feeds they eat.  Energy is one of the main focuses of any horse’s diet because we can visually see when we are feeding too much or too little by the condition of the horse.  If horses are fed too much energy, they will gain weight, while horses that are not fed enough every will lose body weight.  Approximately 80-90% of feed that a horse eats is used to meet its energy requirements.