Equine nutrition seeks the same goal as other animal species: a better feed to raise healthy animals with improved performances. The only major difference: the performance sought is generally sportive, and therefore difficult to attribute to the diet alone.
Horses have special nutritional needs depending on their age, condition and activity.
New-born, the foal is fed on colostrum, breast milk which contains a large number of antibodies and hormones necessary for its growth. During the first 2 months of life, the foal gradually switches to a more mixed feed of forages and concentrates to support its optimal development.
In order to meet his needs, the ration must be balanced and forage-based. Minerals and vitamins can be added to the concentrates. A supplementary feed may also be used as long as it is adapted to breeders.
The energy requirements of a training horse are estimated between 1.4 and 2 times greater than those of the same horse in maintenance, according to the intensity of the effort.
Its ration is also particularly rich in proteins to promote the contractions of the muscle cells, and in fibres, essential for its intestinal transit.
The energy and protein requirements of the unmatched mare are those of a horse in maintenance during the first 5 months, then there is an increase of about 35% in energy requirements and 80-85% in proteins during the second half of gestation.
The demand for minerals and vitamins also increases very significantly.
The horse is considered “old” between 15 and 20 years old. The older horse has a greater sensitivity to ailments, autoimmune diseases and tumour affections.
As it gets older, the horse tends to lose weight. The ration will consist of fodder and concentrated feed. The forage must be palatable and dust-free. The digestibility of the ration and the supply of proteins are favoured.
The equine nutritionist and veterinarian work on the same issues: reproduction, digestion or even fighting against oxidative or behavioural stress.
Nutrition is one of the answers to achieve the well-being and performance objectives set by the users and owners of horses, whether amateur or professional, in the leisure, sport or breeding.
To address these issues, Nor-Feed has developed the following feed additives for horses: