All Sorts of Horse Feeds
At Equi Supermarket we appreciate how important your horse’s diet is to its well-being and performance levels. The right nutrition helps to mitigate behavioural issues, to regulate your horse’s weight and to promote its all-round health. We have a first class range of horse feeds online as well as feed balancers, chaff and haylage from the world’s leading brands. These include Baileys Horse feed, Equilibrium, TopSpec, Spillers, Saracen Horse Feeds, Equerry Horse feeds, Dodson & Horrell, Dengie Horse Feeds and many more.
Horses for Courses
As you probably know only too well, horses’ nutritional requirements vary according to their age, lifestyles and exercise regimes. We offer horse feeds to suit all equines so that you can find everything you need right here in one place. We are pleased to bring you feeds specifically formulated to suit leisure horses, stud animals, race horses, performance horses and veterans. Each feed has been evolved to meet the specific needs of the animals and to promote good health.
What are Horse Feed Balancers?
There are now horse feeds available to suit every age and variety of horse. Despite the huge choice, horses’ diets can still often benefit from being balanced. Horse feed balancers are carefully formulated products which provide the additional nutrients required if a horse’s diet is deficient for any reason. This could be because they are eating forage only or are on a low calorie diet for weight loss.
There are two types of horse feed balancers available – oat balancers and concentrated balancers.
These are specially formulated to be fed in conjunction with a diet of oats. They can be a course mix or in pellet form and are popular with racehorse trainers. Racehorses are often fed an oat diet for energy. However, oats are low in many minerals including calcium and are also low in amino acids which are crucial to muscle function. Oat balancers provide these important nutrients. They also contain additional energy to enhance stamina and to help performance horses to retain weight. Basically oat balancers contain the same sort of nutrients as race feeds but in a more concentrated form.
These are more concentrated products than oat balancers and are fed in smaller quantities. They are formulated to balance forage, particularly poor quality forage, and are low in energy. This is so that the additional nutrients can be provided without the risk of weight gain. General mixes and cubes are formulated to complement average quality forage. So they may provide insufficient nutrition if the quality of the forage is poor. Balancers will redress the shortfall.
The concentrated balancers are at their most useful when you are having to feed reduced quantities of compound feeds. This might be to control weight or over excitement. They are beneficial for horses whenever they require more nutrients without additional calories. Concentrated balancers can also benefit performance horses which are recovering from injury. The protein in the balancers is vital for muscle tone and tissue repair whilst the vitamins and minerals aid general health.
You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing
If you think that you might need to include a balancer in your horse’s diet then take a look at their diet as a whole before making your decision. You should examine the nutrients in everything that you provide to your horse in case more than one product contains the same nutrients. Acquaint yourself with the recommended daily amounts for the weight and workload of your horse because with certain nutrients consuming too much can be as harmful as consuming too little.
In order to establish whether or not you need a balancer it may be necessary to have your forage analysed to discover its precise nutritional content. Most of the leading feed manufacturers provide this service. You only need to use a balancer if the forage combined with any other feeds that you provide does not deliver adequate levels of nutrition.
If your horse requires a nutritional boost then horse feed balancers could be the perfect solution.
From time to time horses may need a boost of certain nutrients to create the correct balance in their diets. The Equi Supermarket range of equine feed balancers offers the perfect solutions and will ensure that your horse receives all the vitamins, minerals and amino acids that it needs to thrive. These dietary supplements are blended to balance forage, particularly poor quality forage, and are low in energy.
Conditioning Feed For Horse: Why Use it?
A horse’s condition is measured on a scale of 1 (emaciated) to 9 (extremely obese). Clearly it is desirable for your horse to show good condition as this is beneficial for its general health. In addition, many competitive disciplines reward well-conditioned horses. Condition is determined by both fat and muscle mass. A well-conditioned horse will have uniform fat coverage and a good topline (the muscle along a horses withers, back and croup)- conditioning feed for horses and the right exercise can help to improve this.
Diet and Exercise
Good condition is the result of a good diet and the appropriate level of exercise. However, there may be times when a horse’s weight fluctuates. This could be due to reduced access to forage in the winter months or a more intense exercise regime. Weight loss can also be caused by poor appetite or underlying health issues or age related issues such as poor teeth. Before addressing your horse’s diet to improve its condition, health issues should first be ruled out and your vet consulted if necessary.
