Do I Need a Horse Nutritional or a Horse Mineral Analysis or Both?

Last Updated: | By Sarah Braithwaite, Author & Horse Health Expert

If you want a horse nutritional analysis or a horse mineral analysis to test horse grass, hay or haylage then Forageplus™ can answer your questions.

Horse nutritional analysis horse mineral analysis - Forageplus

Horse Nutritional Analysis

In general you would be interested in a horse nutritional analysis of the forage fed if your horse is:

A horse nutritional analysis is useful if you need to know the feed value (calories), sugar/starch and protein levels of your forage. You would not need a nutritional analysis if your horse is maintaining weight, is not sensitive to starch and sugar levels in the diet, maintains good muscle mass and is in work up to a moderate level. If you suspect your protein levels to be low a nutritional analysis can be extremely useful to determine the quality of the protein in your forage and reveal the levels contained in your hay or haylage. Often hay and haylage is poor in protein and knowing how much protein you need to supplement in the diet is very important for many horses, especially those which are growing, breeding or working hard.

Where a horse needs to lose weight a horse nutritional analysis is crucial to determine just how much hay you need to feed for weight loss and also if protein levels will be covered at this feed rate for maintenance of health.

Where a horse is breeding or growing a nutritional analysis is crucial to determine if enough protein is provided in the hay.  Often even with a bucket feed because protein levels for breeding and young horses need to be around 11% protein is under supplemented and then affects the maintenance of health.

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Horse Mineral Analysis

It is desirable for all horse owners to know the mineral status of their forage, grass, hay or haylage as the only truly healthy way to feed your horse for optimum health is to target only those minerals which are known to be deficient. You cannot tell the nutritional and mineral value of any forage by looking at it, smelling it or guessing, they only way to truly tell is to test it.

Although all forage is deficient in certain minerals it is determining which minerals are in excess which is really very important.  Traditionally horse feed and supplements have adopted a broad spectrum approach where a scatter gun tactic supplements all minerals that a horse might need.  However this broad spectrum approach fails to recognise that many minerals such as calcium, iron and manganese are over supplemented in the horse’s diet and serve to block the uptake of other minerals which are commonly deficient. By testing forage for mineral value you can look at both the frank deficiencies as matched to NRC daily requirements and you can also look at the relative deficiencies that are caused by in correct ratios of minerals between each other.

Remember when you test horse grass, hay or haylage samples they have to be representative. If you can’t do this then consider using one of our ‘forage focused™’ horse feed balancers which have been formulated against statistical analysis of the hundreds of forage samples we tested for our clients. Our balancers are nutritionally focused supplements rather than broad spectrum, cover the usual deficiencies in UK forage and are matched to NRC minimums and ratios.

More about our analysis services for horses here

More about our forage focused™ equine balancers here

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