Sometimes feeding horses seems like an arcane art. Every individual seems to have their own little system and some, like a classically trained chef, have a bewildering array of secret ingredients they add to their recipe. While horses do have certain nutritional requirements, one does not need a degree in equine nutrition in order to meet them.
Horses most certainly require quality forage, free from toxic weeds and molds, and of high nutritional value. While you may be able to visually evaluate hay for weeds and molds, the nutritional analysis must come from a forage test. With the cost of hay one of the biggest expenses, paying ten dollars for a forage analysis is money in the bank. By knowing the nutrient content of your hay, you will know whether or not grain needs to be added to the daily ration.
Horses with a high activity level will usually require some supplemental grain in their diet. With this in mind, please remember that feed companies have trained nutritionists on staff that have an array of analytical equipment and years of research at their disposal.
Additionally, they are able to combine ingredients of the least cost and produce a feed that precisely meets the nutritive requirements of your horse.
That being said please don’t make the mistake of cutting their feed with other grains. You won’t really be saving any money, and will upset the careful balance of nutrients the nutritionist worked so hard to achieve.
A good quality hay, and maybe a little supplemental feed from a reputable feed company, one can meet the nutritional needs of a vast majority of the horses in Burke County.