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Choosing the Right Hay & Feed for Your Horse. University of Maryland Horse Conference Montgomery College November 10, 2007 Erin D. Petersen, MS, PAS Extension Horse Specialist University of Maryland. How do I know what my horse needs?. Requirements differ with: Individual horse Age

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Choosing the Right Hay & Feed for Your Horse

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Choosing the Right Hay & Feed for Your Horse

University of Maryland Horse Conference

Montgomery College

November 10, 2007

Erin D. Petersen, MS, PAS

Extension Horse Specialist

University of Maryland


How do I know what my horse needs?

  • Requirements differ with:

  • Individual horse

  • Age

  • Size and weight

  • Body condition

  • Health

  • Weather

  • Physiological state

    • Exercise, breeding, growing, etc.


Weather


Starting Point: Determine Requirements

  • Horse Age, Weight, Use

  • To determine weight:

    • Length

    • Heartgirth

      1 kg = 2.2 pounds

      1 inch = 2.54 cm

  • Nutrient Requirements of Horses

Weight (kg) = girth2 x length 11,877


“NRC”

  • IN METRIC UNITS!

  • Allows user to manipulate diet (forage, concentrate), horse information

     ration evaluation

  • Does NOT include commercial concentrates

  • Most commercial feed manufacturers will give additional info on feeds when called

    http://nrc88.nas.edu/nrh/


Forage Quality

  • What determines forage quality?

    • PALATABILITY - Will my animals eat this hay?

    • INTAKE – How much will they eat?

    • DIGESTIBILITY – How digestible is this hay?

    • ANIMAL PERFORMANCE – How will my animals perform on this hay?

    • NUTRIENT CONTENT – What is in the hay?


Nutrients for Horses

  • ENERGY

    • Carbohydrates

    • Lipids

  • PROTEIN

  • MINERALS

  • VITAMINS

  • WATER


Other things to consider

  • Grass vs. legume

    • Intake

    • Nutrient Content

    • Digestibility

    • Affects of maturity

  • Species differences

    • Timothy vs. Orchardgrass


Nutrient Requirements

  • 1 pound = 454 grams

  • ADG = Average Daily Gain (targeted weight gain for growing animals)

  • DE = Digestible Energy

  • Mcal = Megacalorie = 1000 kcal


Daily Requirements - Maintenance


Daily Requirements - Growth

1100 g Mature Body Weight


Daily Requirements - Growth

1100 g Mature Body Weight


Relative Change in Daily Requirements with Age


Relative Change as a function of Body Weight


Daily Requirements - Reproduction


Daily Requirements - Exercise


First Cutting Orchardgrass (grass 1)

CP = 7.9%

ADF = 45.1%

NDF = 66.3%

DE = 0.82 Mcal/#

Avg. bale wt. = 35

Cost = $4.50

Second Cutting Orchardgrass (grass 2)

CP = 14.8%

ADF = 33.7%

NDF = 53.2%

DE = 1.06 Mcal/#

Avg. bale wt. = 35

Cost = $6.00/bale

The Hays…


Orchardgrass/ Alfalfa Mix (MGA)

CP = 17.1%

ADF = 35.4%

NDF = 52.5%

DE = 1.01 Mcal/#

Avg bale wt. = 42

Cost = $5.50/bale

3rd Cutting Midwest Alfalfa (alfalfa)

CP = 21%

ADF = 30.4%

NDF = 38%

DE = 1.12 Mcal/#

Avg bale wt. = 70

Cost = $8.00/bale

The Hays…


Assumptions

  • Most horses will eat anywhere from 1.5 - 3% of their body weight in Dry Matter per day

    • Maintenance 1.5 – 2%

    • Growth 2 – 3%

      • Decreases with age

    • Reproduction 1.5 – 3%

      • Highest in early lactation

    • Exercising horses 1.5 – 3%

      • Increases with increasing exercise intensity


What to feed the maintenance horse?


Maintenance


Growth


Weanling, 6 months old


Reproduction


Broodmare, 9th month of gestation


Broodmare, 1st month lactation


Mcals of DE supplied by grass and alfalfa hay of varying quality at an intake of 2% BW in DM relative to requirements

1st month of lactation

Gestation, Mo. 9

Conception - 5 mos gestation


Grams of CP supplied by grass and alfalfa hay of varying quality at an intake of 2% BW in DM relative to requirements

1st month of lactation

Gestation, Mo. 9

Conception - 5 mos gestation


Exercise


What defines performance??


Exercise

  • Amount of energy used?

  • Must know in order to determine amount of energy required

  • DURATION

    • Easy to measure…

  • INTENSITY

    • Many factors at play

  • Other factors?


Energy Requirements - Performance Defined

  • Light Work

    • Heart rate = 80 bpm

    • 1-3 hours per week

    • 40% walk

    • 50% trot

    • 10% canter

  • Examples:

    • Trail riding

    • Beginning of training

    • Occasional show horses


Energy Requirements - Performance Defined

  • Moderate Work

    • Heart rate = 90 bpm

    • 3-5 hours/week

    • 30% walk

    • 55% trot

    • 10% canter

    • 5% low jumping, cutting and other skill work

  • Examples:

    • School horses, trail riding, breaking/training, frequent show horses, polo, ranch work

http://www.rettingerranch.com

http://www.reddemeade.com

http://www.polo-nz.co.nz


Energy Requirements - Performance Defined

  • Heavy

    • Heart rate = 110 bpm

    • 4-5 hours per week

    • 20% walk

    • 50% trot

    • 15% canter

    • 15% gallop, jumping, other skill work

  • Examples:

    • Ranch work, polo, show horses (frequent/ strenuous), low-medium eventing, race training (middle stages)


Energy Requirements - Performance Defined

  • Very Heavy

    • Heart rate = 110-150 bmp

    • Duration varies  1 hr/week speed work to 6-12 hr/week slow work

  • Examples:

    • Racing (QH, TB, STB, Endurance)

    • Elite 3-Day Event


Moderate Intensity Exercise


The problems with excess protein

  • Makes my horse “hot”

    • Truth or fiction?

  • Excess protein  increase water intake  increase in urination  increase in ammonia in stable

  • Protein is EXPEN$IVE!!


Which Hay should you choose?

  • Maintenance  ANY

    • No supplements*

  • Growth  Alfalfa or Mix for weanlings, high quality grass or mix for older

    • DE and/or CP supplementation

    • Vitamin/mineral

  • Reproduction  High quality grass or mix for late gestation, mix or alfalfa for lactation

    • DE and/or CP supplementation

    • Vitamin/mineral

  • Exercising horse  High quality grass or mix

    • DE and/or CP supplementation

    • Vitamin/mineral


Choosing the right concentrate

  • Base it on your hay! FORAGE FIRST

  • Have a great hay?

    • That 10% CP fortified sweetfeed may be all your horse needs!

    • Better yet, maybe just a forage balancer

  • Not so good hay?

    • Higher quality, higher protein feed may be needed in larger amounts!


Example: 6 mo old weanling

$3.35/day


Example: 6 mo old weanling

$2.63/day

$2.98/day


Questions?


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