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The responsibility of providing the best start for a young horse must start with the health of the mare even before she is pregnant by feeding a breeding horse balancer according to a ‘forage focused’™ approach.
We believe the best place to start, when feeding a mare horse balancer, is with the grass or hay they eat so all our balancers are designed to compliment a ‘forage focused’™ feeding system.
What Feed does a Breeding Mare Need?
A breeding mare needs vitamins and minerals matched to the grass and hay eaten for the whole of her pregnancy and then also for the lactation period.
For the first two trimesters, a pregnant mare will be fed as a normal adult horse. We advise that all pregnant mares are fed our Hoof and Skin Health Balancer up to around 7 months of pregnancy and at least 6 months before conception. This will allow a mare horse balancer with good reserves of commonly deficient minerals which will affect the development of the unborn foetus.
All breeding mares that do not have access to 6 hours or more spring or summer grazing should also be fed micronised linseed to provide adequate levels of essential omega 3 fat in their daily diet and fed the winter version of the Hoof and Skin Health Balancer.
It is only in the last trimester that things need to change and cater for the increased growth of the foetus.
Feeding the Pregnant Mare in the Last Trimester
Ideally, as you approach the last trimester you need to carry out a forage analysis test of the grass or hay the mare will be eating. This means accurate feeding requirements can be determined and a breeding horse feed balancer matched to forage so that both the mare and foal can be provided with optimal nutrition throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
Deficiencies of certain nutrients and excesses of others mean that foal health can be compromised not just in the short term but into adulthood too so really knowing what is contained in the pregnant mare’s diet is crucial.
If you can’t test either the grass or hay then we advise that the best breeding horse feed balancer is to feed the mare (400-600kg) of Working Young Horse Winter Horse Feed Balancer at 250 grams per day with the additional salt, magnesium and lysine amounts listed below so you have the nutritional basics covered.
10 grams salt (table, sea or rock salt but weigh to get the 10 grams and then use an appropriate scoop)
3 x 10 ml scoops of Magnesium Oxide
1 x 10 ml scoop of Lysine
This horse feed balancer provides the best mineral profile for this category of horse. By the time many pregnant horses get to the last trimester, they may be on spring grazing. So as long as the mare has more than 6 hours of good grazing then feed the Working Young Horse Summer version with the above additions included as well.
You might also want to feed some extra protein at 50-100 grams per day to boost protein which is needed in high amounts in the last trimester. This could be whey, pea or Topline Plus protein which you can find stocked here.
The inclusion of a high protein bucket feed in the form of alfalfa, beet pulp, wheat bran and oats may also be required if the mare has access to reduced or poor pasture.
For horses below or above the 400-600kg rate stated above please contact us for more information.
Feeding the Lactating Mare
Again if testing the grass and hay eaten is not possible you can continue to feed the above balancer and additional nutrients.
If the mare is off good grazing and on older type hay which is not particularly green then consider feeding 30,000 IU of vitamin A per day and the winter version of the balancer for the Vitamin E content. Vitamin A can just be given as human soft gel capsules from a health food shop. Also, feed 42 grams per 220 kg of body weight of Linseed as a minimum to ensure correct omega 3 levels.
How do we Know What a Breeding Mare Needs to be Fed?
We reference the NRC (2007) levels for breeding mares and are very concerned that mineral ratios are matched to the common deficiencies we see through statistical analysis of the thousands of samples of forage we test.
Our approach is always ‘forage focused’™ as we believe that this is the way to provide optimum nutrition for breeding mares.
Forageplus Horse Feed Balancers
All our horse feed balancers are designed to be added to a bucket feed of the owner’s choice. By adding Forageplus horse feed balancers you can be sure that your horse always has the Minerals and Vitamins needed to support the health of both the mare and foal whether you need to feed a large or small concentrate feed.
All Forageplus horse feed balancers contain no fillers, contain no sugar or starch and only the highest purity Minerals and Vitamins.
With our expertise and knowledge of forage from all over the UK and Europe, we can definitely help you steer a path towards the best foal possible.
Feeding a Horse Feed Balancer
Want to know the best way to feed our horse feed balancers? Check out our handy video, along with the best tips here.