Basics Of Horse Feeding

Feeding a horse is one of the most important responsibilities of a horse owner. If not done correctly and overfeeding grain feeds a horse can develop colic, (build up of gas) it is caused as horses are unable to burp. This is very serious and in same cases can be fatal.

The Ten Rules Of Feeding

There are 10 rules to feeding horses these are –

FEED LITTLE AND OFTEN – Horses have quite small stomachs so food must be fed small amounts at frequent intervals. Ideally a horse should never go more than 8 hours without feed.

PLENTY OF BULK – To work efficiently a horses digestive system needs to be constantly filled. To achieve this feed bulk feeds such as hay and grass.

CORRECT AMOUNT AND TYPE – You can cause your horse physical and mental problems feeding too much, too little or the wrong type of feed.

GOOD QUALITY – Make sure your food isn’t past its sell by date.

MAKE NO SUDDEN CHANGES TO DIET – Introduce new feeds gradually to avoid digestive problems.

DO NOT FEED DIRECTLY BEFORE EXERCISE – A horse must be allowed at least 1 hour after a feed before he is worked. If this isn’t done a horses can develop colic and breathing problems.

ROUTINE – Horses are creatures of habit.

CLEANLINESS – Keep all utensils scrupulously clean.

A SUCCULENT EACH DAY – This is very import if the horse is not at grass. Apples, carrots and swedes add variety and provide some essential vitamins.

WATER BEFORE FEEDING – A horse can wash undigested food out of its stomach if he drinks after feeding.

Also when feeding horses there are other considerations these include –











17 hands – 34lbs

16 hands – 30lbs

15 hands – 26lbs For the horses and ponies who are half a hand or 2 inches

14 hands – 22lbs higher, an extra 2lbs is added example 13.2 hands – 20lbs,

13 hands – 18lbs

12 hands – 14lbs


A horse in light work should get 30% concentrate 70% bulk.

A horse in medium work should get 50% concentrate 50% bulk

And a horse in hard work should get 70% concentrate 30% bulk.

Most feed merchants have balanced diets for all type of horses and all types of work. So the horse owners job isn’t as hard as it used to be. Most feed merchants have dieticians so you can ask them or your vet what to feed your horse. Most compound feeds have guild lines on the back of the bag and phone numbers you can ring for help.

Always insure your horse has access to clean fresh water. A horse can drink between 10-15 gallons a day.

One last thing please remember all percentages and feed quantities are guide lines. EAch horse is an individual and will have to be closely monitored.

Horseback Rider’s Winter Training Tips: Improving Out of the Saddle

Too many horseback riders hang up their boots once the snow flies, resigned to hibernating until spring. Indoor riding arenas are expensive to board at or lease, and even more expensive to build! What’s the committed equestrian to do? The focused horse rider can continue to progress, even if she or he does not have access to a safe winter riding area, or even own a horse! Here are 5 proven, out-of-the-saddle tips that will launch you back into the saddle come spring.

  1. Out of the saddle, into the gym! Physical fitness and flexibility are essential for equestrian success, but many riders fall short of the mark. Jump-start your springtime season by committing to personal fitness goals this winter. Check out several local gyms and join the one where you feel most at home. Try some yoga or Pilates classes for flexibility, balance and control. Treat yourself to a personal trainer to learn the most effective way to use to machines. Pump up your cardio – especially if you enjoy high-intensity equestrian events like polo, three-day eventing, or reining. The dynamic social setting is a refreshing antidote to winter doldrums. The commitment of joining may actually get you working out, especially if you have a gym buddy!
  2. Home is where the horseman’s heart-and health- is! Maybe the thought of working out in public gives you hives, or perhaps the only gym near you is a candidate for the Health Department’s Most Wanted list. Commit to working out at home. Buy, beg or borrow workout videos. Explore something totally new to you (but balance, fitness or flexibility related) such as salsa dancing. Check out your library, Goodwill, eBay, or your best friend’s bookshelf for inexpensive or free DVDs. Hint- if you follow the stay-at-home route, set a schedule and buddy-up with an accountability partner so you’re less likely to sack out on the sofa when you should be tearing up the rug!
  3. Break out the books! Regardless of where your passion lies, someone (likely many someones) have written about it. Take these quiet months to increase your knowledge of horse psychology and behavior, effective training techniques, or even explore different disciplines. The more you read, the more tools you’ll find in your horse training toolbox come springtime.
  4. Audit a clinic. Many horse farms with indoor arenas host clinics with top trainers and riders throughout the winter. For a small fee or even free, you can audit. Remember to bring a chair, notebook and pencil, and more warm clothes than you think you need- indoor riding arenas are the coldest places on earth when you’re not in the saddle!
  5. Explore an expo. Horse expos and equine extravaganzas are becoming more and more prevalent. Take advantage of great instruction, varied demonstrations- and great shopping- at one location. Challenge yourself to learn about a breed or sport you’re not familiar, pick an expert’s brain about a particular problem or veterinary issue, or learn from one of your own equestrian heroes.

Bonus Tip- Give back. You reap what sow, so sow generously! Volunteer for a therapeutic horseback riding program. Teach an unmounted session to the local pony club, 4-H, or the folks at your barn. If you’re not confident in your own skills, volunteer to host someone who is. If even that sounds too imposing, invite your barn buddies over for pizza and a good horse training DVD. Come spring, you’ll all be better horsemen!

Kirsten Lee produces extraordinary results for horses and riders!

Join Kirsten “ringside” as she helps horses and riders achieve their dreams on her real-world training blog, Visit her boarding farm at

Kirsten’s versatility comes through her holistic approach blending Natural Horsemanship, Classical training principles, and human/ equine psychology and biomechanics. With this powerful and harmonious fusion, Kirsten is able to pinpoint and solve training challenges, tailoring the solution to the individual horse and rider regardless of their experience, discipline or learning style.