The feeding of a horse consists of more than just procuring it with sufficient roughage, water and concentrate. Any horse needs to be fed according to its needs. What this means, is mainly that the rations need to be adjusted when the horse has had more or less work, or when a part of the feed is transferred to a foal, be it born or not.
In this course we try to explain some of the basics, in a simple, yet clear and thorough way. The feeding needs are one part of the equation, the way these needs are fulfilled, another important part. A good understanding of the anatomics of the digestive system of horses are a key element in understanding how digestion works. That’s why we direct our attention of this element first.
The digestive system
Horses are herbivores, plant eaters. Because herbivores feed on the structures with lot of fiber, such as grass, cereals, and so on their digestive system is adjusted to these circumstances. What characterizes a horses digestive system the most is its strongly developed bowels and a relatively small stomach.
The major factor in the intake process are the lips. A horses lips are extremely agile, which allows them to be very selective. Every horse keeper recognizes the example of the horse that manages to empty the entire feeding container but leave all the deworming medicine untouched. The advantage however, is that this ability enables it to get as much grass as possible out of the field, while avoiding the less tasteful or dangerous herbs. Contrary to cattle, horses do cut the grass with their incisors. As a consequence some horse meadows are grazed below the point where easy regrowth is possible. Grass needs a bit of leaf to grow, so one should not wait too long before relocating the horses.
After the intake, the mastication is next. This process is slightly different from human chewing, as it is don by sliding the upper- and under jaw over one another, thus grinding the fibers. Because the under jaw is narrower than the upper jaw, a horse can only chew on one side at the time. The most common problems that arise when it comes to chewing are hooks on the teeth, dental degradation in older horses and the transition from milk teeth to permanent ones in younger horses. Hooks are sharp edges on the side of the teeth and can be prevented by procuring enough roughage. Otherwise the teeth are used irregularly and will be worn as such. Hooks can grow very sharp and diminish appetite and digestion.
The more structure the feed has, the longer the horses are forced to masticate, for a comparable amount of feed. This entails the production of saliva, which, at its turn, enables better digestion, of a feed that has been grinded better to begin with. On top of that, higher saliva production doubles as lubricant so that a regular transition through the bowels becomes possible.
Saliva is physically basic, so extra saliva production makes the stomach less acid. An overly acid stomach kills a bigger part of the bacteria necessary for fermentation of the carbohydrates.
Water is vital for the production of saliva, so access to sufficient and clean water is more important to a horses diet than some people realize. Feeding at regular times is another interesting improvement to the overall feeding philosophy. It encourages the excretion of saliva, before the feeding begins, as the horse can anticipate and produce saliva, thus unknowingly improving digestion
After the transition through the esophagus, the feed arrives in the alkali part of the stomach. This part is responsible for the processing of the easily digestible carbohydrates, by bacteria and enzymes. During the next stage, in the gastric mill, the proteins and fat are broken down. This is the acid part of the stomach, in which the bacteria from the alkali part do not survive.
Stomach ulcers are a common problem with horses, usually caused by a stomach that keeps on producing acid when it is empty. A problem, however, that can be prevented by procuring sufficient roughage, so the horse can nibble all day long, as it would do in nature.
We’ve mentioned before the stomach of a horse is small, relative to its bowels. For that reason it is wise o procure the food in smaller portions, spread over the day. Moreover, portions that are too big, combined with an eager or hungry horse, can cause serious digestive problems, such as colic.
Quite a lot of blood is used by the digestive system, when working. When the horse is demanded to work, shortly after feeding, the circulation system will draw blood from the intestines to the muscles, which will slow down digestion. This causes food to stay in the stomach for longer, which enables the production of gas. Gas that can not be evacuated quickly enough through the bowels and can cause colic all the same.
Food particles are further broken down in the small intestine, due to secretion of gall (liver), intestinal and pancreas fluids. A major part of the nutritional components are absorbed in the blood stream, through the intestinal wall. At this stage a healthy gut flora wit a good physical balance make sure the gut bacteria don’t survive, to avoid extra fermentation in the small intestine. Fermentation causes gas and gas causes colic, so this should be avoided
Raw fiber is digested by micro-organisms in the colon. This process produces fatty acids, which serve as energy for the organism.
