Feeding A Rescued Miniature Horse


“I have a 1 year 2 month old miniature horse that I rescued from a kill auction when he was 6 months old. My daughters show him at horse shows. I have a couple questions and concerns I was hoping I could get some answers or some insight from you, I just want to make sure I am feeding him properly and not depriving him of some nutrition. I am currently feeding Tribute Kalm N Ez plus GC. Which was recommended to me from some other friends that own Miniature horses. My little man has a hay belly look to him, He has been dewormed and I do an egg count on him every couple months. He is currently being fed 1/4 cup of grain twice a day and fed 1/2 flake 3 times a day. He is turned out in a pasture with a pony buddy that has very limited grass in it so they do have some hay thrown out in pasture with them as well. Due to him being shown I have been trying to figure out a way to get the pregnant look to go away, so any advice is welcomed. I was told by some people that he has the hay belly because he eats to much hay (before I started making u bags with half a flake of hay, barn staff would throw in about 1-2 flakes per feeding) and other people telling me he is not getting enough protein, I feed him Dac Orange vitamin and mineral supplement along with his grain. I would like to get advice from a more educated person that knows what’s best for them, I’m really desperate to make sure I am feeding him properly as we would really like the nice tummy tuck on him versus looking pregnant. He does get light training daily which ranges from arena work with setting up for halter class and trotting to some days of cantering/trotting for 30 mins in the round pen.”

Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella:
It sounds like you are working on hard to provide your miniature horse the best for his health. The low starch grain is a good choice for him, as they do have a tendency to develop metabolic disorders. As far as the hay belly goes, consider the type of hay that he is being fed, it could be that if it is low in protein (under 10% CP) that it is part of the cause to the hay belly. Typically, wherever you buy your hay they can provide you with the Crude Protein analysis. He might also be an easy keeper and its would push towards the limit feeding like you have switched to. The thing to be careful about is that equines are supposed to graze continuously throughout the day. By feeding him three times a day you are helping him. Also, be careful to not let him have too much access to green grass because miniatures are very susceptible to laminitis. For your vitamin/mineral supplement I would recommend switching to Horse Guard. It will provide your miniature horse with more selenium which aids in immunity, and overall health. It is supplemented on a weight basis, one ounce per 500 lbs and a 2 ounce scoop is included. So, for example, if your miniature weighs 250lbs you would feed him 1/4 of a scoop.

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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