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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

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
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.
starting point determine requirements
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

slide5
“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
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
Nutrients for Horses
  • ENERGY
    • Carbohydrates
    • Lipids
  • PROTEIN
  • MINERALS
  • VITAMINS
  • WATER
other things to consider
Other things to consider
  • Grass vs. legume
    • Intake
    • Nutrient Content
    • Digestibility
    • Affects of maturity
  • Species differences
    • Timothy vs. Orchardgrass
nutrient requirements
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 growth
Daily Requirements - Growth

1100 g Mature Body Weight

daily requirements growth12
Daily Requirements - Growth

1100 g Mature Body Weight

the hays
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…
the hays18
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
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
slide27
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

slide28
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

exercise31
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
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 defined33
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 defined34
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 defined35
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
the problems with excess protein
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
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
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 weanling41
Example: 6 mo old weanling

$2.63/day

$2.98/day