Feeding A Healthy Diet To My Minis


“I have two mini’s both of which have been foundered (one of them has cushings). I’m concerned about whether I’m feeding them correctly. I’d been told by a farrier to feed them just grass hay but I’v also included in their daily ration a little apple and vitamins. Im’ wondering if this diet is too resisted as they always seem to be hungry and a little lethargic. Recently I read on the internet that insulin-resistant horses should be eating Timothy or Orchard grass, low-fat, low-carb., high protein pellets and some grass. As this goes against everything I was told I’m looking for advice on what would be a good safe nutritious diet to feed them.”

Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella:
Minis are very prone to metabolic disorders. They typically only need grass hay, with at least 8% protein which timothy and orchard grass both have, and a vitamin-mineral supplement. Depending on where you are located, there are warm season grass hays, such as brome, that only provide 4-6% protein. I would recommend feeding them Horse Guard, adjusted to their weight, and allowing them access to a high-quality grass hay ad libitum. If they gain too much weight on free-choice hay, you may have to cut back on their hay consumption. The vitamin-mineral will provide them with nutrients that are typically lacking in hay, and is especially important for the mini with cushings. A few slices of apple are ok, however, they do contain a lot of sugar so feed them very sparingly. As far as green grass, AVOID it. Green grass is high in sugar and is not recommended for horses that have foundered.

Horse Guard


About Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S.

Kelsey J. Nonella, Ph.D. is an equine nutritionist who was riding horses before she could walk. Her love for horses drives her to help educate people on what their horses’ needs in order to have happy, healthy horses. Kelsey went to Cal Poly receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science and then onto West Texas A&M, where she got her Masters and eventually her Doctorates in Equine Science. At A&M, Dr. Nonella did extensive research on Selenium within horses. Click here to view her research. Kelsey’s colleagues have mentioned her as one of the United States equine Selenium experts.
View all posts by Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S.

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