Horses are elegant and graceful animals that have specific dietary needs. They are herbivores, which means their digestive tract is different from ours. They require a high amount of fibers that have to be consumed in small amounts over a while. In other words, they have to eat a lot of really small meals during the day. To ensure they have a long and healthy life, it’s important to find them the best horse feeds that exist.
Top 5 Best Horse Feeds
Most horses prefer to eat grass and hay. This, however, isn’t always enough for their dietary needs. Sometimes, they have to eat pre-prepared feeds that enriched with all the necessary nutrition.
But finding the right kind of food for your horse tends to be a hard task.
Taking care of equids is not as easy or common as keeping more common pets such as cats or dogs.
That’s why we’ve made a list of top 5 best horse feeds that can be bought online. This way you will be able to give your horse proper nutrition without too much room for mistakes.
- Highly palatable
- Great for horses that are on a restricted NSC diet
- High in calories
- Can be hard to find in stores
Hallway is a brand that is known for having a fixed formula when it comes to their horse feeds. This food is made for picky eaters that have a sensitive stomach. It’s especially good for horses that can’t handle starch. It has a low non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) amount of only 7.3%.
At the same time, this feed is high-fat, so it can help your horse gain weight without additional additives. Micronutrients that enrich basic nutrition are good for many things. For example, if your horse is metabolically-compromised, this product can aid its digestive system. The fat amount is great for maintaining healthy energy levels as well.
Not just that, but this feed has a blend of equine-specific yeasts and prebiotics. This will further help your horse with fiber digestion. There is also a high amount of vitamin E and amino acids with Stamm 30 fortification. If you have a horse with a bad stomach that won’t eat everything, you should try giving it this feed.
- Good for horses that are on a restricted NSC diet
- Improves immune system
- Enriched with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
- Not good for horses that are still growing
This product is one of the best horse feeds if you want to give your adult equine some additional care. With its nutrition, it can replace forage completely. Don’t let the name fool you. Old horses aren’t the only ones that can eat it. It can be given to any mare 2 years or older.
The Senior Sport Horse Feed has a high-fat content and fiber that is highly digestible. It can support calmer performances, but without causing energy or muscle mass loss. It’s enriched with fatty acids, most notably Omega 3 and 6. This is great if you want to improve the health of the skin, hair, and other tissue. Antioxidants that are in it are great for overall health and immune system.
At the same time, this feed is a good choice for horses that have to be on a restricted NSC diet. If your horse is hyperactive or has a health condition such as ulcers, this feed might be the solution. It also contains a microencapsulated dry yeast that works as a probiotic and prebiotic. Your horse’s gut health will thrive with it!
- Balanced nutrition
- Made for horses with dental issues
- Great for horses that have to eat food that is low on NSC
- Some horses won’t eat it
Buckeye advertises this feed as a product for mature horses, but it’s great for more than that. This product has soft pellets that are great for any equine with dental issues. As many horses and ponies tend to have bad teeth, this food is of big help. Most feed manufacturers don’t care too much about such finesse as dental care.
This easy-to-chew blend has low starch and sugar levels, which is great for the horse’s metabolism. It’s also enriched with ‘Gro N Win’ food balancing technology. It has just the right amount of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It will most likely do wonders for your horse’s overall health and skin and hair quality.
Another enrichment this feed has is vitamin E and selenium. They serve as support for the immune system. At the same time, the product is corn-free and molasses-free. If your horse has carbohydrate sensitivities, this feed might work for it. Also, nutrition in it is good for horses that tend to bloat after eating certain foods.
- Good for horses with a sensitive stomach
- Improves immune system
- Despite being ‘low NSC’, it still has around 20% of carbohydrates.
- Not recommended for growing horses
Another feed by Tribute, Kalm ‘N EZ Textured Horse feed has a lot of features Senior Sport one doesn’t. It’s made for mature horses but has the nutrition that can be used by any adult equine. It has low NSC, which makes it great for any horse with food sensitivities.
This product is mostly made with performance horses and moderate keepers in mind. It can also be used by any horse that is hyperactive or that has ulcers. The high amount of fiber works great to calm a horse with too much energy without making it lose weight. It contains whole oats without sugar and starch, so the energy source is concentrated and healthy.
As most of Tribute’s feeds, it contains a balance of minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and fatty acids. They will improve your horse’s health and metabolism. If you want to improve the look of your horse’s hair, this feed is a good choice for that as well.
This feed has another fine addition for the owners. It smells really pleasant!
- Highly palatable
- Improves immune system of the horse
- Not adjusted for growing horses
This product by Manna is high in fat and has high calorie levels. It makes this feed great for adult horses that need some extra weight and muscles. It’s designed with the health of senior horses in mind. This means that it has all the right nutrients for overall equine body condition.
This feed is enriched with flaxseed that provides Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These acids are great for skin and hair of your equine friend. Another nice addition is biotin, which will support growth of the hoof. If your horse needs that extra hair shine and has hoof problems, you should try giving it this feed.
