The nutrients he needs


● Protein is required for growth and repair of tissues and muscle development.
● Quality of protein is as important as quantity.
● Most straight cereals and hays are deficient in good quality protein.


● Fibre is essential for your horse. It can be derived from forages or the seed coats of cereals.
● Ground fibre (as in pellets) will pass through your horse’s gut quickly while a length of fibre requires more chewing.
● The fibre declared on bags is known as crude fibre and gives no indication of where in the gut it’s digested or how digestible it is.


● Oil is a useful energy source, described as slow-releasing energy.
● There are often high levels of oil in performance feeds.


● Ash is an inorganic material (i.e. anything which isn’t protein, oil or carbohydrate).
● It’s usually an indication of how high the mineral inclusion is.
● High levels of ash in hay analysis suggest soil contamination.

Vitamin A

● Vitamin A plays a role in eyesight and also the formation and protection of epithelial tissues and mucous membrane. 
● It also helps the immune system.

Vitamin D

● Vitamin D is required for the maintenance of calcium and phosphate homeostasis
● It affects bone formation.

Vitamin E

● Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which helps to maintain packed cell volume in blood.
● It’s also used in cell membranes.


● Copper is needed for bone growth, haemoglobin formation, and anaemia when there’s a deficiency.

Fibre providers

Oatfeed, wheatfeed, nutritionally improved straw, wholegrains, grass, alfalfa, sugar beet

Energy providers

Oats, wheat, barley, maize, oil, molasses

Protein providers

Soya, grass, alfalfa, peas, linseed

Read more about feeding

Feeding for...

It would be great to have your own personal nutritionist but unfortunately, that’s not practical. So as a helping hand, we’ve got loads of expert advice from some top equine nutritionists to help you really understand feeding. We’ll cover feeding, fat horses, skinny horses, lazy horses, competition horses and much more!

Feeding for energy but without the fizz

When feeding for energy, ensure you provide as much of the feed as possible in the form of forage. The higher the forage-to-concentrate ratio, the closer you’ll get to the horse’s natural way of feeding and the calmer he’ll be.