Equine Feed Calculator

Fortunately, horses do quite well on a forage based diet of hay along with minerals and good clean water. However, some hays may be deficient in an essential nutrient or, depending on the breeding status and activity level, some horses may need more or less hay in order to be in good body condition.

The most respected research on horse nutrition is provided in the "Nutrient Requirements of Horses" (6th revised edition) by the National Research Council. This volume is a technical resource for academic purposes, but it does provide data and algorithms for calculating a given horses nutrient requirements.

This calculator implements the computer model based on this research.

Basic Horse Nutrition

Watch this short video to learn the basics of horse nutrition.

Calculator

Type notes:

Select Maintenance for a low activity pastured or retired horse. (Ridden or driven less than once per week.)

Select Stallion for an intact (not gelded) male used for breeding.

Select Growing for an horse under two years of age.

Select Pregnant for a pregnant mare.

Select Lactating for a nursing mare.

Select Working for an horse that is worked on a regular basis. (Ridden or driven one or more times per week.)

Weight notes:

Accurate weight estimate is the foundation of accurate feeding results. Use our Equine Weight Calculator to estimate your horse's weight if you do not have access to a scale.

Mature weight estimate notes:

In addition to current weight, the calculator uses information about the mature weight of growing horses. Mature weight has both a breed and genetic influence. Estimate the mature weight based on these factors.

Feed intake notes:

Research shows that horses are satisfied when they consume an amount equivalent to a certain percentage of their body weight on a daily basis. Depending on the horse type and the feed type, some are satisfied with as little as 1.8% of their body weight, but others may require up to 3.2% of their body weight. Ponies have a slightly wider range, and donkeys have a slightly narrower range if intake levels.

An average of 2.0% is a good starting point for most maintenance, breeding and light work horses. The intake level for moderate working horses is slightly higher at 2.2-2.3%. For growing horses, lactating horses or horses that are subject to heavy work start with a 2.5% intake level. See Workload below.

If your horse is unable to maintain its weight, you may try adjusting the intake level up. If your horse is not finishing its feed, you may try adjusting the intake level down. All horses are individuals, and many factors influence the intake level.

Maintenance status notes:

Maintenance status only applies to non-working horses!

Select Low for older animals that live in stables or small pens with limited turnout.

Select Average for calm animals of average temperament that live on pasture or have daily turnout. This includes most broodmares and resting performance horses.

Select High for adult horses with nervous temperaments or active young horses or stallions.

Mare age notes:

A mares reproductive tract matures over time, and the nutrient requirements are dependent on the age of the mare when pregnant.

Growing horse age notes:

Horses grow fast from birth to about 2 years of age. During this period, nutritional requirements is based on the age in months of the horse.

Stallion status notes:

Nutritional requirements vary for stallions based on rather they are non-breeding or breeding.

Workload notes:

Workload only applies to working horses!

Select Light for horses that are ridden 1-3 hours per week at 40% walk, 50% trot, and 10% canter. A typical working heartrate should be about 80 beats per minute. The type of work is: Recreational riding, beginning training, show horses (occasional)

Select Moderate for horses that are ridden 3-5 hourse per week at 30% walk, 55% trot, and 10% canter with 5% low jumping, cutting or other skill work. A typical moderate working horse will average about 90 beats per minute heartrate. The type of work is: Recreational riding, show horses (frequent), polo or ranch work. Most school horses fit this category.

Select Heavy for horses that are ridden 4-5 hourse per week at 20% walk, 50% trot, 15% canter and 15% gallop with some jumping or other skill work. Your horse's typical working heartrate should be about 110 bpm. The type of work you do is: Show horses in frequent or strenuous events, jumping, low-medium eventing, early stage race training, heavy ranch work.

Select Very heavy for horses that are ridden 1-12 hours per week at sustained high rates of speed. Your horse's typical working heartrate should be between 110 and 150 bpm. The type of work you do is: Racing, endurance, elite 3-day eventing.

Growing workload notes:

Many horses begin training and light work during their two year old year. This is especially true of performance and show horses that have early starting carriers.

Select None for horses that have not started training.

Select Light for horses ridden 1-3 hours per week at 40% walk, 50% trot, and 10% canter. A typical working heartrate should be about 80 beats per minute. The type of work you do is: Recreational riding, beginning training, show horses (occasional).

Select Moderate for horses ridden 3-5 hours per week at 30% walk, 55% trot, and 10% canter with 5% low jumping, cutting, or other skill work. Your horse's typical working heartrate should be about 90 beats per minute. The type of work you do is: Beginning training/breaking, show horses occasionally (non performance events).

Select Heavy for horses ridden 4-5 hourse per week at 20% walk, 50% trot, 15% canter and 15% gallop with some jumping or other skill work. Your horse's typical working heartrate should be about 110 bpm. The type of work you do is: Show horses frequently, early stage race training.

Month of lactation notes:

Foals grow quickly, and the demands of nursing increase rapidly. Enter the months the mare has been lactating starting with 1 for the birth month.

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