Natural Horse Health - for a healthy body

Natural horse health covers many topics including feeding, supplements, natural horse remedies, herbs, alternative therapies, natural horse vets, horse vaccines and deworming.

Feeding for Natural Horse Health

Average calorific needs of a mature 1,100lb horse:

  • Maintenance: 16.4Mcal = 19lbs hay (approx 2% of body weight)
  • Breeding Stallion: 20.5Mcal = 25lbs hay
  • Mare, late pregnancy: 19.7Mcal = 23lbs hay
  • Mare, lactating (first 3 months): 28.3Mcal = 33lbs hay
  • Mare, lactating (after 3 months): 24.3Mcal = 28.5lbs hay
  • Light work: 20.5Mcal = 25lbs hay
  • Medium work: 24.6Mcal = 29lbs hay
  • Heavy work: 32.8Mcal = 38.5lbs hay

(from The Horse Journal: Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals by Eleanor Kellon, VMD) see sidebar.

Vitamins and Minerals

All horses need certain vitamins and minerals for a variety of body function and many are vital to good health. However, healthy horses on good pasture usually don't need any extra vitamins, except maybe for vitamin E if the horse is working very hard. But when horses are on a grass hay diet, supplementation of vitamin E at 1,000 IU per day is beneficial (2,000 IU if in hard work).

Minerals are slightly more complicated as they can compete with each other for absorption so they need to be feed in the correct amounts in relation to each other.

  • Ca:P (Calcium:Phosphorus) ratio should be between 2:1 and 1.2:1
  • Ca:Mg (Calcium:Magnesium) ratio should be 2:1
  • Cu:Fe (Copper:Iron) ratio should be 1:4
  • Cu:Zn:Mn (Copper:Zinc:Manganese) ratio should be between 1:3:3 to 1:5:5

Before supplementing any vitamins and minerals it is best to find out what amounts your horse is already getting through his current diet. To do this you can get your pasture and/or hay analyzed. See the article on supplements for more details. For more information on individual vitamins and minerals click here.

Herbs for horses

Herbs can be very beneficial for a range of conditions and illnesses. Below is a list of herbs that can be beneficial to your horse's health - click on the link to read more about each one.

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