Items

Forums
How Much Hay
 By Winniefield Park   •   14th Jan 2016   •   1,290 views   •   0 comments
How Much Hay

One of the most puzzling aspects of horse care is how much hay to feed. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture states that on average a full-grown riding horse should eat about 12-15 pounds of hay a day. Thereís also a simple formula around that looks like this:

Bodyweight X 2% = Amount of hay to feed in 24 hours

These are good places to start. But this still might leave a beginner scratching their heads and asking the next question - how much does my horse weigh. There is a formula for that too:

Heart Girth x Heart Girth x Body Length)/330 = Body Weight

Whatís heart girth? Thatís the measurement around the horse, taken just behind the elbow where the girth would normally lay. Body length is calculated by measuring from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks. This line could end up being a bit uphill towards the rear. All measurements should be in inches. Another way to find your horseís weight is using a weight tape. These tapes are wrapped around the horse as if you were taking the heart girth measurement mentioned above, and give you an approximate weight.

The problem with all of these formulas is that they only give an average. The weight formula doesnít take into consideration the horseís frame, or current condition. It doesnít work for many draft or very tall horses, and isnít suitable for very small ponies. Besides the build and height of a horse, there are other factors that determine how much hay they should be eating. The hay formula doesnít factor in the type of hay, what other feeds the horse might be getting or the condition of the horse when the formula is calculated. If the horse is very fat, you end up feeding more than you want to. If the horse is very skinny, underfeeding is a possibility.

Using the formulas to calculate body weight and hay is a starting point for most horses. But there are a number of other factors that also need to be considered. These include:

Workload - your horse could be a couch potato or leading trail rides over rough country all day. The couch potato needs to step back from the bale feeder, and the hard working horse will need some extra rations to help replace burned energy and repair tissues.

Age - Growing horses have specific needs, as do older horses whose digestive system might not be as efficient

Health - A horse that has ongoing health problems may need special considerations when it comes to amount and type of hay.

Pregnant or Nursing - Mares that are building or feeding babies need extra food to keep up with the demands of their foals.

Metabolism - Some horses are hard keepers, meaning they are hard to keep in good condition, while others gain weight when you show them a bale of hay. Ponies are notorious for seemingly gaining weight on air and need far less in comparison to a horse.

Weather - Horses living in cold climates need energy fuel from their feed to stay warm.

Other Available Food - If your horse has access to decent pasture, you may need little or no hay at all.

This is why itís important not to just follow a formula or recommendation. Hay amounts may have to be adjusted throughout the year, and if there is a change in the horseís activities, health or age. Only be keeping a close eye on your horse will you know whether youíre feeding too much, too little or just the right amount of hay. Start with a formula, but your eyes should judge whether or not youíre feeding the right amount.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Feed,
Horse News More In This Category:  Feed and Minerals      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
Avoiding Feed Mill Horse Feed Poisoning
11th Jan 2015   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
You might remember the story about the horses that died of monensin poisoning back in December. Monensin is an additive to livestock feed, most commonly in cattle feeds, that is deadly poisonous to horses. Itís never intentionally ...
How Much Hay
14th Jan 2016   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
One of the most puzzling aspects of horse care is how much hay to feed. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture states that on average a full-grown riding horse should eat about 12-15 pounds of hay a day. Thereís also a simple formula ...
What is in Horse Hay
12th Aug 2017   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
1My hands are sore, my muscles are tired and my legs and forearms are scratched and bruised. That means we must be haying. Itís been a rough year again for those trying to get hay off of the fields. Constant rain has been a proble ...
Fad Foods and Horses
8th Jan 2018   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
When you check out Pinterest or scroll through your Facebook feed, youíll likely see posts of miracle cures achieved using certain trendy foods or supplements. These trends tend to spill over to the stable, leaving our feed rooms ...
Too Much of a Good Thing
5th Oct 2017   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
We generally think of minerals in any diet as a good thing. But it is possible for horses to get too much of a certain mineral. The most common culprits include fluoride, lead, and iron. If caught in time, most symptoms of poisoni ...
What is in Your Horse Feed
15th Aug 2018   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
When you buy a bag of textured or pelleted horse feed, none of the ingredients are easily recognizable. A bag of oats contains oats - and thatís easy to see. But often even the label on a bag of feed doesnít list the exact ingredi ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Montreal Carriage Rides End
26th Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
After years of controversy the city of Montreal, Quebec, caleches, the quaint carriage rides through the historic city are banned as of January 1, 2020. The tourist districts will no longer hear the familiar clip clop of hooves as ...
Australian Horse Racing Industry Abuse Response
25th Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Last fall we posted a story about a news documentary exploring the route from race track to slaughter house in Australia. Jockeys, trainers, owners and others in the industry were shocked by the revelations of cruelty and the ulti ...
Amish Boys Get DUI on Horse and Buggy
23rd Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
four underage Amish men charged with felony obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct and given civil infractions for being minors in possession of alcohol. Witnesses saw the young men tossing beer cans from the buggy. The heavil ...
Top PonyBox Stables To Start 2020
21st Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
2020, and a new decade is only a few weeks old. The winter days seem to drag, it certainly doesnít seem like the Roaring Twenties, but game play continues with changing stats and rankings. Hereís a look at some of the top barns on ...
Rejected Show Horse Saves Owner from Fire in Australia
19th Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
As her family fled the fire, leaving behind possessions and favorite farm animals, a horse named Charmer, once rejected as a show horse, carried her owner to safety though blinding smoke to safety. Her rider, disoriented by the sm ...
PonyBox Top Fives and Prospects
18th Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Who has been at the coveted number one ranking recently? Here is a look at some of the horses that have reached the number one spot and a few that are poised to grab top spot very soon. ...
Tiniest Dwarf Horse Learns To Walk
13th Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
Chanel the tiny horse is a dwarf. She had a hard start in life when her mother rejected her. Her poorly formed legs made it difficult to learn to walk and she had to be bottle fed every two hours. Her breeder reached out to the Pe ...
One hundred Horses Rescued In Police Sting Operation
12th Jan 2020   |   Feed and Minerals   |   Winniefield Park
A team of volunteers is responsible for rescuing over one hundred horses in King County near Enumclaw. The horses, some in foal and with foals by their sides, were being kept in unsanitary conditions by a women well known to be a ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
478 Members Online 258,820 Registered Members 2,657 News Articles 11,271,982 Unique News Article Views 266,713,614 Website Views