Counting Calories in the Equine Diet

Happy Horse Healthy Cover

How many of you have counted Calories in your own diet?  Probably most of you are at least familiar with the term and that it provides your body with energy.  A Calorie is actually a measure of energy provided by the food we eat. It is the basic unit of heat energy defined as the amount of heat required to raise one gram of water one degree Celsius.  

All living things have energy requirements. The goal for health (and a healthy weight) is to balance the energy obtained through eating with the energy required by the body. You know, “Calories in/ Calories out.”  This is also true for your horse.

All animals need a certain amount of energy for basic body functions like keeping their hearts beating, digestion, and to maintain body temperature.  This maintenance level of energy is considered the basal metabolic rate. In general, when we refer to “maintenance” levels it usually refers to a mature horse (not growing) that is not in any work, breeding, reproducing or under any weather stressors. But that isn’t very realistic because as we all know there are “easy keepers” and “hardkeepers” with very different “maintenance “needs.

So, in reality this amount of maintenance energy is really related to body size and disposition, for example a hot 17 hand thoroughbred will have a higher energy requirement than a laid back Shetland pony.

Equine Nutrition Nerd_Horse and Shetland standing next to each other in front of white background

In 2007, The National Research Council (NRC) finally updated The Nutrient Requirements of the Horse (the nutrition bible) and they added three levels of “maintenance”; high-level (think hard keeper), medium level and low level (think easy keeper).

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Choke in Horses

All Choked Up_EquineNutritionNerd

Green slobber, gasping horse, frantic owner.  An episode of choke is one of the worst things a horse and horse owner can experience.

As an equine nutrition nerd I deal with all kinds of feeding programs and in every type I have heard of an incident of a horse choking.  Heck horses can even choke on long grass. With that said, let’s look deeper in to “Need-to-Knows” about equine esophageal choke.

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Good Articles About Nutrition from EcoEquine

I have decided to re-post on my site the nutrition-related posts from Laura’s blog EcoEquine.  She has decided to blog about Farm Sustainability and General Horse Health while I blog about equine nutrition (which only makes sense).  Just click the picture below to go to that article.

Peace & Good Feed,

~The Nerd

Happy Horse Healthy Planet.Ways of Hay

Happy Horse Healthy Planet.Hay Tips

Happy Horse Healthy Planet.Slow_Feeders_Blog

Older horse

HELP! There’s a garbage can in my horse!

HappyHorseHealthyPlanet_Horse Digestive Tract

You have probably read a million articles about how equine digestion works.  You’ve also probably seen the illustrations showing the parts in detail.  Have you ever looked at your horse however and wondered what exactly is where? 

I present at a lot of seminars and nutrition is a favorite topic.  I have discovered that if I use a fun way to engage the audience that I am able to teach this difficult concept at the same time.  It starts with a trip to Home Depot. Yup, you read it right.  Home Depot.

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