Daily Calorie Requirement
Your horse’s appearance is important, but it’s not the only way to know if you are feeding the correct amount. There are many feeds that could be appropriate for your horse, but they have different calorie counts. You want to choose one you can feed at the appropriate rate. Feed too little and your horse may be missing out on important nutrients. Feed too much and it’s a sign you may not be using the feed that best fits your horse, and you should switch to a more efficient option (and maybe save money along the way!)
Below is your horse’s total daily calorie requirement based on their lifestyle and weight. Calories from forage are shown in the gray bar and quantity of additional calories to be supplied from feed (if needed) are shown in the red bar.
Daily Calorie Requirement
Calories From Forage
Feed Calories Needed
Feeding rates recommended for concentrate feeds are based on feeding with good quality grass hay, estimated at 800 kcal/lb.
Make feed changes gradually over 7-10 days. Clean, fresh water and salt should be available at all times.
Feeding less than the minimum recommended feeding rate indicated on the product feeding directions may result in essential nutrient deficiencies. If less than the minimum recommended feeding rate is needed to maintain body weight, switch to a ration balancer
When feeding hay along with a complete feed, reduce amount of feed by approximately 1 lb of feed for every 2-3 lbs of hay offered. If feeding less than 0.6 lbs per 100 lbs body weight daily, then supplement with a ration balancer or Free Balance 12:12 mineral.
How to I convert to my results to quarts?
All feeds weigh a slightly different amount per quart. The results above are given by weight. We recommend using a scale, or you can consult this PDF for quart densities of Purina feeds.
What if these amounts seem high?
The above feed amounts are calculated based on calorie requirements for the average horse at that weight and activity level. Your horse may be ‘easier keeping’ or have a slower metabolism than the average. Or you may be underestimating forage intake or overestimating their workload. Feel free to adjust, but if you fall below 0.3% of bodyweight in concentrate feed intake, switch to a ration balancer.
Why do some of these results seem low?
Purina feeds are calorie and nutrient-dense and you may find that you can feed less to maintain body condition and performance when compared to other feeds or straight grains. Additionally, if a ration balancer or low amount of concentrate feed was recommended to your horse who needs more calories, you may have: underestimated his workload, overestimated his hay intake, or he may have a higher metabolism than average.
How do I choose the right level of work for my performance horse?
The NRC (2007) defines exercise categories for the purpose of estimating calorie requirements as: Light = 1-3 hours per week; Moderate = 3-5 hours per week; Heavy = 4-5 hours per week; and Very Heavy = varies from 1 hours per week speed work to 6-12 hours per week slow work.These are generalizations and do not account for all combinations of work intensity and duration.
Calories and feed amounts aren’t all that matters when it comes to choosing the right feed for your horse’s unique needs. Use the Purina Feed Recommender and have confidence your horse is getting the right feed for their needs.Feed Recommender
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