In the last year, over six thousand horse owners from all over North America used Mad Barn to analyze their horses’ diets.

We looked at diets for weanlings, broodmares, pasture pets, prize-winning racehorses, the odd mule, and everything in between.

We learned a lot from examining those feeding programs and hearing about horse owner’s common questions and concerns. For example, 38% of horse owners indicated that they were concerned about their horse’s hoof and joint health.

From your submissions, we have identified some big trends in feeding practices as well as simple ways to improve equine well-being through nutrition and management.

We also discovered some fun facts in the process:

  • The most common horse name among our sample set was Willow
  • The average horse age was 12.5 years old
  • The most common breed was Quarter Horses (26%), followed by Thoroughbreds (18%)
  • More diets were submitted on behalf of male horses (55%) compared to female horses (45%)

More importantly, we looked at the expected nutrient requirements for horses based on their physiological status, weight and activity level. Then we compared that with how well their daily rations were meeting their individual nutrient needs.

We found that the vast majority of diets provide too much energy, protein and iron while providing not enough of certain minerals, such as sodium, as well as antioxidants, such as selenium and vitamin E.

When horses exceed their energy requirements, it leads to weight gain and higher risk of metabolic dysfunction and laminitis. Diets with deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals can also negatively affect health.

Fortunately, it has never been easier to design a balanced feeding program for your horse that provides the optimal energy while meeting nutrient needs. If you haven’t already, analyze your horse’s diet online and our equine nutritionists can help you formulate the right daily ration for your horse for free.

Currently, there are large gaps in the research available on the nutritional needs of horses. This is because horses receive far less research funding than other species. Mad Barn has received grant funding from Canadian national granting bodies for our equine research program at the University of Guelph.

How We Analyze your Horse’s Diet

We take a precision nutrition approach to designing your horse’s feeding plan. This means we look at everything you are currently feeding and quantify nutrient values so you clearly see what is, and isn’t, in the diet.

Then we look at some basic facts about your horse including their:

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Body condition
  • Activity level
  • Breeding status
  • Health needs

We then use nutritional modelling to predict your horse’s individual needs and to suggest target inclusion values for various macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

From there, we can make adjustments to your horse’s diet to ensure they are receiving optimal and balanced amounts of required nutrients. Balance is an important concept in equine nutrition, particularly when dealing with minerals.

Not only is it important to consume adequate amounts of specific minerals, but it is also critical to keep appropriate ratios between certain minerals to meet your horse’s needs.

You’ll receive reports from our nutritionists showing in-depth analysis of your horse’s current diet as well as an optimized diet with proposed feeds that match your horse’s needs.

Our nutritionists are horse owners too and they know how important it is to keep your horse’s feeding program simple and cost-effective, while choosing feeds that are convenient to source in your area.

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Mad Barn - Equine Nutrition Consultants | Mad Barn Canada

Mad Barn’s Feed Formulation Tool

We do all of this with our feed formulation tool, Mad Barn Feed, which uses the latest scientific consensus to calculate how much of each nutrient your horse needs. This tool is free and can be accessed by anyone online.

After you’ve submitted a diet evaluation form, our nutritionists create a profile for your horse in our formulation program and input the relevant information.

Forage is the foundation of the typical equine diet, so this is where we start. Knowing the nutritional composition of your horse’s hay allows us to ma