Using Forageplus™ horse feed service is easy. Horse owners can use the best ‘forage focused’™ approach without any kind of grass, hay or haylage analysis testing or you can use our range of forage testing services for a more bespoke horse feed service.
Why use horse feed matched to grass and hay?
Horse feeds have traditionally used a broad-spectrum approach to scatter gun the whole range of minerals, vitamins and amino acids needed in the daily horse diet. Here at Forageplus™, we have used our scientific knowledge of grass, hay and haylage to ask the question, what is in this greatest proportion of the diet? We answered this question through extensive scientific forage analysis.
Our horse feeding approach addresses and targets only the common imbalances in forage as matched to the scientific analysis of forage and the ratios and levels set by the Nutritional Research Council and the Requirements for Horses. We are now recognised for maintaining optimum health in all horses from the very youngest to the best performance horses.
We are forage focused from beginning to end because we know this works better than the broad spectrum vitamin and mineral premix approach. We know that horse feed can never be the best if it is not matched to grass, hay and haylage, the forage, in the horse’s daily diet.
We always start with the greatest proportion of a horse’s diet which is grass, hay or haylage and work forwards from there. It is clear that using the Nutritional Research Council minimums, at the same time as looking at that which is contained in grass, hay or haylage, results in a horse diet balanced so that an excess of one mineral does not block the absorption of another.
If you are reading this, then you are a horse owner who has realised that it is fundamental for optimum horse health to feed balanced horse vitamins and minerals to horses. As a company, Forageplus have answered the question of how to best feed a horse by being in a unique position. We have taken the results of thousands of forage analyses, sampled from grass, hay and haylage all over the UK and Europe, and created the best-balanced horse feed system you will find.
Does a broad spectrum approach balance horse diets?
The answer to this question is probably not!
We say probably not because currently most commercial balancers and feeds have vitamin and mineral premixes added which are broad spectrum. The broad spectrum approach adopts a different strategy to the forage focused one. This approach is very much a broad, scatter-gun method supplementing all the minerals a horse is believed to need at low levels as determined by NRC daily minimum levels.
We say it probably not because it depends what levels of nutrients are already contained in forage. Forage is where horses get the greatest amounts of minerals and vitamins and so levels in grass, hay or haylage determine the levels needed to be supplemented.
There are bagged feeds on the market too that are just natural products such as grass nuts and forage cubes, beet pulp, alfalfa pellets and hay chops. These feeds are usually not fortified with any minerals and vitamins and although excellent feeds are not balanced. If in doubt read the white label to check the analysis of the horse feeds you feed to check exactly whether it is fortified or not.
A feed or supplement can only be said to be balanced if it is balanced to the levels of nutrients in forage. If the bag says balanced what that truly means is that it is only balanced to itself and the minimum daily levels of nutrients advised by the Nutritional Research Council data.
If the grass, hay or haylage your horse eats is not high in iron, not high in manganese, and not high in calcium then the broad spectrum approach is likely to work. If on the other hand the forage your horse eats is high in these minerals then you may find that you need more to support a healthy horse into ripe old age.
What is the best horse feed approach?
Our research into forage all over the UK and Europe supports a more forage focused approach because we find that levels of calcium are either perfect or too high. Levels of iron and manganese are usually high which results in the locking up of crucial minerals such as copper and zinc. Careful balancing of minerals such as phosphorous and magnesium are also needed as too much calcium will block the absorption of both these very important major minerals. Other minerals such as iodine and selenium are often low so a horse feed supplementation system which pays attention to the results of scientific analysis is essential.
What about feeding a good doer horse?
Lastly the probably not answer depends upon how much you are feeding of a concentrate bagged feed or feed balancer. This is especially true with the good doer or poor doer horse.
Many owners find they can’t can’t feed enough feed because the feed energy (calories) contained in the feed contributes to making their horse overweight. Too little of these concentrate feeds will lead to a deficiency of minerals, vitamins and protein.
Where a horse needs more calories to boost weight, the amounts needed are likely to over supplement nutrients. In either scenario, which are both very common horse owners feel, that they cannot feed recommended feeding amounts. For all horses from good doers to those needing more weight an approach which separates calories from nutrients is the best.
Feeding only the minerals, vitamins and amino acids is achieved with a forage focused approach. This system can target nutrients low in forage by carrying them in an amount of feed matched to the energy and calorie needs of the horse. It is a different way to feed but it certainly is the best one!
When is it useful to use a forage focused horse feed approach?
For all horses regardless of age, work level or health status, we know that the best horse feeds should always start with the greatest proportion of the diet. When you match what is needed to this then you cover the basics and upon the basics, true health and resilience will be built.
We are experts in helping feed horses when they are:
- prone to laminitis or good doer horses
- needing help to control weight gain or weight loss
- foals or young, growing and developing into adult horses
- pregnant or lactating mares
- prone to gastric ulcers
- needing help to support hoof and skin health
- needing help to support liver health
- in moderate to heavy performance work
- needing help to support lung health
- require support and development of muscles and topline
- leisure horses
We will guide you carefully to feed exactly the horse feed your horse needs for optimum health. This means making sure calorie needs, protein (amino acids)and all the minerals and vitamins needed for a healthy horse are present and balanced at the right levels.