In case the horse has insufficient access to roughage, the amount of micro-organisms in the colon will be likely to decrease. It’s not difficult to understand that in this case, the positive effect of these organism will decrease subsequently
Te last part of the colon is responsible for resorption of water, salts and other resources of high nutritional value, after which only the indigestible parts are left to be excreted.
Excrements which lack consistency can be a sign of the food passing too fast through the digestive system of the horse. A problem that can be solved by adding raw fiber to the diet. Manure with a smell, less appealing than normal, are almost always a sign of problems in the intestinal canal of the horse.
Proteins are one of the most important building blocks for new life. They play a vital role in the development of the fetus. In much the same way the lactating mare needs big quantities of protein for the milk she produces. Even growing youngsters still need higher dosage of proteins in their diet, to ensure good growth. Proteins are made of amino acids. The quality of the protein source is determined by the pattern and the digestibility of the amino acids. There is a difference between essential and nonessential amino acids. The difference between both being that essential amino acids are the ones the horses body can’t produce itself. They have to introduced via the feed. Most horse feeds have deficiencies in the essential amino acids Lysine, Methionine and Tryptofane. Those are the ones that can be found in soy, milk powder etc. and are the reason those elements are valuable assets in Lannoos horse feeds. In case of a protein surplus, the horses’ body has no storage facility. The protein is transformed into, which produces ureum, that will be evacuated through urine. Sport horses have no need for extra protein. A little known fact, and one that can have serious consequences on your horses’ health. Liver and kidneys have more work than they can handle, which results in exaggerated sweating and urinating. Symptoms of this problem can be; swollen legs, increased hearth rate, and skin rashes. Foals on the other hand do have an increased need for high quality proteins, due to the fact that their colon is still developing and very little microbial protein is produced.
Fat is very important as a source of energy. Furthermore, it’s responsible for body heath production, improving physical fitness and carrier of fat-soluble vitamins. Poli-unsaturated fatty acids (?-3-fatty acids) are produced from soy oil, corn oil and flax seed oil and contribute to a shiny skin and healthy appearance. Extra fat is fed to improve stamina in aerobe circumstances because of its glycogen saving effect. Up until 16% percent of a horses regime can be fat. Rates above 20 % have a negative effect on digestibility, with diarrhea as a possible consequence. Higher levels of fat can also have as side effect to reduce tastefulness of the feed.
Carbs are the main source of energy for horses. Carbohydrates is the eumbrella term for sugars, starch (in cereals) and the hard to digest cellulose (raw fibre in the cell wall of vegetable cells) the main source of sugars are beets and sugar beets. They are broken down in the intestines into glucose and fructose, both easily digestible. Starch also transforms into glucose, but not all starch is the same. When it originates from barley and oats, the digestibility is far beter than the starch out of corn and raw patatoes. Raw cellulose occurs mainly in feeds with a high stem and cell structure (grass, hay, straw..) The raw cellulose ends up allmost unchanged in the colon and is digested there, by micro organisms. A surplus of carbs in any diet can cause lactic acid fermentation in the colon, which causes a burning feeling in the gut. When large quantities of starch and sugars are ingested, the stress on the muscle glycogen can be so strong the aerobic catabolism releases dangerous amounts of lactic acid. In the equestrian world, this is known as 'tying up'. Muscle soreness can both be prevented and cured with addition of Dimethyl-glycine and Natri=bicarbonat to the horses diet.
Calcium and phosphor
Calcium is vital in bone formation, muscle contractions and regulation of a large amount of cellular functions
Phosphor is equally important in bone formation, Furthermore it is needed in energy-rich compounds (ATP), proteins and phospholipids.
The calcium/phosphor ratio is of the utmost importance in horse feeding. The perfect ratio lies between 1.4 and 2. In case of calcium shortages (or phosphor surplus) calcium is taken from the bones, which causes bone deformations.
Vitamin D enables the intake of calcium and phosphor via the intestinal wall. Vitamin D, calcium or phosphor shortage can cause what people call 'rickets'. A disease that shows by the formation of less cartilage and excessive formation of bone, mainly in proximity of the joints.
Leguminous plants such as clover and lucerne contain high doses of calcium.
Potassium, sodium and chlorine
These minerals are electrolytes. They are excreted via transpiration. A natural consequence is that electrolytes should be added to the diet after heavy sweating. Salt (NaCl) is another mineral for which the needs are prone to fluctuations. By far the easiest solution to this problem is putting a salt block in reach of the horse. Normally a horse only licks from these blocks when he's in need of salt. When the horse bites into the block, taking larger peaces, the block should be removed immediately.
