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Feeding and Management of Young Horses

Foal eating hay in a field.

Proper feeding and management of weanling and yearling horses is essential to the development of successful equine athletes. Here are four tips towards producing a sound and successful athlete:

  1. Vaccination and de-worming programs - A regular vaccination and de-worming schedule is essential to the health of young horses, as parasite infestation or illness can reduce the effectiveness of the best nutrition. a program should be developed with the guidance and advice of a veterinarian.
  2. Diet - A well designed program balances the intake of energy, protein (amino acids), minerals and vitamins to produce the desired growth rate. Imbalances such as deficiency or excesses can contribute to developmental problems.
  3. Fat - Properly fortified added-fat feeds with 12%-14% protein can be used at 0.75-1.5 lbs per 100 lb bodyweight, along with good quality forage.
  4. Vitamins - Young horses subjected to stress may benefit from higher vitamin levels, particularly vitamin E, if they are not receiving any green grass. Vitamin E may also be beneficial in reducing the risk of muscle soreness and tying-up problems.