Nutrition Advice and Diet Planning for Horses in Brisbane, Ipswich and Lockyer Valley
A well balanced diet provides the foundation for your horse’s health.
If you don’t provide your horse with the essential nutrients they need, their body won’t have enough energy to fuel daily functions, leading to a dull coat, ill-health and poor performance.
From anxious to lethargic, your horse’s behaviour is heavily influenced by their daily ration. It’s easy to make the mistake of over- or under-feeding your horse. However, incorrect nutrition can also lead to serious health problems. A veterinary check up is important in getting the balance right.
What should I consider when planning my horse’s diet?
To assess if your horse is receiving the correct nutrition, you should start by calculating their body condition score. At our practice, we operate on the 1-5 system, where 1 is emaciated and 5 is obese. A body condition score of 3 is ideal for horses in moderate exercise.
By visually and physically examining certain areas on your horse’s body, you can assign them a body condition score.
For a healthy body condition score of 3:
- The neck should be smooth
- The withers should be rounded
- The shoulder should be smooth
- The ribs should be felt, but not visible
- The pelvis should be level
- There should be some fat on the tail head
In addition, the average horse needs to consume 2% of its body weight per day to maintain a healthy body condition score. Forage sources, such as hay or pasture, should form the bulk of your horse’s feed ration, as they’re a better source of concentrated fibre than grains.
What common problems are caused by incorrect nutrition?
Incorrect nutrition can lead to the formation of serious health problems for your horse, including colic, laminitis and equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS). These health problems are completely avoidable with correct nutrition and management.
Diseases that are directly related to nutrition include:
- Developmental Orthopaedic Disease
- Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathroidism (NSH)
In addition, there are a number of diseases where nutrition plays a role, including:
- Insulin resistance
- Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM or EPSM)
- Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis Disease (HYPP)
When should I call a veterinarian to discuss my horse’s diet?
If you have any questions relating to your horse’s diet, you should consider speaking with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist. At our practice, we can answer many common questions related to nutrition and help you devise a tailored nutrition plan for your horse.
Your Next Steps
To find out more about diet planning for your horse or make an appointment, call us today on (07) 5411 4554 to speak with a qualified equine nutritionist.