Potassium usually is abundantly present in most horse diets. Sodium on the other handrarely is. Salt shortage can cause loss of appetite, a rough looking coat, decrease in milk production and fertitlity.
Magnesium is an important factor in proficient brain and muscle functioning. Magnesium shortages can cause stress. Under normal circumstances magnesium shortages in horses are rare, but in sporthorses, an addition of Mg in the diet can be a good idea. The digestibility of magnesium decreases with the fat ratio in the diet.
Lucerne hay, cereals and ceral byproducts are great sources of MG.
Selenium has a protective effect on cells and decreases the need for vitamin E. In case of over production of lactic acid or unsaturated fatty acids, the need for selenium increases, but also with increased work load. Selenium overload is just as harmful as a shortage and can result in symptoms such as hair loss, lameness, bad hoofs...
Iron plays an important role in oxygen transport and is an important component of enzyms. Iron shortages are common in combination with blood worms. It's a common mineral in horse feeds, but usually in a form that's not so easily digestible. When horses are outed on acid meadows, they ingest a manganese (Mn) surplus. This causes iron (Fe) to be less likely to be digested, a phenomenon known as antagonism. Copper is an element enzyms need to produce elastin, collagen and hemoglobine. In case of copper shortage anaemia can occur.
Intestinal bacteria need cobalt to synthesize vitamin B12.
Manganese is important in bone development and growth. For optimal fertility Mn is vital. Mn shortage doens't occur very commonly. Surplus on the other hand is rather common and can cause Fe- shortage. Zinc has a certain importance for a healthy coat and hoofs. It improves lactic acid discharge and reduces fatigue.
Iodine is a component of the thyriod gland. Iodine deficiency can cause moult problems and swollen legs.
Horses w.500 kg Maintenance Work Pregnant Lactating Growth Stud
Calcium (g) 30 40 35 63 75 30
Phosphor (g) 20 30 25 40 45 20
Sodium (g) 8 25* 10 10 8 8
Potassium (g) 30 40* 30 35 25 30
Chlorine (g) 30 40* 30 35 25 30
Magnesium (g) 6.5 10 8 10 10 8
Copper (mg) 160 200 250 300 250 200
Iron (mg) 200 300 300 350 300 250
Zinc (mg) 500 600 750 950 750 600
Selenium (mg) 1 1.5 1 1 1 1
Iodine (mg) 1 1 1 1 1 1
Manganese (mg) 500 600 750 900 750 600
Cobalt (mg) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 -
Salt (NaCl) 30 100* 30 40 25 30
Vitamins are small organic connections needed in small quantities for a well functioning metabolism. When horses suffer from vitamin shortages, this shows in slower reactions, blockages, and other vague symptoms.
Sport horses have higher needs in vitamins. Because of the sweating and stress they encounter, they drink more water, and lose more vitamins through sweat and urine.
Vitamins can be divided into two major groups, fat soluble and water soluble vitamins.
Fat soluble vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins are highly dependant on digestibility of the feed, when it comes to absorption. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the horses body, when a surplus is fed. When too much of a reserve is built up, however, vitamin poisoning is a real risk. Symptoms are much the same as that of a vitamin shortage.
Vitamin A has an influence on growth, appetite, skin, respiration and cornea. It reduces tendon problems, bone deformations, nyctalopia and infections. Shortage in vitamin A can lead to fertility problems. A horses metabolism can turn carotene, present in fresh feeds, corn and carrots, into vitamin A. Carotene levels drop drastically when turning the feeds into hay or silage. In addition, breeding mares need bètacarotene for healthy oestrus cycles.
Vitamin D3 stimulates absorption of Ca and P, thus preventing bone problems such as swollen joints, growth problems and leg flaws. Over dosage of it can lead to deposition of calcium in parts of the body, such as hart , liver en blood vessels. This might result in calcified vessels. Most horses never encounter vitamin D3 deficiency, as it is taken in from the sun, subcutanely. In winter, it is ingested through the sundried hay.
Vitamin E protects cell membrane, prevents muscle problems and enhances oxygen intake in the blood. This enables a better recuperation after heavy training. The need for vitamin E increases when the diet contains more unsaturated fats and when the horses workload increases; Grass and cereals usually contain high levels of vitamin E, levels drop drammatically in hay, older than a year, and oats that haven't been crushed recently. Low levels of vitamin E can cause lower performances and fertility.