If your horse’s condition needs improving and it does not have any health related problems then you should pay close attention to its diet. Horses which have lost weight may improve simply by being fed more forage. You can also provide larger portions of equine feeds but this could prove problematic in regard to their behaviour.
The Wrong Carbohydrates
Many equine feeds are made up principally of non-structural carbohydrate (NSC). This is the sugar and starch content of the feed such as grains. These are high in energy but too much NSC can result in behavioural issues. Horses can become 'hot' or 'fizzy'. If they do not receive enough exercise they can quickly gain weight too and if this continues they will become obese. NSC based feeds can also be associated with conditions such as ulcers, lameness, laminitis and Cushings.
Should You Worry About Sugar in Your Horse’s Diet?
Sugar appears to be the root of all evils when it comes to the human diet. As there are increasing concerns over equine obesity and laminitis, should you be worried about sugar in your horse’s diet?
What is Sugar?
Sugars are carbohydrates and there are three different forms of sugar which can be consumed. Monosaccharides such as glucose, fructose and galactose, Disaccharides including sucrose and lactose and Oligosaccharides which are found in vegetables and forages.
Sources of Sugar
The biggest source of sugar in your horse’s diet is forage. Grass contains up to 7.5% sugar so that is 75g for every kilo of grass eaten. This could mean that if your horse is turned out all day, it could eat its way through almost 2kgs of sugar. Hay contains approximately 10% sugar but you can leach some of this away by soaking the hay. Compound feeds generally contain a little less sugar than grass but this is cereal starch and so is more problematic.
Sugar is vital for life and good health. It is the primary energy source for the brain. Even if the sugar levels in the diet are kept low, the horse’s body will convert other nutrients to glucose to meet its energy needs. Horses cannot be allergic to sugar but they may have an intolerance to cereal starch and this can lead to behavioural issues.
Molasses in feed is a concern especially where a horse is prone to laminitis. It is a by-product of either sugar cane or sugar beet processing and so is not a pure sugar. Having said that, it’s the rate at which molasses is fed rather than its sugar content that’s important. Feeds containing molasses are not automatically high in sugar but they could be. For laminitics and it is the total amount of sugar in their diet rather than specific ingredients that is crucial.
Carrots and Treats
Carrots contain very small amounts of sugar and so are not really an issue. Treats tend to be high in sugar but should be fed in such small quantities so that they will not cause a problem.
Should You Fear Sugar?
Horses are well adapted to digesting a reasonable level of sugar in their diet. But some animals may require a low sugar diet, particularly those prone to laminitis. A balanced diet which does not feature too much compound feed will not contain too many sugars but you need to go easy on the high sugar treats. If your horses is "hot" and exhibits behavioural issues, this will usually be a result of having consumed too much feed rather than too much sugar. If any element of their feed is problematic, then it will be the cereal starch.
Horses’ teeth will not be harmed by the sugar in their diet. They salivate heavily when eating which cleans their teeth naturally and prevents bacteria from forming. Horses don’t tend to get tooth decay like people who drink too many sugary drinks!
Explore our range of where you'll find feeds suitable for a range of equine diets.
Weight Gain Without the Fizz
Conditioning feed for horses is formulated to provide the protein and energy that horses need to improve their condition and topline. But without the starch and sugar content that can leave them excitable or prone to illness. Conditioning feeds also feature ingredients to promote shiny coats.
These feeds feature less grain or are grain free and offer higher levels of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and oils such as linseed. The fatty acids and oils provide the necessary energy for weight gain and promote excellent coats but horses will remain calm. Conditioning feeds also include the required proteins for building good muscle tone. In short, conditioning feeds provide the extra energy required for weight gain without you having to increase the size of your horse’s meals.
Equine Obesity: Why is Your Horse Gaining Weight?
It is important that your horse maintains a healthy weight throughout the year. If you are finding that your horse is gaining weight, then you must establish why, and the precise reason may not be immediately obvious. Here are the most common errors which lead to weight gain.
As with people, horses will gain weight if they consume more calories than they burn off. You might be measuring your horse’s feed with care to provide the right amount for your horse’s weight, but the rate at which they burn off those calories will also be dictated by how hard they are working. You need to adjust your feeding regime to suit your horse’s level of activity.
