Beginner’s Guide: Different Types of Horse Feed

                Finding the right kind of horse feed for your horse can always be a challenge! Especially if you are a new horse owner and you don’t know about what nutrients horses need. There are several different kinds of horse feed and they all have different nutritional value. Every horse’s diet is different and the tricky part is finding out what specific nutrients your horse needs. Talking to the horse’s previous owner, or a vet, can help you learn your horse’s diet needs and provide you with the different supplements/vitamins that your horse requires. This article will help show you the different types of horse feed and the nutritional value that they provide!

Energy Feeds:

Beet pulp:

– This kind of feed is either served wet or dry. Horse owners normally prefer to feed it wet and let it soak in fresh water for 12 hours before feeding. Beet pulp is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and is a high source of energy. This type of feed is good to give horses who are being heavily worked or are underweight.

Rice Bran:

– Rice bran is used as a bulk food and has a high energy content. It consist of high carbohydrates, phosphorus, and vitamin E. Rice bran help to enhance performance, endurance, as well as weight gain.

Cereal grains:

– Cereal grains provide vitamins, protein, and fatty acids to help enhance your horse’s performance. Cereal grains also consists of starch that will help to give your horse more energy. Cereal grains are easy to digest and are great for horses that are highly athletic.


– Barley is one of the highest ranked energy feeds. Since it has a high energy content, horses should only be fed a specific amount of barley per day. Any slight change to the amount of barley that is given to your horse, can have significant consequences to your horse’s diet. Therefore, barley serving needs to be measured out precisely. Barley is not easy to digest. Therefore, barley should be added with a bulkier feed such as beet pulp or chopped hay.

Common Feeds:

Sweet Feed:

– Sweet feed is a customizable horse feed and usually contains a sugary molasses. Majority of sweet feeds consists of corn, oats, molasses, and a mineral supplements. The amount of work that your horse does, should depict the amount of sweet feed that should be administered into his diet. Just like sugar for kids, the molasses in sweet feed can sometimes give your horse a sugar high. If he is not worked enough to work out the sugar in his system, your horse may seem a little rambunctious. Always make sure that you are giving your horse the appropriate amount of feed in accordance to his work regimen.


– Flaxseed is a great protein supplement. It consists of a high protein content and is usually mixed with other feeds. Flaxseed is also great for a horse’s digestive system! The flaxseed contains high omega-3 fatty acids which helps in the microbial population that is located in the large intestine. With enhancing the microbial population, you horse will have an easier time digesting his food and will minimize his chances of colic.


– Oats are one of the most popular grains used in horse feed and has a low energy content. Oats are added to the feed to add bulk for your horse’s diet. However even though oats can be used in bulk, they do have a low nutritional value and should not be used as the main food source for you horse.


– Pellets are often a mixture of corn, supplements, and grains. Molasses is also sometimes added to the pellets to help bind the ingredients, as well as aiding in a more flavorful taste! Pellets come in a variety of different combinations and are made with for different purposes. There are pellets made specifically for foals, pregnancy, senior horses, as well as senior horses. You always want to make sure that you are buying pellets that are appropriate for your horse and his diet.



– Hay is going to be one of the main food sources for your horse’s diet. Hay provides the necessary bulk that your horse needs for his everyday feedings and also supplies the nutritional content that your horse requires.


– Along with hay, grass is going to be the second main food source that your horses will need in his diet. Grazing offers your horse the nutrients and calcium that is required for his diet and also aids in giving your horse the proper amount of bulk that he needs to consume.

                Hay and grass should be the two main food sources for your horse’s everyday diet! If they are not getting the proper amount of grass and hay, grains and supplements should be added to their diets and should be administered with every feeding. Depending on the work regime of your horse, you should apply the appropriate types of feed into his diet, as well as the appropriate serving amount. You want to make sure that all the protein and carbohydrates that are being administered into your horse’s system every day, is going to be able to be worked off and aid in keeping him healthy.