The FeedSafeNZ Guide to Feeding Horses

March 25, 2024

Everything is on a big scale when it comes to horses. A horse’s teeth take up more space in its head than its brain and they also produce about 40 litres of saliva a day! They’ve also got giant hearts which help to supply energy for their large bodies. 

To keep their massive bodies fuelled, horses need a lot of high quality, nutritious food. Quality horse feed is the cornerstone of a balanced equine diet, providing the essential nutrients horses need to thrive and maintain health, performance, and longevity.

The Basics of Horse Nutrition

Like many other farm animals, horses are herbivores with digestive systems designed for foraging. That’s why a horse’s diet needs to consist of high-fiber forages with good-quality hay or pasture. Fiber is essential for horses to maintain healthy digestion, prevent colic, and promote dental health.

The Essential Nutrients Horses Need

Quality horse feed should provide the essential nutrients horses need which includes protein, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. 

Protein is vital for muscle development and repair. Essential amino acids, found in quality protein sources, are also crucial for supporting a horse’s metabolic processes.

Vitamins and minerals, like calcium, phosphorous, zinc and copper, also play key roles in maintaining bone health and immune system functions. 

Moderate use of carbohydrates, sourced from grains and forages, are a primary energy source for horses, helping to keep up with their high-demand energy needs. 


High-Quality Ingredients, High-Quality Horse Feed

High quality horse feed should include some of the following: 

  1. Forage-Based Ingredients: Look for feeds that include high-quality forage sources. Forages should make up a significant portion of the diet to mimic the horse’s natural grazing behavior.
  1. A Balanced Nutrient Profile: Well-formulated horse feeds will have the right balanced mix of protein, vitamins, and minerals to meet the unique nutritional requirements of horses at different life stages and activity levels.
  1. Digestible Fibers: Easily digestible fibers, such as beet pulp or soy hulls, can contribute to a healthy digestive system and provide additional energy.


When you get high-quality horse feed, you are investing in your horse’s health, wellbeing and performance. It’s important to understand the nutritional needs of horses so you can choose feeds with the optimal balance of nutrients and ensure your horses receive a balanced diet, for a vibrant and active life. If it has the FeedSafeNZ logo on the pack, you can be sure it’s nutritious and healthy for your horses.

Want to know more about FeedSafeNZ? Visit our About Us page to find out more about how we ensure high-quality feed for New Zealand farmers.

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