Monday, November 15, 2010

More Numbers

Neither myself, nor SillyPony, nor JenJ is a veterinarian or equine nutritionist. Please make sure you do your own research for your own personal horses. I am simply trying to figure out what is best for my two.

I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions from everyone regarding AJ's nutrition issues.  One thing is for sure, there is a LOT of information out there and a lot of products to choose from.  It is all quite overwhelming. 

SillyPony has gone through something similar with her horse, although he was on the portly end of the scale, and JenJ is currently working on her hard keeper.  I've been stealing information from their blogs and have been bothering them with questions via email.  Neither of them have blocked me yet.  :)

I wanted to get some hard numbers down on paper because I'm visual and it'll give me a place to start getting organized.  First, here is what I think I understand, and where I'm at so far.

The consensus seems to be that horses should eat, on average, between 1.5% and 2.5% of their total body weight in feedstuffs each day.  That varies, of course, from horse to horse because of a variety of factors ranging from age, to work load, and even whether the horse is used for breeding.  Maintenance horses require less, mares with nursing foals require more.  That part sounds easy enough...

So with regards to my personal situation, I have a maintenance horse and a horse in light work (eventually...).  My maintenance horse, however, is underweight, so that will play a part in his numbers.  I'm still skeptical that the weights I got the other day were accurate (they seem high...), but for the sake of this post, we'll assume they are close.

Both horses are turned out on pasture for roughly 8 hours per day, but the pastures are really poor, so I don't know if they're getting much value out of them at this point.

24 Year Old Maintenance Horse (1.5% - 2.0%)
16 Hands, 1145 lbs
Minimum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.015 = 17.2 lbs
Maximum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.020 = 22.9 lbs

AJ is currently eating:
4 Flakes of Hay @ 4 lbs per flake = 16 lbs of forage
3 lbs of Purina Equine Senior & 2 lbs of Nutrena SafeChoice = 5 lbs of concentrates
2 scoops of Weight Builder (4 oz)

Total = 21 lbs per day

He is well within range, and even on the high side of the scale, which is where I want him.  Even if his weight is less, let's say 1050 lbs, he still falls between the minimum and maximum.   

10 Year Old Horse in Light Work (1.5% - 2.5%)
15 Hands, 1062 lbs
Minimum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.015 = 15.9 lbs
Maximum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.025 = 26.5 lbs

Lilly is currently eating:

3 Flakes of Hay @ 4 lbs per flake = 12 lbs of forage
2 lbs of Nutrena SafeChoice = 2 lbs of concentrates

Total = 14 lbs per day

Lilly doesn't even fall into the range I've caluclated for her.  Even if I were to guesstimate her weight at a more probable 950 lbs, that would make her minimum 14.3 lbs per day, so I'm still not feeding enough.  If I increased her feed, though, she could very easily become overweight. 

That's about as far as I've gone.  AJ most likely needs a variation (more fat probably) as well as Lilly (probably a vitamin/mineral supplement), but what?  That's the tricky part I'm still trying to figure out.


  1. You're FAR from blockable! LOL!

    I am going to email you, though so I don't hog your wall. The F:C ratio you're using is in the acceptable bounds, but you really need to find the Mcals of the grains and consider that next. More in email...

    Please note, dear readers, that I do not profess any sort of expertise in this area, but I was lucky to have a college student use Junior as her subject for an Equine Nutrition course and I learned some of what the class did. Anything beyond that and I'm clueless.

  2. Good point! Time for a little CYA-ing...

    Looking forward to your email! :)

  3. SillyPony and in2paints, can you please share the F:C ratio and the Mcals of the grains? I'd love to include that in my research too.

    And, I'll try to get around to writing the next installment in my nutritional research shortly. When you start calculating how many ppm of selenium you're feeding, well, you know you've probably gone to far. Oh wait... too late! ;)

  4. Nutrition is always a complicated and difficult subject - take a look at the equine nutrition posts I've linked to from Paradigm Farms - good information, I think.

  5. We use the 1.5% of body weight ratio for all 3 very different horses as their hay base. We feed a top quality hay and weight the daily ration every day. Paj is my easy keeper, so that's all he gets except bran with supplements and salt. Reggie is older and a bit of a hard keeper, so he gets some Equine Senior in his bran. Boomer is in work so he gets Senior too. In the summer when the grass is green, we cut back on hay. On those brutally cold days, we give an extra flake.

  6. JenJ, I posted a new page element at the top of the blog called Calories per Pound. I haven't figured out the MCal values just yet, but I do know the calories per pound of most of the feeds available out there.

    As far as the F:C ratios, 90:10, 80:20, and 70:30 are the ones I'm familiar with thus far. I'm terrible with numbers, so this is all quite challenging. :)

    Next up will be C:P ratios, and ppms of selenium! LOL

    Thanks, Kate. I checked out the info posted on the Paradigm Farms blog, and they have some great info there as well.

    Terry, how much grain are you feeding Reggie? Just a little bit or a few pounds? Sounds like you have it all worked out for your crew... they all look happy and healthy, that's for sure!

    Milo, the nutritionist comes out on Thursday morning. No one else wanted to participate, so I have him all to myself. :)