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Horses are used in a wide variety of activities throughout Pennsylvania and adjoining states. Most of these horses are
owned and managed for recreation or sport rather than for profit. One of the main expenses in owning a horse is feed.
To minimize feed costs, it is important to keep horses healthy and feed them a balanced ration that meets their nutritional needs.
More myths are associated with feeding horses than with feeding most other animals, in part because an increasing number of horse owners are unfamiliar with the basics of horse nutrition. Nutritional needs vary considerably among horses, depending on age, weight, and level of activity. There are no magic supplements, high performance feed secrets, or short cuts that will transform any horse into a champion.
Horses naturally use forages as a primary component of their diets. Forages are a basic necessity for normal functioning of the equine digestive system, and forage requirements are supplied most easily by pasture and hay. Mature horses generally consume 2 to 2.5 percent of their body weight in feed each day. For example, a 1,000 pound horse should consume approximately 20 to 25 pounds (90 percent dry matter) of feed daily. Because horses do not digest low-quality forages effectively,
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