Water soluble vitamins
Water soluble vitamins can't be stocked in the horses body. The surplus leaves the body via the urine; Vitamins B are synthesized through micro-organisms in the colon; but normal quantities are insufficient for sport horses. Extra vitamin B is a necessity in in sport horse feeds. Also for youngers horses and foals, additional vitamin B is vital, as the intestinal system isn't equiped for extracting the vitamins out of the feed.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine is essential in digesting carbohydrates and stops lactic acid production. It's used as a sedatif, in large quantities and is said to have benificial effects against roaring.
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavine has a vital role in utilising nutrients in the feed, the nervous system and the metabolism, mainly concerning lipids and protein. It also activates the elimination of lactic acid. Shortage in Vitamin B2 rarely occurs.
Vitamin B3 or pantothenic acid plays a role in protein, lipid and carbs metabolism. It's essential for the growth of a dreat deal of micro organisms so, also for a healthy intestinal flora.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxin has a role in the creation of blood blood celles and in some reactions with amino acids.
Vitamin B12 or cyanocobalamin is commonly administered in big quantities in order to improve oxygen transport in the blood, thus increasing the horses stamina.
Vitamin B15 or pangamic acid isn't well known in Europe. It's used frequently by the US equestrian team, following recommandations of Dr Robert Atkins. It also enhances oxygen transport in the blood and it's intake in muscles. Better physical condition and stamina are a possible result.
Vitamine M or folium acid is essential for the production of red blood cells. Other minerals and vitamins can contribute to this as well, but have no effect in case of folium acid shortage.
Vitamine PP or nicotine acid is important for the respiration of tissues.
Choline protects the liver and stimulates digestion.
Vitamin H or biotin is necessary for a shiny coat. High dosage, for a longer period (15mg/ day, for a couple of months) has positive effects on the quality of the hoofs (in combination with methionin, Vit. A, Vit. D3 and calcium) . Some plant materials like lucerne and grass meal are rich in biotin. The biotin in cereals is difficult to digest for horses. In fact, it is a major component in the creation of keratin, the basic material hoofs are made of. Sufficient amounts of biotin in the diet improves strength and elasticity of the hoof, and stimulates the process of keratin production.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is necessary for horses under continous physical or mental stress. Het improves the natural defense mechanism and is said to have a role in fertility. The horses metabolism produces large amounts of vitamin C on its own.
Horse w. 500 kg Maintenance Work Pregnancy Lactation Growth Stud
Vitamin A (IE) 40000 40000 70000 70000 60000 50000
Vitamin D3 (IE) 4000 6000 5000 6000 6000 5000
Vitamin E (mg) 50 1000 150 250 150 1000
Vitamin K (mg) - - 1 1 1 1
Vitamin B1 (mg) - 36 24 12 12 36
Vitamin B2 (mg) - 60 40 60 20 60
Vitamin B3 (mg) - 72 48 72 24 72
Vitamin B6 (mg) - 12 12 12 12 12
Vitamin B12 (mg) - 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.2
Vitamin B15 (mg) - 75 50 75 50 75
Folium acid (mg) - 20 12 18 6 18
Vitamin PP (mg) - 180 120 180 60 180
Cholin (mg) 250 900 600 900 300 900
Biotin (mg) - 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Vitamin C (mg) - 100 - - - 100
Water is a very important in a horses diet. A horses body is made out of 70% of water, and moisture is excreted all the time. Through urine, sweating, manure, milk production... and logically it needs to be replenished accordingly. Clear and fresh water is to be recommended.
A common mistake is trying to fulfill a horses huge need for water after a heavy workload in one serving. The ingestion of big quantities of cold water can cause colic.
Table: drinking water needs for horses in kg water per day, per animal
Foals 10-15 kg
Horse, light work 30-40 kg
Sport horse, heavy work 60-80 kg
Lactating mare 40-60 kg
Need per kg of dry matter roughage 3,5 kg
Need per kg of dry matter concentrate 3 kg
A thorough knowledge of the basic components of a horses diet are very important in selecting a well balanced diet, adjusted to the needs of the horse and appreciated by the horse.
