Feeding Young Horses

PHOTO BY CAROLYN SIMANCIK

Advanced Nutrition for The Growing Horse

The key to feeding all growing horses, including weanlings, is to ensure the diet is balanced and dense with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, lysine and crude protein but without providing excess calories. Excess weight can be problematic for soft tissues that are still forming. One of the best ways to gauge a young horse’s weight is to examine body condition and make feeding adjustments as needed. High-grain or high-energy diets may influence hormonal fluctuations that can be problematic for skeletal development. Starch and sugar intake should be minimized. Instead, optimize pasture and hay by providing it free-choice for a healthier diet.

“From a weanling to about two years of age is really an exciting life stage as young horses grow and develop rapidly. What we choose to feed during this time is so important and essentially sets them up to be healthy adults.”
— Emily Smith, MS, Equine Clinical Nutritionist with Platinum Performance®

Constant turnout with access to pasture will supply many vitamins and minerals, as well as allow opportunity for exercise. This nurtures the growing musculoskeletal system by increasing bone density and strengthening cartilage through consistent low-impact movement. A source of omega-3 fatty acids should be offered in the diet of a growing horse. They are important for normal bone mineral content, density, strength and growth. Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit strong inflammatory factors implicated in bone loss, increase absorption of calcium in the intestine and increase calcium concentration in bones

2 Months Old - Weaning

  • Platinum Performance® Equine - Administer 1/2 scoop twice daily to support growth and development. Micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids are needed for normal bone mineral content, density, strength and growth.
  • Platinum Balance® - Administer 1 scoop daily as a prebiotic and probiotic to help maintain levels of beneficial bacteria, proper pH levels and digestion of fiber.

2-4 Weeks Prior to Weaning - Weaning

  • Platinum Performance® Equine - Administer 1/2 scoop twice daily to support the digestive and immune system. Micronutrients, omega-3 fats and antioxidants help to prepare the immune system for the stress of weaning.
  • Platinum Gastric Support® - Administer 1 scoop daily to maintain stomach and hindgut health during the stress of weaning.
  • Platinum Balance® - Administer 1 scoop daily as a prebiotic and probiotic to support digestive health, absorption of nutrients, proper pH levels and immunity.
  • Bio-Sponge® - As needed for diarrhea, administer 3 tablespoons of Bio-Sponge® powder or 30 cc of Bio-Sponge® paste twice daily for intestinal disturbances and diarrhea. When fecal matter has solidified, Bio-Sponge® may be discontinued.

Weaning - Adult

  • Platinum Performance® Equine - Administer 1/2 scoop twice daily to support the development of the rapidly-growing young horse. As the horse grows closer to full size, Platinum Performance® Equine can be increased to 1 scoop twice daily.
  • Osteon® - For young horses at risk for developmental issues, administer 1/2 scoop twice daily as a bio-available source of silicon. Supplementation with silicon promotes an increase in bone mineral content and formation.
Emily Smith

by Emily Smith, MS,
Platinum Performance®