What breed is your horse? Native breeds are generally good doers which have digestive systems evolved to make the most of poor quality forage. They require a lower calorie intake as a result but must ingest plenty of fibre for their gastric health. Your horse’s weight issue could mean that their grazing should be accompanied by only a small quantity of low calorie fibre feed. They will also require a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure that they receive the nutrients that they need.
The Changing Seasons
Grass is sparser and of poorer quality in the winter and so if you maintain the same feeding regime throughout the year your horse may well gain too much weight during the summer months. You must monitor your horse’s condition carefully and then adjust your horse’s diet seasonally as the amount of hard feed that they need will fluctuate.
You must establish the right amount of food to give your horse and that will depend on their weight so it is vital that you know what their weight is. It could be that you have overestimated their weight and are simply providing too much hay and hard feed. Once your horse’s weight has been established you should weigh their hay and hard feed accurately. Do bear in mind that the number of calories in hard feeds varies from brand to brand. Reduced rations may mean that you need to find ways to slow down the rate at which they can consume the food.
Grass and Hay
Grass can contain a lot of calories. If the grass your horse is eating is especially rich, then you might need to reduce their hard feed accordingly. The nutritional value of hay also varies. You could try soaking the hay to reduce the level of energy it provides. Some horses are prone to gaining weight and so their diet requires careful management. Any changes to their diet should be introduced gradually. You must not attempt to put your horse on a crash diet. They must have continuous access to forage in order to maintain a healthy digestive system so it is the nature of that forage and the speed at which it is eaten that you must address.
Finding the Right Balance
It can be hard to find the perfect balance in your horse’s diet. Too many calories and they will become obese. Too few and they lose condition and their health will deteriorate. The wrong kind of calories and they can become excitable and may be more prone to certain conditions. You might have to carefully experiment to evolve the perfect diet. However, conditioning feeds could play an important role in increasing or maintaining your horse’s weight.
We offer a comprehensive range of conditioning feed from the world’s most trusted brands here at Equi Supermarket and at the lowest prices.
Choose Chaff Horse Feed for Optimal Health
Chaff horse feed is essentially dried forage which has been cut into small bits (unlike the long grass stems found in hay and haylage). It is fed to horses in order to give bulk to their concentrate feed and to prevent them from eating too fast. Traditionally, a blend of molasses was added to chaff to improve the taste. However, these days you can now get many different variations. Different flavours can be added, such as herbs, mint, garlic, cherry and apple to make the feed more palatable.
A useful addition to your horse's diet
Some people think that chaff horse feed is just cheap filler that's used to bulk up concentrate feed and so it doesn't really matter what the feed is made from. However, in actual fact, it's a very useful addition to a horse's diet. Not only does chaff provide forage, it also encourages chewing. This is important because horses only produce saliva when chewing (unlike us humans).
Chewing stimulates the production of saliva. This plays an important role in protecting the upper stomach from the acid in the lower stomach, helping to maintain optimal gastric health. Good saliva production can lessen the chances of your horse developing gastric ulcers ("Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome" (EGUS)), which can be a serious health problem for adult horses as well as foals. High fibre feed such as chaff in a horse's stomach can aid in the neutralising of stomach acid. So, yes, chaff is a very useful addition to the diet and doesn't just exist to give bulk to feed.
Chaff should meet the needs of your horse's respiratory system, as well as his digestive tract. It should be good quality nutritionally, but it must also be clean. This means it should be free from moulds and fungi which could compromise your horse's respiratory function. The negative effects of feeding a horse poor quality chaff simply can't be understated.
Choosing a chaff horse feed product
Your choice of chaff product will largely depend on your horse's bodyweight, as well as his work level. Whichever chaff you choose, it must be made from good quality ingredients and come from a reputable supplier. Take a look at our selection of chaff and forage available online. It should also smell fresh and should not contain lots of dust or chunks of molasses.
There are plenty of nutrients contained in molasses, such as potassium, calcium, iron, salt and B vitamins, so it's actually useful in moderation as long as a horse's ability to digest sugar in its small intestine is not overwhelmed. Henry seems to really like this particular chaff so I don't think I'll be changing to another any time soon.