The main characteristic of roughage are its high levels of raw cellulose and low levels of energy. The raw cellulose forces the horse to masticate thoroughly, with a regular saliva production as a result. Two major positive outcomes result from feeding sufficient roughage; the saliva production facilitates digestion, and the constant chewing and nibbling keep the horse busy and thus helps prevent stable vices.
Grass alone could serve as a complete horse feed. A 500 kg horse can process around 10 kg of grass per day, largely covering its maintenance needs. The first spring grass is an exception in this perspective as its high levels of energy and protein can cause serious dietery imbalances, causing excessive drinking and urinating, thus overtaxing the liver and kidneys. This is one of the reasons when sowing in new horse meadows, it is always wiser to use seed mixtures, especcialy conceived for horses ( Rye grasses, meadow fescue, clover, ..) The nutrional value of a field depends largely on its botanical composition (the grasses and herbs in it) and can and will change over time. A field where herbs thrive, in quantity and diversity, improves tastefulness, has higher mineral levels, but measured in kg, has a lower output. Fertilisation is the logical solution to low output, but it greatly interferes with nutrional values. Fertilated fields produce grass that contains more protein and less raw fiber, and the fast growing grass will suppress clover and herbs.
Hay is grass that has been made to dry untill a DS percentage of about 80%. This is necessary for storage. The drying off the grass has repercutions on the nutritional value of course. The value decreases with storage, the manipulation before being put into bales and the weather conditions during harvesting.
As a prevention for stable vices, hay is second to none, because it provides entertainment to the horses during the day. Furthermore it is source of vitamins (B-complex, D and E), carotene and minerals. It's a very good source of raw fiber and ideal to be combined with concentrate.
Potential problems that can arise with hay are excessive protein levels (overfertilisation), humidity due to early baling (can lead to yeast or coloring of the hay), and high levels of impurities (dust). Dusty hay is a problem that can be solved relatively easily by soaking it in water right before feeding.
Protein levels in clover hay and lucerne are up to double that of normal hay. Calcium levels in lucerne can easily reach factor 3 in comparison with regular hay and has increased carotene levels. Excessive feeding of these specialties can lead to colic and liver failures and horses tend to need an adjustment period towards the bitter taste. Lucern is a common occurence in concentrate mixtures. When fed seperately, 20% of the horses diet should be considered as a maximum.
Silage can be part of a horses diet, but only dry grass silage, or corn with high levels of dry cellulose.
Potential problems arise when the silage is too humid, due to the acidity and high protein levels that the humidity entails. Grass needs to dry at least 3 days before packaging to ensure a sufficient level of dry cellulose (55-60 %). The main advantage silage has in comparison with hay is the lack of dust. Moulding on the other hand is a potential hazard. The slightest fault in the package can cause the entire bale to go bad. Higher protein levels and lower levels of raw cellulose are problems to be reckoned with when feeding silage, and the wetter the silage, the more carefull one shoudl be towards these issues.
A waiting time of around 30 days should be taken into account before feeding silage which corresponds to the time the lactic acid bacteria need to yeast.
Another potential hazard when feeding silage is botulism. Botulism is a bacteria that lives on carcasses of mice, rats, birds... and are likely to be fatal for horses. The silage environment procures perfect conditions for these bacteria to strive.
Corn silage is very rich in energy, but poor in protein , minerals, trace elements and vitamins. Some horses need a period to adjust to the taste, but eventually, most horses grow to like it. It is an excellent product to gain weight.The main issue however, is the lack of carotene and vitamin D. This means it's an absoiute necessity to add vitamins and minerals to the diet when corn silage takes al bigger part of the roughage a horse gets. Even more so for lactating or pregant mares, or growing youngsters.
One last issue around these products is their dependance on environmental conditions. When over fertilised; badly packaged; or early harvesting, the quality of the feed can fluctuate so hard that it can be dangerous for horses.
Root and tuber vegetables
These foods are refreshing and tastefull. to a certain degree, they can replace grass, as they have similar energy levels, but are relatively poor in protein and minerals.
Carrots, beets and sugar beets can be procured to horses, but not at leasure. (respectively 1,2 to 2 kg, 3 to 4 kg and 1,5 to 2 kg per 100 kg body weight per day).When uncleaned, these products can cause sand colic. Beets contain a lot of easily digestible carbohydrats. In bigger quantities there is a risk of 'tying up' through lactic acid overdose.
