The Horse Nutrition Handbook

The Horse Nutrition Handbook

by Melyni Worth Ph.D.


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Proper nutrition is the most important contributor to equine health and well-being. Responsible horsekeepers feed their animals a healthful, nutritionally balanced diet portioned out in quantities that suit the age, size, and activity level of each horse. Thriving horses that stay healthy and strong into old age are those whose nutritional needs are being met.

Leading equine nutritionist Melyni Worth explains the many ways in which diet affects a horses health, temperament, and performance, and then goes on to provide a detailed study of equine nutritional requirements. Horse owners will understand the roles played by fats, proteins, minerals, electrolytes, and vitamins and will learn how to evaluate weight and overall well-being and plan a corresponding diet. Year-by-year concerns are addressed here, as well as the specific needs of brood mares, performance horses, and other working animals. Worth also stresses the importance of giving horses plenty of access to pasture and explains the benefits of additives and herbal supplements.

Common health problems such as colic, cribbing, and ulcers can often be corrected through a change in diet. Worth discusses possible solutions and also helps owners of horses with more complicated health needs. Challenges such as insulin resistance, Cushings disease, metabolic bone disorder, and tying-up syndrome can all be managed or improved by carefully monitoring the horses feed.

Comprehensive and authoritative, yet easy to understand, The Horse Nutrition Handbook is the essential reference for everyone who owns or cares for a horse. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603425414
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 05/05/2010
Pages: 245
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, Melyni Worth, Ph.D., is a consultant and writer in equine nutrition and exercise physiology. She has trained horses and riders for 28 years. Her company, Foxden Equine, specializes in products that assist horses and riders to attain and maintain athletic performance.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Basics of Equine Digestion 1

Nature's Plan for Feeding Horses

Carbohydrate ABCs

Domestication Brought Drastic Changes

How the Horse Digests His Food

The Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract

2 All about Nutrients 15





Producing Energy for Muscles

Protein Basics


Electrolytes 101

Microminerals: Less Is Best


3 What to Feed and Why 60

Forage Feeds

Hay is for Horses

Silage and Haylage

Chopped-Hay Options

All about Concentrates

Other Sources of Fiber

Commercial Blends

Protein: What and Why

Sources of Fat

Supplementation for Specialized Diets

4 Designing a Balanced Feeding Program 95

Feed Analysis

Calculating Rations: The Basics

Practical Applications: Dobbin and Smokey Joe

General Feeding Advice

Basic Feeding and Management Guidelines

5 Feeding for a Lifetime 124

Equine Body Condition Scoring System

Life-Stage Requirements

6 Feed Storage and Feeding Tips 142

Storing Grain

Storing Hay

Feeding Grain and Hay

Feeding Tips

Feeding Checklist

7 Pasture Management 153

Identifying Good Pasture

Turnout for Exercise and Grazing

Hay Pasture

Pasture Plants

8 Diets for Common Equine Disorders 164




Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


Cushing's Disease/PPID

Equine Metabolic Syndrome/Insulin Resistance

Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP)

Hypokalemic Diaphragmatic Shudder (Thumps)

Joint Disease

Laminitis and Founder

Metabolic Bone Disease


Excess Weight

Pigment Loss

Toxins in Feed

Tying-up Syndrome




Appendix 1 Weight/Unit Volume 212

Appendix 2 Conversions 213

Appendix 3 Nutrition Contained in Feed 214

Appendix 4 Feed Requirements for Horses 216

Appendix 5 Seasonal Management Calendar 218

Appendix 6 Horse Anatomy 219

Glossary 220


Recommended Reading 234

Periodicals 234

Commercial Laboratories 234

Products & Services 235

Web Sites & Other Sources 236

Index 237

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