I just want to buy Horse feed near me, I hear you cry!
Luckily for you, we deliver to the whole UK! With the fine horse feeds, feed balancers and conditioning feeds from Equi Supermarket you can ensure that your horse is happy, healthy and well-conditioned. And don't forget the horse treats for extra rewards and training! All delivered direct to your door.
Tips for Feeding a Good Doer
If you're just dipping your toe into the often complex world of horse-keeping, having a "good doer" or "easy keeper" horse will probably sound like a dream. However, there's actually nothing easy about it. A good doer is a horse that maintains or gains weight on minimal amounts food. It's essential that steps are taken to prevent obesity and serious side effects. It can become a nutrition nightmare for even the most experienced owners. If you own a good doer, you'll need to find ways to cut your horse's calories whilst keeping him content. Here we take a look at feed hay, limiting pasture and investing in a Grazing Muzzles.
Feed hay rather than grain
The first step when feeding a good doer should be to remove or reduce concentrate feeds from his diet, selecting hay instead. If your horse is overweight, don't feed him any grain feeds. They may well contain lots of vitamins, minerals and other special ingredients, but these feeds also provide lots of calories, which your good doer does not need. To ensure that they're getting the nutrients they need, you could add a ration balancer or a to their diet.
It is best to change their diets gradually and if in any doubt consult your vet or equine nutritionist.
Limit access to pasture
If you don't control pasture access for your good doer, it can be a disaster in terms of your horse's weight. It can also put him at risk of developing laminitis – a hoof disease which has the potential to be deadly. However, simply limiting the time your horse spends on pasture won't stop him gaining weight. This is because a horse can graze a full day's pasture in just a short time. As a result, sugars and starches are put into his body all at once, which can cause greater problems. Your horse loading up on sugars may increase the risk of insulin resistance problems.
So, the question is, how long should easy keep horses be allowed to graze on the pasture? The right amount of time varies depending on the horse and the pasture. It depends on the grass quality to a great extent. It also makes a difference if a horse is at risk of developing founder (laminitis). Horses that are at risk of developing laminitis shouldn't be allowed out at pasture. It's believed that morning turnout is best for good doer horses as this is when some of the non-structural carbohydrates (e.g., sugars and starches) are minimal in the plants. Sugar content slowly rises through the day. Turn your horse out early in the morning, bringing him in in the afternoon. That way he won’t get as much sugar as a horse that is turned out in the evening.
Invest in a grazing muzzle
Turning your good doer out wearing a grazing muzzle means that he will still be at pasture, engaging in exercise and interacting with the other horses. However, he won't overeat and increase his risk of developing founder. Research has shown that ponies’ intake of forage decreased significantly (by around 83%) when they wore muzzles. Whilst it's true that some muzzled horses are crafty and eat more than you’d think, a grazing muzzle can slow a horse's grass intake effectively. Grazing muzzles usually have a holes in them for a small amount of grass to get through. This allows the horse to still be able to eat and drink water through the muzzle. There are several types of muzzles available on the market, so take your time to find one that works for your horse.
Veteran Horse Feed for the Twilight Years
Horse’s now benefit from better husbandry, healthcare and nutrition than ever before. As a result they are living longer and many animals are able to remain working into their twilight years. However, as horses age their needs do change and this must be addressed by providing the right nutrition such as changing their diet to a veteran horse feed or specialist feed to help support them.
The Signs of Ageing
Horses generally start showing the signs of ageing and to start losing condition between the ages of 15 and 18 depending on their breeding and lifestyle. The signs of ageing include grey hairs, weight loss, muscle loss, arthritis and cataracts. The condition of horses’ teeth will deteriorate and their digestive system become less efficient. Special attention must, therefore, be paid to their nutrition. This is to ensure that they receive the nutrients they need to remain happy and healthy for as long as possible.
Problems with Chewing
Veteran horses may experience difficulty in chewing due to the condition of their teeth. The inability to chew properly can mean that horses don’t receive the benefit of the goodness they need from the hay in their diets. It is essential to provide feeds which are easy to chew. It is crucial that their feeds feature a high concentration of nutrients. Senior horses cannot absorb vitamins and mineral as effectively as younger animals. They can also lose their appetite if they are experiencing pain due to arthritis.
