The Million Dollar Question: What should I be feeding my horse? Does Your Horse Need All The Grain You Feed Him? Does She Need Grain At All?
Forages • Ration should be primarily hay and pasture grass with • little amounts of concentrates (grain) • High quality forages • Provide more nutrients • More economical • Characteristics of high quality hay • Leafiness • Color • Aroma • Texture • Weight • Purity
Weight vs. Volume • Did you know that a 5lb. coffee can of oats does not weigh the same as a 5lb. coffee can of corn? • When feeding your animals, it is important to measure their feed by weight and not by volume. Volume measurements of feed vary in weight depending on the contents you are feeding.
Daily Feed Required (Average Adult 1,000 pound Horse) • 1,000 pound Horse Hay Grain______ No work 20-25 lbs. None Light (1-2 hours per day) 15-20 lbs. 1-3 lbs (1-1.5 lbs. grain per hours of work ) Medium (2-4 hours per day) 15-20 lbs. 3-8 lbs (1.5-2 lbs. grain per hours of work) Heavy 15-20 lbs. 5-10 lbs (4 or more hours of work per day)
Feeding Guidelines • Horses should be fed to meet their immediate needs. • What should you do if you go on vacation and cannot exercise your horse? • Horses’ stomachs are small so feed at least 2 times a day. More often if possible. • Ideally, feed hay 4 times a day. Grain, if needed, 3 times a day.
Feeding Guidelines • Store feed properly • Feed on a set schedule • Change feeds gradually • Why? • Be aware of the pecking order
Feeding Guidelines • Have a veterinarian regularly examiner your horse’s teeth • Feed in tubs off of the ground. • Keep clean, fresh, unfrozen water available at all times.
Why should I evaluate my horse’s condition and how do I do it? • Can you tell whether or not a horse is • healthy just by looking at it? • What does a healthy horse look like? • If a horse is too thin or too fat, what can be • done about it? • What are the risks to a horse that is too • thin or too fat?
Body Weight • Weight estimation equations • More accurate due to multiple measures • Scales • Mechanical or electronic • Require calibration • Portability and Accuracy • Expensive ≈ $2000 • Weight tape • Estimates weight • Breed specific • Correlation between weight and girth
Weight Estimation Equation Heart Girth X Heart Girth X Length, Divided by 330 = Weight (+/- 3%) Measure horse from point of chest to point of croup in inches (this will be your length measurement) Measure the horse’s heart girth in inches, making sure the measuring tape crosses one inch behind the point of withers and right behind the horse’s elbows (this is the heart girth measurement).
Keeping Records • Changes over time are an important part of monitoring growth • Long term trends can help in evaluating management practices • Large operations may be able to detect herd characteristics
Body Condition Scoring Is your horse at risk for metabolic disturbances or disease?
Dr. Henneke’s Table • Original Objective: • Develop a system for accurate comparison of stored body fat in horses that could be used to advantage on equine breeding farms
Spinous Process and Back Negative crease Projecting Crease down back
1 POOR • Animal extremely emaciated. • Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, hooks and pins are projecting prominently. • Bone structure of the withers, shoulders and neck easily noticeable. • No fatty tissues can be felt.
2 VERY THIN • Animal emaciated. • Slight fat covering over base of spinous processes, transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded. • Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead and tuber coxae and ischii prominent. • Withers, shoulders and neck structures faintly discernible
3 THIN • Fat build up about halfway on spinous processes, transverse processes cannot be felt. • Thin fat cover over ribs. • Spinous processes and ribs easily discernible. • Tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be visually identified. • Tuber coxae (hook bones)appear rounded, but easily discernable. • Tuber ischii (pin bones) not distinguishable. • Withers, shoulders and neck accentuated.
4 MODERATELY THIN • Ridge along back. • Faint outline of ribs discernable. • Tailhead prominence depends on conformation, fat can be felt around it. Tuber coxae not discernable. • Withers, neck and shoulders not obviously thin.
5 MODERATE • Back is level. • Ribs cannot be visually distinguished but can be easily felt. • Fat around tailhead beginning to feel spongy. • Withers are rounded over spinous processes. • Shoulders and neck blend smoothly into the body.
6 MODERATELY FLESHY • May have a slight crease down the back. • Fat over the ribs feels spongy. • Fat around tail head feels soft. • Fat beginning to be deposited along the sides of the withers, behind the shoulders and along the sides of the neck.
7 FLESHY • May have crease down back. • Individual ribs can befelt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat. • Fat around tailhead is soft. • Fat deposited along withers, behind shoulders and along the neck.
8 FAT • Crease down back. • Difficult to feel ribs. • Fat around tailhead very soft. • Area along withers filled with fat. • Area behind shoulders filled with fat. Noticeable thickening of neck. • Fat deposited along the inner thighs.
9 EXTREMELY FAT • Obvious crease down back. • Patchy fat appearing over ribs. • Bulging fat around tail head, along withers, behind shoulders and along neck. • Fat along inner thighs may rub together. • Flank filled with fat.
Cresty Neck Scoring • Score of the amount of fat deposited along the ridge of the neck • Scale of 0 to 5 • Does not consider fatness of the rest of the body
CNS 0 No palpable crest
CNS 1 No visual appearance of a crest, but slight filling can be felt with palpation
CNS 2 Noticeable appearance of a crest, but fat is deposited fairly evenly from poll to withers.
CNS 3 Crest is enlarged and thickened, and begins to have a mounded appearance
CNS 4 Crest is grossly enlarged and thickened, may have wrinkles/creases perpendicular to topline.
CNS 5 Crest is so large that it permanently droops to one side
Subjective Measurement Objective Measurement Body Condition Score Girth:Height Ratio Cresty Neck Score Neck Circumference: Neck length Ratio Need a trained evaluator Non-biased
References: • (2009). Special report: BCS a useful tool. Equus, 32-33. Retrieved from http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/health/anatomy/body_condition_score_123009/ • Bray, R. (2012). Feeding your horse by weight not by volume. Retrieved from http://www.starmilling.com/bray-fact-feeding-by-weight-not-volume.html • Foulk, Donna. (2010). Feeding trash…the garbage can horse [PowerPoint Slides]. • National Research Council. (2007). Nutrient requirements of horses: Sixth revised edition. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11653&page=R1 • Stanier, Burt. (2008). How to assess the body condition score of horses [PowerPoint Slides]. • Stanier, Burt. (2008). Measuring the pasture potato or kentucky derby winner [PowerPoint Slides].
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