Beet pulp is an equally valuable feed, but one should take care to soak the pulp sufficiently (about 12h, ty Bij het voederen van bietenpulp moet men erop letten dat deze voldoende geweekt wordt (ongeveer 12u.1 kg pulp in 5 l water) to prevent intestinal obstruction.
Straw , be it from cereals, grass seed or leguminous plants, is very usefull in horsefeeding and -keeping. The energy level of straw is rather low, allbeit higher in barley straw than rye or wheat. Straw contains little or no protein, vitamins and minerals, but it's a great supplier of structure. Structure and fibre are positive in a diet, but with moderation. Exagerated intake of straw is the most common cause of intestinal obstruction.
The main characteristics of concentrate are low levels of raw cellulose and high levels of dry matter. We make a difference between two different types of concentrate; straight and compound. Compounds are ready made for a certain type of horse, which allows the horse keeper to organise feeding easily and make sure each horse gets the feed it needs and deserves. Another advantage lies in the fact that unsavory, but necessary ingredients can be mixed in, so that they get ingested all the same. Some horse keepers prefer mixing their own feed, and for suppliers it's impossible to commercialise the perfect mixture for every horse. That's why we'll give you an overview the most commonly used straight feeds.
Cereals are an excellent source of energy for horses but are largely insufficient when it comes to minerals. What misses mainly is the essential amino acid lysine, but also calcium is in short supply. The Ca/P ratio is only 0,1-0,25 where 1.5 is advised.
Oats have a stimulating effect on the condition and metabolism of the horse. Some horse enthousiasts are prone to use black oats, However, there is no real reason to do so. The fact is that black oats usually are slightly less rich than white oats and it's more expensive. Oats has lower energy rates than some other cereals, but the protein levels and protein composition are better. The fat percentage is high enough to be beneficial for a shiny and healthy fur. The crushing of the oats enhances digestibility , but decreases quality after storage. The oats ratio should never be more than 30% of the concentrate diet.
Of al l cereals, corn is the one with the highest levels in energy and fat. It's also very low in protein and really lacks lysine, tryptofyne, vitamins and minerals.Corn can cause laminitis in horses. In fact, as a horse feed, it's too concentrated. It can be part of a horses diet for a maximum of 20%.
when it comes to energy levels, barley is right in between corn and oats. Because of its rather hard grain, barley is best served in flocklined or crushed form. Barley is high in vitamine D, but short in minerals. Barley can take up up to 30 % of a horses diet.
When it comes to energy, wheat comes close to corn levels, being very high. The downside is that it can cause intestinal obstruction when the gluten stick together in the stomach and turn into a sticky substance. Wheat is very suitable to be fed with other products as flax seed, bran and salt, served as a mash. This means it's cooked in water and later soaked for a couple of hours. When served in this way, the combination of these raw materials serve a laxative purpose and have a positive effect on digestive troubles. Wheat is a good resource for protein, minerals, vitamins, but lacks calcium. Because of its stimulating effect on metabolism and physical fitness wheat is advised to take a small (10 % max)of the horses diet).
Rye is not the most suitable horse food, because horses tend to dislike the taste. Fungus contamination is another hazard and on top of that, the rye needs to be heated before making it into horse food. The maximum level of rye in a horses diet is 10%.
Spelt has high levels of protein and raw fiber, but it is the cereal with the lowest energy level. A certain mysticism is made up around spelt with horse enthousiasts. It would be responsible for all kinds of beneficial qualities, but none of them are based on scientific proof. Rhis doens't mean it's a bad horse feed, and it can take up to as much as 15 % of a horses diet.
Linseed; flax flour and linseed expeller can have very positive effects on growth, physical appearance and the general health, through its high level of unsaturated fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins.
In compounds, we can make a difference between two majors groups of feeds.The complete feedingstuffs are meant to contain all nutritional elements the animal needs, in the correct proportions. Complementary feedingstuffs are fed alongside other feeds, such as roughage, thus completing the animals diet
Lannoo-Martens only produces complementary feedingstuffs.The choice of the feed is to be made, partly in function of what other components the horses diet is made of, partly in function of the horses needs. A full overview of the possibilities will be given later on.
