Breeding Horse Nutrition

Regardless of general feeding guidelines for breeding horses, body condition score (BCS) is the most objective assessment of a horse’s fat covering and also the best predictor of reproductive performance or efficiency. Breeding horses should be maintained at a BCS of 5-6 (on a 1-10 scale), where ribs are invisible but readily palpable.
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Regardless of general feeding guidelines for breeding horses, body condition score (BCS) is the most objective assessment of a horse's fat covering and also the best predictor of reproductive performance or efficiency. Breeding horses should be maintained at a BCS of 5-6 (on a 1-10 scale), where ribs are invisible but readily palpable. Most horses should be offered 2-3% of their body weight per day in dry matter (forage and concentrate combined) and should consume 5.5-11 gallons of free-choice water.

Breeding Stallions

Reproduction is an athletic event. In other words, breeding horses that are athletic will maximize their breeding efficiency. The National Research Council suggests nutritional needs of the stallion during the off-season are no different than those of the nonbreeding horse, and during the breeding season his caloric demands only increase by 1.25 times.

Provide stallions with a trace mineral supplement block versus a salt block manufactured for rough-tongued ruminants. As with horses of all genders and uses, the breeding stallion should be fed a forage base with caloric enhancement using grains (carbohydrates) or fat supplements

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Written by:

Benjamin Espy, DVM, Dipl. ACT (boarded in equine reproduction), has practiced veterinary medicine in Texas and Kentucky. He has been licensed to practice acupuncture for nine years and is on numerous AAEP committees and task forces. Espy serves on the alternative therapy committee for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and he’s an animal treatment consultant for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

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