Balance is everything. Achieve balance and you move towards achieving optimum, vibrant and resilient health.
How do you use our forage focused horse feed system?
You can use our approach in two ways:
- Start with our forage focused horse feed balancers if you are unable to analyse the grass, hay or haylage your horse eats.
- Start with analysis of grass, hay or haylage and customise a horse feed plan unique to your horse in his/her environment.
How to start with our forage focused horse feed balancers
Don’t worry if you are not in a situation to carry out an analysis of your forage because we can help you with our range of unique, Forage Focused Balancers. These balancers have been formulated, to match the common deficiencies as matched to ratios in forage, from the hundreds of forage reports we have on our files. The best horse feed nutrition is based on science, statistics and an understanding of the profile of the greatest portion of the horse’s diet which is forage.
Our horse feed balancers are essential for those unable to use forage analysis to check optimum levels of vitamins and minerals needed to be supplemented to horses. They are also a brilliant base for those matching to a scientific analysis of the grass or hay eaten by a horse.
Our range of balancers addresses all categories of horses and all needs. They have been formulated with careful attention to the common imbalances in forage as matched to the scientific analysis of forage. The formulations address the ratios and levels set by the Nutritional Research Council and the Requirements for Horses. The ingredients look a little different from the broad spectrum balancers on the market but Forageplus horse balancers are the next generation in best horse feeding.
We believe less is more so we don’t add ingredients that your horse does not need because they are already supplied in the daily diet. We believe our horse feed balancers should be filler and additive-free. You won’t find soya, wheat or other unnecessary bulking out agents in any of our horse feed supplements.
All our balancers are formulated to be low in sugar and starch and completely suitable for all horses and ponies prone to laminitis.
All our balancers are the lowest iron level we can make it or you will find on the market. Iron needs to be low in horse diets for the best long-term health and resilience.
Horse owners can use our forage focused equine balancers without any kind of analysis.
How to start with analysis of forage and customise a horse feed plan
Forageplus™ can devise bespoke horse feed plans using forage analysis of grass, hay and haylage. We have extensive experience in calculating horse feeding needs using scientific analysis and the daily nutrient levels set by the National Research Council for horses of all ages and types.
If you want a more bespoke horse feed service or to check that our equine balancers match the hay or grass you are feeding then just use the following steps. This approach is the best horse feed approach to optimise your horse’s diet with what he/she needs at the level of work being undertaken, age, breeding or health status.
We always work with customers so that if you have hard feed or supplement preferences we can accommodate these too. Our approach means that the vitamin and mineral supplements for horses are accurate and based not on a scattergun approach but actual figures related to scientific forage analysis.
When formulating a feed plan for you we may need both mineral and nutritional analysis if you want to be sure of maintaining your horse at the correct weight, have a horse in heavy work or have a horse where maintaining good health, healthy hooves and healthy muscles has been a challenge. Many customers however only need to carry out a full mineral analysis.
We will need horse details such as weight, age, health history and work level. You’ll find information on how to give us this in your document area after you purchase the analysis you need.
Your forage analysis report will advise you exactly which supplements you need and in what quantities. Our grass, hay and haylage reports include an explanation of the forage profile, feed suggestions unique to your horse on its forage and other information such as how much salt to feed for sweat loss whilst exercising.
When formulating horse feed suggestions for you we may need both mineral and nutritional analysis if you want to be sure of maintaining your horse at the correct weight, have a horse in heavy work or have a horse where maintaining good health, healthy hooves and healthy muscles has been a challenge. Many customers however only need to carry out a full mineral analysis especially where their horse’s main diet is summer grazing.
We are happy to work with customers to use whatever concentrate feed or separates suit them and their horse. We can also supply advice on what concentrates and bagged feed will match your forage mineral profile including information on amounts to feed depending on the work level and age of your horse.
Where forage results do not match our balancers we can give you a choice of feeding by the scoop or by batch mix or a combination of scoops and a balancer. We will supply the scoops you need and instructions on how to create your custom supplement using separate minerals and vitamins.
Purchase the scientific analysis you require e.g. nutritional analysis, mineral analysis, hay analysis etc. (The reports take around 10-14 days to be completed) or send us a copy of the one you have had carried out elsewhere.
Read the instructions on how to take a representative sample on the download in your account area
Follow the link on the document in your download area and fill out the horse questionnaire.
Let us create your bespoke forage report and feed suggestions from the results and information you give us about your horse. We will interpret the report figures and calculate a nutritional horse feed programme matched to the forage for your horse’s health, weight and work level.
We will upload your forage report and horse feeding suggestions in your document area.
Download the report document and read the information related to your horse and your forage.
Purchase the correct minerals and supplements to match to the forage your horse eats.
You can ask as many questions as you like about the report. We see you as the most important member of your horse’s team. When you are happy we are happy.