Feed VEP/kg feed VRE/kg feed
Potatoes 217 12
Beet pulp 810-833 38-46
Beans heated 894 195
Pies 951 175
Barley 958 85
Grass 130-142 22-24
Hay (grass) 496-547 57-89
Silage (grass) 305-335 48
Grass meal 667 116
Grass straw 341 25
Oats 836 90
Oats pealed 1152 116
Concentrate Dep on composition (av. 810) Dep on composition (av. 100)
Linseed expeller 708 258
Lucerne (hay) 464 105
Lucerne (cereal) 499-576 61-138
Corn 1021 63
Field beans 942 207
Silage (corn) 285 18
Soyabean meal 850 409
Soyabean sprouts 849 382
Barley straw 279 8
Oats straw 304 9
Wheat straw 232 7
Sugar 1329 0
Sugar beet 242 4
Wheat 1009 96
Wheat Bran 638 117
Beet 150 8
Chicory roots (getrokken) 128 5
Chicory roots (niet getrokken) 170 5
Carrots 126 7
Feeding related problems
It's a well known fact that horses are very sensitive to colic. Owning a horse is usually equal to being confronted with it. In fact, colis is not really a disease, but an umbrella term for abnormalities that cause abnominal pain of any sort. The horse feels pain, kicks towards its own stomach, watches its sides and lies down repeatedly. In case of heavy colic, horses sweat abundantly, groan and drop themselves to the floor. A major part is due to feeding faults, and are preventable.
A difference is to be made between sand colic, gas colic, constipation, cramp colic and stress colic.
Horses are prone to develop sand colic due to excessive intake of sand. The main reasons are feeding on the ground, insufficient cleaning of het feed, such as beets, carrots... impurities in the roughage or a shortage of minerals in the diet, which leads the horse to search them in the soil. The sand then collects in the colon and can cause a multitude of problems. Horses can show signs of colic, have unhealthy fur or fail to get in a good physical shape. In a lot of cases horses get colic after work or after bucking in the field. A possible sign of sand colic is watery manure. When bigger quantities of sand are ingested, the intestines can become obstructed, which can be very painfull. The product Psyllium has a reputation of removing sand from the intestines.
Gas colic can be the result of bad rationing or to few feeding sessions. When big quantities of easily digestible concentrate are ingested, fermentation in the stomach can occur, thus producing gas in the intestines. The same result can occur when ingesting feeds that are prone to yeasting or when horses need to work with a full stomach. Nutrional elements of dubious quality need to be avoided for the same reasons.
Constipation mainly occurs due to excessive feeding of feeds, rich in structure.Especially with horses who don't chew enough, the risk is very real. Another potential hazard for constipation colic are worm infections. The best prevention of constipation is procuring the horse with linseed oil or mash, as these feeds have a laxative effect on the horse.
The main occurences of cramp colic are due to the ingestion of frozen feeds or too much cold water.
The mucus that protects the lining of the stomach protects the stomach from being attacked by its acid contents. Continuous or repeated stress can cause this mucus layer to become very thin, which in turn can cause irritation and ulcers.
laminitis is an inflammation of the hoof dermis. The hoof dermis is situated in between the hoof bone and the hoof itself. In case of infection, the pressure can't evacuate, which in the end, causes disruption of the blood circulation to the hoof. The hoof dermis dies off and is no longer connected to the rim of the hoof. This may affect the whole coronary band resulting in extreme pain for the horse.
Laminitis can have a multitude of reasons . Drinking too much cold water, eating spoiled food, too much concentrate for horses who aren't used to it... Stress, an inadequate cooling down or diseases are other factors that can lead to laminitis.
Inadequate feeding is the most common reason for tying up. It usually occurs when horses are given a periode of rest, without adjustment of the feeding pattern. The horses muscles are tense and painful and the horse usually refuses to walk. In some cases tying up can be lethal. The recovery process is lengthy and uncertain. The work needs to be picked up very slowly, as the risk of relapse is always present. Tying up is preventable , and it can be easily achieved by adjusting the feed to the workload of a horse.
It's vital for a horses' health to follow a deworming schedule, rather strictly.
Example 1 Example 2
January Pyrantel Pyrantel
February Ivermectine -
March - Moxidectine
April Ivermectine -
May - -
June Ivermectine Moxidectine
July Pyrantel Pyrantel
August Ivermectine -
September - Mocidectine
October Ivermectine -
November Ivermectine Moxidectine
December - -
Pyrantel = vb. horseminth, e.a.
Moxidectine = vb. equest (niet bij veulens), e.a.
Ivermectine = vb. ivomec, Eqvanlan, flurexel, e.a.