Is My Miniature Horse Getting Enough Protein?


“I would like to know if you could tell me how much protein should a growing yearling miniature should be getting? I’m wondering if I am not giving him enough protein in his grain and that could potentially be a reason for the bloated belly look. He gets worked for about 30 mins a day (15 mins trot/canter both directions) and a nice walk after to cool down. yet he doesn’t have much muscle build up. So wondering if maybe he isn’t getting proper protein to use to build muscle up. I think that’s my main concern to make sure I’m feeding correct amount of grain and hay. Please let me know what you b would recommend feeding a yearling mini that is about 34 inches around 225lbs.”

Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella:
Although there are not requirements for miniatures, it is recommended to use horse requirements as guidelines. For yearlings, researchers recommend 14-16% protein diets. Your current grain is 14% protein. I wouldn’t increase the amount due to miniature tendency to founder. I would recommend selecting a hay high in protein and feeding him 1.5-2% of his bodyweight in hay. You consider adding an extruded soybean product, a high protein feed, that will also ensure he is receiving adequate amounts of lysine. Good luck.

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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