Feeding Growing Horses

Feeding growing horses is simple.  Feed a high quality protein source (a pasture filled with a variety of ground plants or a supplement such as soybean meal that offers ALL of the essential amino acids) and enough supplemental ground plants in the form of pasture or hay to meet the caloric needs of growth.  Plenty of water and lots of sleep.  That is it.

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There are some concepts needed here.

  • All horses regardless of their age need to consume enough protein, starch and cellulose to meet their needs.
  • All horses of all ages conserve their amino acids to a degree and need only a limited amount of protein to replace the lost amino acids.
  • Young growing horses require more protein to build the connective tissue that is multiplying up until there is no more growth. At this point their protein requirements diminish to adult levels.
  • It is the feeding of protein that will cause satiation so if the protein needs are met then the carbohydrate and fat needs will also be met.  
  • Over feeding carbohydrates and fats while under feeding protein will cause rapid growth which in turn will cause developmental orthopedic disease (epiphysitis, contracted tendons, osteochondritis dissecans).  It will also later cause metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and obesity.

Feeding growing horses is simple.  Feed a high quality protein source (a pasture filled with a variety of ground plants or a supplement such as soybean meal that offers ALL of the essential amino acids) and enough supplemental ground plants in the form of pasture or hay to meet the caloric needs of growth.  Plenty of water and lots of sleep.  That is it.

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