Probiotics that are in this feed do wonders to proper digestion. Another enrichment that’s in this feed are vitamins and antioxidants. This way you will help your horse’s immune system. And the thing that we especially liked is that it’s easy to feed for older horses. Senior equines tend to be picky eaters. You most likely won’t have a problem with that when you give it this feed.
- Has only 7% of sugar and 4% of starch, which makes it great for horses on NSC restrictive diets
- May be fed as a hay supplement, or on its own
- Suitable for horses of all age
- Can be hard to find in stores
Bluebonnet is a brand that conducts rigorous tests to ensure that their feeds meet the high-quality standard. Their experts made this feed for horses in all life stages – young and adult alike. This recipe is high-fiber and grain-free, which makes it perfectly healthy and nutritious for your equine friend.
You can feed this food to your horse on its own or as a supplement to hay. It has all the essential nutrients that the horse’s digestive system needs as well as low levels of sugar and starch, which makes it healthy for lifelong use. It is low on NSC as well. If your horse has to be on a restrictive diet, this feed is great for its metabolism.
Bluebonnet used its ‘Intensify Technology’ for this recipe. This means it’s enriched with active dry yeast that serves as a prebiotic. It has a high content of amino acids, so the feed is great for bone and skin health as well. It’s enriched with B-Vitamins, Beet Pulp, Beta-Glucan, and other minerals that greatly improve your equine’s immune system.
It also includes Stride 101, a supplement that provides viable naturally occurring microorganisms. All of this makes Bluebonnet’s Intensify Total Advantage complete feed for horses of all life stages
Which Nutrients Are Important in Horse’s Diet?
According to Rutgers, horses require a balanced amount of six nutrient classes. If they consume too much or too little of them, their health can be compromised. So, what are these nutrients?
Without water, horses can’t survive for too long.
This is why this is the most important part of every horse’s diet.
Every equine must have a water source nearby. On average, a horse needs 2 quarts of water per pound of hay.
This is increased if the horse had to do some hard work at a high temperature.
If your equine didn’t consume enough water, they may not want to eat as much. Also, you may notice other signs of dehydration, such as dry feces, dry mucous membranes, and similar.
When your horse is dehydrated but has a water source available, you should check with your veterinarian. Some illnesses can cause water deficiency in the organism.
Fat is the main source of energy, which is extremely important for a healthy horse. It usually has to be supplemented in horse feeds as it’s rarely seen in natural equine’s diet.
Fat has around three times more energy than any other more common source! The usual fat amount in premixed horse feeds is 2% to 6%. It can be higher if your horse needs to gain weight or is more active than usual. However, too high-fat content can lead to your horse becoming obese.
Carbohydrates are the main energy source in a horse’s diet.
Glucose is the carbohydrates’ main building block. If carbohydrate is soluble, such as starch or sugar, it is easily absorbed. If it’s insoluble, such as cellulose, it will pass to large intestines.
The microbes will ferment it there and release the energy (volatile fatty acids) after a while.
Corn has the highest amount of soluble carbohydrates.
Behind it are oats and barley. Normally, forages have only up to 8% of carbohydrates but the percentage can go up to 30% in certain conditions. A horse can’t ingest large amounts of starch or other carbohydrate sources at once! This can cause laminitis, colic, or several other health problems.
Protein is important for muscle growth. It is build of amino acids. Most adult horses require up to 10% of protein in their feeds.
If your horse is still growing or lactating, then this percentage has to be higher. Sings of protein deficiency are weight loss, reduced growth, and coarse hair coat.
However, if a horse intakes too much protein, they will experience an increased water loss. This can lead to dehydration.
The usual source of vitamins is green, leafy forage.
A healthy horse that spends a lot of time outside usually won’t need vitamin supplements.
The best horse feeds still have supplements of Vitamin D, C, B-complex and E. This way you will be sure that your horse’s immune system is strong.
Minerals are important for many reasons, but mostly for the health of cells, nerves, muscles and bones. Healthy horses only need a small number of certain minerals every day.
These nutrients are important so horses can have enough energy. The main source of energy in the best horse feeds is fat.
However, since horses are herbivores, the most common source is fermentable fiber or starch.
If a horse is pregnant, growing, or exercising often, they will need more energy than usual.
If a horse lacks energy intake, they won’t be active as usual.
Other symptoms may include a slower growth rate and weight loss.
On the other side, if your horse has a diet too high in energy, they can become obese.
Obese horses have bigger chances of getting ill or having various health conditions such as laminitis. This is why balance is important.
Taking into account all of the important nutrients and calories, you can find what suits your horse the best.
Our vote for the best horse feed there is goes to Hallway’s Fibrenergy feed. It has a combination of great nutrition balance, price and picky eaters will still love it!
However, if your horse has certain health conditions, always check with your veterinarian first. A horse that has a bad nutrition intake won’t be healthy and can develop many dangerous health conditions.
Before changing its diet, always speak with a professional first! And keep in mind that every horse has a taste of its own.
No matter how good a feed is, some horses just won’t eat it. Keep trying until you find what works the best for your four-legged companion.