Reading Horse Feed Ingredients

It’s important to understand labeled ingredients in horse feed to assure that it contains the needed nutrients for your horse’s optimum health.

For example, if sugar is listed first, there may not be enough quantities of sodium, potassium and chloride (electrolytes) to maintain your horse’s good health.

On the other hand, sugar beet pulp is not high in sugar. Pulp is what is left after the sugar has been extracted. The beet pulp is a highly digestible complex carbohydrate providing good caloric content.

Feeds that contain wheat mill run and wheat midlings have less starch than other sweet feeds. Both products are from the milling process of wheat for flour, not floor sweepings. They contain bran and germ and are high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Some horses benefit from lower starch content while still receiving needed nutrients.

Distiller dried grains are the remains after the creation of alcohol. The grain is fermented with yeast and contains B vitamins and fiber. However, the potential for toxic molds (mycotoxins) exists, particularly with the use of corn. Before purchasing such a product, ask the manufacturer or feed company what measures they take to protect their feed from mycotoxin contamination.

Learning to read food and supplement labels will be an aid in choosing the best for your horse. Check amounts of each ingredient so that you know how much if each is in your horse’s serving size.

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