Frequently Asked Questions
Feeding After Weaning
What should I feed a fully weaned 7 month old native foal (due to make 13hh when adult)?
The nutrient needs of the growing horse are somewhat different to that of a mature adult horse. It is vital that young horses receive optimal levels of all vitamins and minerals. Good quality protein is also essential to ensure that they grow and develop correctly. It is important that young ponies are provided with adequate but not excessive amounts of energy (calories) in the diet, which could lead to developmental problems. The best way to judge youngster’s energy requirements is to monitor and condition score them regularly; you should aim to be able to just see their ribs. They will look leggy.
If your youngster is currently in good condition I would recommend that you feed him Foal Mix, which has been specifically designed for native pony foals who maintain weight easily. As a guide a foal aged 11months with an expected mature weight of 350kg would require approximately 1kg of Foal Mix per day in order to meet vitamin and mineral requirements. You may also like to consider feeding some Alfalfa Chaff as this is an excellent source of both quality protein and calcium. This is particularly useful during the winter when the grass is poor.
Once your foal is a year old I would suggest you gradually replace the Foal Mix with Mare & Youngstock Mix, which has been specifically formulated to be fed to native types between the ages of 1 to 3 years. Mare & Youngstock Mix provides:
- good quality protein
- all the essential minerals, vitamins and trace elements required for normal growth and development
- fortified with more concentrated levels of minerals and vitamins than a conventional stud feed, which makes it ideal for low feeding rate
- particularly useful for native breeds, part-breds and warmbloods because they generally hold their weight easily and do not require as much concentrate feed as a Thoroughbred foal.
The quantity needed will depend on his growth rate, pasture quality and quantity. However, as a guide for a 1 year old that is expected to mature to 13hh and approximately 350kg, feed 1kg per day in order to meet his vitamin and mineral requirements. Split this daily quantity in to at least 2 feeds. You should continue to provide adequate amounts of hay or haylage and turn-out when possible. Ideally you should aim to feed little and often, remember that young horse's stomachs are relatively small. You should try to split a youngster’s daily ration into at least 2/3 feeds per day.
Grazing and turnout is very important for young ponies but the quality and quantity of good grass is an additional factor that should always be taken into account. Therefore condition score your youngster each week and adjust his diet if required; do contact the Dodson & Horrell Helpline on 0845 345 2627 for detailed advice.