NUTRITION: Back to Basics

Horses require five main classes of nutrients (not including water) to survive. The levels and rations are critical for the health of your horse. Read your labels and understand what you are feeding.

  1. Fat can be added to a feed to increase the energy density of the diet. Fat has 9 Mcal/kg of energy, which is three-times that of any grain or carbohydrate source. Fat is normally found at 2 to 6% in most premixed feeds.

  2. Carbohydrates are the main energy source used in most feeds. The main building block of carbohydrates is soluble (sugars) and insoluble (fiber). Carbohydrates such as starches and sugars are readily broken down to glucose in the small intestine and absorbed. Insoluble carbohydrates such as fiber (cellulose) bypass enzymatic digestion and must be fermented by microbes in the large intestine to release their energy sources, the volatile fatty acids. Soluble, or non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) are found in nearly every feed source; corn has the highest amount, then barley and oats. Recommended maximum NSC is less than 10-12%. Recommended Fiber is 17% or more.

  3. Protein is used in muscle development during growth or exercise. The main building blocks of protein are amino acids. Pea meal and alfalfa are good sources of protein that can be easily added to the diet. Second and third cutting alfalfa can be 25 to 30% protein and can greatly impact the total dietary protein. Most adult horses only require 8 to 10% protein in the ration; however, higher protein is important for lactating mares and young growing foals.

  4. Vitamins are fat-soluble (vitamin A, D, E, and K), or water-soluble (vitamin C, and B-complex). Horses that are under heavy exercise or under increased levels of stress may benefit from vitamin E supplementation. Vitamin K and B-complex are produced by the gut microbes. Vitamin C is found in fresh vegetables and fruits, and produced naturally by the liver. None of these are usually required in a horse’s diet. Severely stressed horses, however, may benefit from B-complex and vitamin C supplements during the period of stress.

  5. Minerals are required for maintenance of body structure, fluid balance in cells (electrolytes), nerve conduction, and muscle contraction. Only small amounts of the macro-minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur are needed daily. Normally, if adult horses are consuming fresh green pasture and/or a premixed ration, they will receive proper amounts of minerals in their diet, with the exception of sodium chloride (salt), which should always be available.

Pink Rose Organix Equine Boost & Balance is a USDA Certified Organic feed for an optimized digestive system and healthy hindgut. A delicious, prescriptive blend of organic proteins, oils, and fiber that works with your pasture or hay to boost digestive efficiency and balance the diet. Boost & Balance focuses on hindgut

function; driving animal health, attitude, and positive, cool energy!