Feeding young horses

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Young horses have specific nutritional requirements, making their diets important for their successful development and growth. When feeding young horses you must be sure to design their diets to support their growing bodies and changing nutritional needs.

The Role of Diet in Young Horses

Young horses, from weanlings to horses three years of age, undergo major physical changes and growth during their developmental years. It is during this time that a horse’s bones grow and solidify, and their muscles, tendons, and ligaments must be able to properly grow to accommodate the horse’s changing body.

Additionally, young horses are typically undergoing training during this period, making adequate nutrition even more important. The strain of exercise can cause a young horse to quickly lose weight, so staying on top of what you are feeding a young horse is a must. Be ready to adjust your young horse’s diet regularly as your horse’s nutritional needs and athletic level change.

Feeding Young Horses Hay

Quality hay and pasture should be the basis of feeding a horse. Your young horses can benefit from access to as much pasture as possible. Quality grasses give your horse’s diet the forage that every horse needs, and the act of grazing in a large field will give your horse the added benefit of natural exercise, rather than being confined to a stall.

Select high-quality hay which has been properly harvested and cured. Hay should be green and sweet smelling. Avoid any hay that is dusty, and if you find mold spots, throw out the bale of hay, as it is not safe to feed. Remember that if you change your horse’s hay you will need to do so gradually; sudden changes could lead to colic.

Horse Feed for Young Horses

Grain can supplement the nutrients that a young horse’s hay and pasture lack. To determine the quality of the hay you are feeding and to decide if there are specific nutrients that need to be replaced, consider having your hay tested for its nutritional quality. This can be easily done through your veterinarian or by sending a sample out to a company which tests hay.

Choose a quality horse feed to supplement your horse’s forage. Formulated feeds high in protein will give your horse the nutrition that his young body needs to properly grow. Read the labels of all feeds carefully to determine just what they contain. Avoid feed with excess sugar or carbohydrates, as neither of these are particularly good for young horses.

Additions to a Young Horse’s Feed

Additionally, consider providing your young horses with free access to salt or to mineral blocks. As your horse’s exercise levels change and increase, be sure to adjust his diet accordingly.

Remember that a regular deworming program is an important aspect of horse care and feeding, especially when it comes to young horses. Speak with your veterinarian to determine the best deworming program for your horse’s situation.

Young horses are particularly vulnerable in terms of nutrition and feeding because of their growing and changing bodies. To help your young horse grow up properly, come up with a quality feeding program. TOPHORSE–browse youngstock for sale or place an ad to sell horses.

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