Miniature horses are just as their name states. These horses are accustomed to a diet that involves mainly grains and different types of grass, but they are allowed treats. Here is your guide to feeding your miniature horse and other beneficial information.
Yes, miniature horses can eat apples. These horses can also eat carrots, but they should be eaten sparingly. Mini horses are known for enjoying their treats, including breakfast cereal, soda, candy, and other junk foods, but they should only be given these foods occasionally.
Your Miniature Horse’s Body Condition Score
Before you can determine how much grain and hay to feed your miniature horse, you need to confirm your horse’s body condition score. Determine if your miniature horse is too skinny, too fat, or close to its target weight.
In general, miniature horses should have a minimum body condition score of 5. To determine your horse’s body condition score, evaluate the physical condition and appearance of your horse. Check your horse to see if:
- Its back is leveled
- There are no noticeable fat deposits around the top of the neck (crest)
- No evident fat deposits around the withers
- No noticeable fat deposits around the base of the tail
- Its ribs are easily felt, but not showing
Feeding Your Miniature Horse
Forage and Hay
Your miniature horse needs at least one percent of its body weight in high-quality forage. If you prefer, you can make half of your horse’s diet forage. Weigh your miniature horse using an animal scale or a weight tape. When you’re buying hay for your miniature horse, purchase feed mixed with green alfalfa grass. You can also use high-quality grass hay. Make sure you purchase enough hay to last the entire season.
On average, a typical miniature horse weighs 200 pounds. You need to give your horse between two and four pounds of forage each day. The quality of hay is determined by the way it is harvested. If you’re interested in optimal nutrition for your miniature horse, purchase second-cutting hay.
The best hay for your miniature horse is leafy, fine, soft hay. Avoid using coarse hay if possible. Your miniature horse needs a minimum of one-third and a maximum of one-half of a flake of superior quality grass mixed hay or alfalfa-grass mixed hay. If you choose not to use either of these hays, find hay that is of equal or higher quality. Hay flakes vary in size and are determined by its thickness. A flake of hay should range between 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.
When you’re feeding your miniature horse, do not put the feed directly on the ground. If your miniature horse is eating from the bare ground, he could consume sand or dirt, which can result in colic, which can make your miniature horse grumpy and aggravated.
If your miniature horse is overweight and you intend to leave him access to the pasture for an extended period, place a grazing muzzle on your horse to prevent overeating. Limit your horse’s access to fields during the early spring and avoid laminitis.
Hay is the primary staple of your miniature horse’s diet, but grains are also an essential part of their meals. Grains can help supplement your horse’s energy requirements as well as provide balance for a variety of nutrients, including vitamins, proteins, and minerals. Your miniature horse needs a grain mix concentrate. Before you purchase a specific concentrate for your horse, make sure it’s designed for your horse’s age, production status, and workload.
An adult miniature horse only requires a maximum of 12 percent of protein in their total diet. The protein source can include grain and forage. Younger miniature horses, weanlings, and yearlings need between 12 and 14 percent total protein in their diet. Take the proper precautions when you’re feeding your horse. If you plan on including grain in your miniature horse’s diet, feed him small amounts of grain throughout the day.
Make sure you are feeding your horse according to its weight and not by volume. Weigh the grain to ensure you’re not overfeeding your horse. A single pound of grain should be divided into two feedings, which is enough food for the average miniature horse. Some miniature horses will need to be fed more food, but this factor will depend on the horse’s body condition score.
Like all living things, miniature horses require fresh water daily. The water’s temperature should range between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The water should be lukewarm. Your miniature horse needs at least five gallons of freshwater each day. The amount of water a miniature horse consumes can vary depending on its reproductive status and the weather.
You want your miniature horse to look and feel its best. Giving your horse flax seed helps promote a shiny coat. Flaxseed can be found at any health food store. Feed your miniature horse, a leveled teaspoon of flaxseed mixed with a little bit of grain once each day. When you’re giving your horse flax seed, do not give him any other types of oil, including corn oil. If you prefer, corn oil can be used as an alternative for flaxseed. To help prevent your horse from becoming overweight, reduce the amount of grain you feed your horse.
Trace Salt Minerals
Tace salt minerals are essential for keeping your horse healthy and hydrated while they are grazing and enjoying the fresh air in the pasture, especially during hot temperatures. This salt helps replace the electrolytes your horse loses throughout the day due to sweating. Trace mineral salt is also good because it provides your horse with macrominerals and microminerals that are required for your horse’s overall health.
Other Factors You Should Consider As A Miniature Horse Owner
Your horse’s dental health is essential for its overall health. Miniature horses have large teeth and small jaws, which makes them susceptible to a variety of dental problems. Make sure your horse has their teeth examined at least once per year. A miniature horse’s teeth change rapidly during their older years. Your horse’s teeth need to be examined more frequently when they are 5 years old or younger and 12 years old and older. Watch for different dental issues that can cause your horse pain and discomfort and possibly lead to other problems, such as weight loss. Dental issues that should concern you include abscesses, teeth with sharp points, and other problems that can be challenging for your horse to grind their food.
Parasite and Disease Control
Miniature horses need to be dewormed regularly. You will also need to use parasite control products. Deworming and parasite controlling products are available at feed and tack stores. If your horse is hosting a parasite, they will have a rough hair coat and a potbelly. In some situations, your horse’s ribs will be visible. To prevent pain and discomfort, keep your horse on a regular deworming schedule. The recommended schedule for deworming is every 6 to 8 weeks. To ensure your deworming efforts are effective, a veterinarian should perform a fecal flotation test annually, two weeks after you deworm your horse.
Caring for a miniature horse requires time and effort from the owner like any living animal. These horses are a joy to have, and their upkeep is not as tricky as other animals. With the proper care and love, miniature horses will be there to greet you and keep you company for many years.