Unexplained Weight Loss
If your horse is losing weight despite the provision of adequate quantities of feed then look out for discarded partly chewed forage and undigested cereals in their manure. These are both signs that your horse is aging and suffering the inevitable decline in their digestive function. You may also find uneaten food.
Phosphorus and Calcium
If horses fail to absorb sufficient levels of phosphorus this can lead to a calcium deficiency. This, in turn, will affect the strength of their bones. They require higher quantities of quality protein for energy but without ingesting too much soluble carbohydrate as this can pass through their system undigested or trigger digestive disorders.
Veteran Horse Feed
Veteran horse feeds are specially formulated to offer the required nutrients whilst being easy to chew, highly digestible and extremely palatable. They provide a high level of protein which aids muscle maintenance, metabolic functions and hoof quality. An elevated fat content provides valuable calories for weight maintenance together with the benefit of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Prebiotics and probiotics improve digestion and there are higher levels of phosphorus and calcium than in standard feeds. The soft pellets are easy to chew. However they can be mixed with warm water to form a mash if the horse had suffered extreme dental loss.
When your horse exhibits the signs of ageing then it is time to change their diet. Switch to one of the excellent veteran horse feeds available to improve their comfort and health. At Equi Supermarket we offer a and supplements from Saracen, Equerry, NAF, Spillers and Baileys. By carefully adjusting your horse’s diet you can ensure many more happy years together.
Storing Your Horse Feed
If you are lucky enough to have the room to store it, buying hay, horse supplements and feed in bulk could save you money. However, storing horse feed over a long period of time could result in spoilage and this will negate any savings that you have made. So how should you store feed and for how long?
It is possible to store hay indefinitely if it is stored correctly but using hay within three years is advisable especially in humid climates. This is providing that the hay has been baled with the correct moisture levels. If the hay is excessively damp it will start to generate heat and this leads to moulding.
Hay is best stored in barns so that it is not exposed to the weather and measures should always be taken to ensure that rodents and other animals don’t have access to the hay. Direct contact with the floor should be avoided as the hay can wick up moisture from the ground and concrete can cause it to sweat. If you can’t elevate the hay then place it on pallets or a thick layer of straw.
Hay will lose its nutritional value over time but most of this reduction occurs in the first couple of months. The notable exception here is beta carotene, the pre-cursor to vitamin A. Hay will lose roughly 10% of its beta-carotene per month. This is an important nutrient but can be replaced with the provision of horse supplements or balancers.
Grains and Commercial Horse Feeds
Unprocessed whole grains can be stored for a lengthy period of time. In the case of whole oats this could be for as long as a year whereas rolled oats may start to go rancid after only three weeks.
Heat processed feeds such as alfalfa pellets are generally viable for up to six months whilst textured feeds are best used within three months. The higher the fat content of the feed the quicker it will go off. Foods with a fat content in excess of 8% would be considered to be high in fat. In any case vitamins and some minerals will have lost their nutritional value after three months. It is best to calculate how much feed you use each day for your horse or horses and then invest in no more than you will use in three months.
Remember to store your feed in a suitable container such as a large bin to protect it from rodents, insects and damp.
Horse Supplements and Treats
Horse supplements come in a wide variety of forms, including powders, granules, oils and even treats - . They are also provided in a variety of container sizes and types from refill bags, plastic tubs and bottles. When you have opened the horse supplementsit is worth making sure you have a clean container with a secure lid to store them in so that they don't spoil and last longer.
If you keep your horse at a yard with other owners, then it might be worth investigating if you could share some horse supplements that several of you use regularly. That way you could buy in larger quantities for at better prices without worrying about it going off. You could also do this with fresh treats such as carrots or apples.
For horse feeds, horse supplements and feed balancers it is important to consider the date of manufacture. Storage effectively begins on this date and not the date that you purchase the products. If there is a use by date on the packaging then this solves your problem but if not, you should be able to ascertain the date of manufacture from the packaging.
Most feed will have this date stamped on the bag but it may appear in the form of a code and coding systems vary. You may have some deciphering to do! Try to make sure that you use textured feed within three months and pellets within 6 months of the date of manufacture.
Learn More About Horse Nutrition:
If you would like to learn more, then this article on horse nutrition is very comprehensive and informative.