Young horses need a properly balanced diet that supplies optimal amounts of energy and nutrients in order to help them achieve their genetic potential for sound growth. Because nutrition of the young, growing horse actually starts with the mare, please review the recommendations for feeding late pregnant mares and ensure that your mare is well fed. An adequate amount of energy, protein, amino acids (especially lysine), and required vitamins and minerals need to be supplied at the correct levels to reduce the risk of developmental problems.
Growing horses can encounter various management situations that may derail proper growth, such as long periods of stalling, poor pasture, feeding below the recommended amount of formulated feed, and even overfeeding (or overconsumption of calories). In these situations careful nutritional management and supplementation may aid in supporting healthy growth progress.
Young horses are at a particularly high risk for problems at key points in their development and management. These times include foaling, weaning, sales prep, sales, travel, and the onset of training.
Foaling is a very stressful time and a traumatic event for the foal. Supplementation with the antioxidant vitamin E will help support the immune system and guard against oxidative damage, and has been recommended by veterinarians for foals that suffer oxygen deficits at birth. Additionally, foals often experience bouts of diarrhea, for which a hindgut buffer may be recommended.
Weaning, sales prep, travel, and sale are all significant transitional periods that place young horses at risk for a multitude of problems that may include gastric ulcers, brought on by stress and change in management or diet. Gastric ulcers often contribute to growth slumps, as they can impact appetite as well as digestive efficiency. Young horses are also at increased risk for illness as they are under greater stress and may also have to adapt to new environments.
Young horses entering into training may be transitioned quickly from pasture with free-choice exercise to the restriction of a stall. This change can cause a decrease in bone mineralization that can be reversed with bone health supplementation. The changes in management and stress of travel and the new environment may also predispose the young athlete to gastric ulcers or hindgut acidosis.
Which solution is right for your horse?
DuraPlex®. Bone mineralization supplement. Ideal for horses that spend the bulk of their time stabled, including those transitioning to a management program that includes significant time spent stabled, those undergoing a convalescent period (lay-ups), and those that have sustained a bone injury or recovering from surgery.
EO•3™. Omega-3 supplement. EO•3 is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, compounds found to optimize the well-being of all horses, regardless of age or use. Choose EO•3 to support maintenance of pregnancy, colostrum quality, and passive transfer of antibodies to foals.
EquiShure®. Time-released hindgut buffer. Developed to combat hindgut acidosis, this innovative, one-of-a-kind delivery system allows for buffering of the hindgut, the site of fermentation in the horse. Appropriate for horses displaying certain signs such as reduced appetite, chronic mild to moderate colic of unexplained origin, poor feed efficiency, stereotypical behaviors, and loose manure. Recommended for horses receiving large grain meals as well as those grazing high-fructan pastures, especially those with a history of laminitis.
KER•Flex®. Oral joint supplement. KER•Flex contains a synergistic blend of glucosamine HCl and chondroitin sulfate to provide broad-spectrum support of joint health in a palatable powder. Choose KER•Flex when support of healthy joint cartilage for performance longevity is the primary goal.
Nano•E®. Nanodispersed, liquid natural-source vitamin E supplement. Nano•E provides a highly bioavailable natural (d-α-tocopherol), water soluble source of vitamin E to horses through a unique delivery system.
RiteTrac™. Total digestive tract support. A proprietary blend of ingredients designed to support total digestive tract health. Targeted at both the foregut and hindgut of the horse, RiteTrac works in two distinct ways. First, with its combination of fast-acting antacids and coating agents, RiteTrac quickly neutralizes excessive gastric acid, protecting the stomach lining and restoring the normal gastric environment. Second, RiteTrac contains EquiShure, a time-released hindgut buffer designed to act on the cecum and colon by minimizing the effects of subclinical hindgut acidosis.
Learn moreThe Young Years: Nutrition from Birth to Two Years of Age
Dietary Factors in Equine Developmental Orthopedic Disease
Feeding the Foal After Weaning
Feed Management for Weanling and Yearling Horses
Optimal Growth: The Importance of Monitoring Growth Rate