Horse nutrition FAQ

Our expert nutritional team talk to customers every day answering their equine nutritional questions.

Here we have compiled some of our most frequently asked questions to help you conveniently get the best advice for your horse.

If you are still unable to find the answer to your query after checking this page, please get in touch with our team by calling 01458 333 333 or emailing [email protected]

Where can I find the nutritional analysis of your products?

The full nutritional analysis of our feeds and supplements is available on our website. Simply click on the Buy Feed or Buy Supplements tab at the top of the page, and then click on the product that you are interested in. The full nutritional analysis is displayed in a table, under the nutritional analysis tab at the bottom of the page.

Does the Pure Feeds range need to be soaked?

The only feeds that need to be soaked prior to feeding are our Pure Veteran Pellets and Pure Meadow Mash. These must be soaked two parts water to one part feed and left for up to an hour until a soft mash is formed.

None of our other feeds need to be soaked. We do however suggest that you dampen well with water prior to feeding.

Why don’t we use alfalfa in our feeds?

Although alfalfa has many good properties including high protein and calcium levels, some horses cannot tolerate it. In some cases it can also cause cause hives or itchy skin. Most horse feeds contain some degree of alfalfa. By making our feeds alfalfa free we provide an alternative feed for those horses that are sensitive to it.

Are our feeds suitable for laminitics?

Our Pure Balance, Pure Fibre Balance and Pure Easy are all suitable to feed to a horse or pony that may have previously had laminitis, or horses that have other conditions that require them to have a low sugar and starch diet. They are all fibre based and contain no molasses or wholegrain cereals. The combined sugar and starch level is 10% or less in these feeds, apart from our Pure Balance. Our Pure Balance has a slightly higher combined sugar and starch content, however it has a much smaller feeding rate so still only provides a small amount. They are all low calorie and will ensure that your horse is getting all the essential daily nutrients that they require, including vitamins and minerals. This is especially important for horses that have a history of laminitis for example and who may be on a restricted diet. Our Pure Working also has a combined sugar and starch level of 10%. The higher oil content of the Pure Working makes it suitable to feed to a horse that needs a low starch diet, due to laminitis for example, but that is also underweight and needs to gain some condition. Using oil in the feed helps to provide the horse with extra calories, in a safe way. Our Veteran range consists of our Pure Veteran Mix and Pure Veteran Pellets. Both of these feeds are suitable to feed to older horses that have previously had laminitis or other similar conditions that require them to have a low sugar and starch diet. Our Pure+ electrolyte supplement is also suitable to feed to a laminitic as the sugar content is less than 5%.

Why is yeast beneficial?

A healthy hindgut is essential for a healthy horse. Diets high in fibre help to maintain healthy gut flora. Supplementing the diet with live yeast can be hugely beneficial to reduce hindgut disturbance. Yeast helps to remove pathogenic bacteria and decreases the risk of pathogens attaching themselves to the gut wall. Our supplement ‘Gut Support’ contains live yeast saccharomyces cerevisiae, which has a protective coating, so that more probiotics reach the hindgut.

When would you use a joint supplement?

Our Joint supplement is beneficial for a wide range of horses. In particular, it would benefit horses who need support with joint function and mobility. For example, an older horse, or horses who are regularly competing. Our joint supplement can be added daily to your horse’s feed.

When should I feed an electrolyte?

Electrolytes are lost on a daily basis by the horse through sweat, urine and faeces. The horse cannot produce these electrolytes themselves so they must be provided by the diet. Electrolyte deficiency or imbalance can lead to lethargy and reduced or poor performance as well as tying-up or gastro-intestinal problems. All horses that are in a good level or regular work should be fed an electrolyte, it is particularly important when the weather is warmer or the horse is sweating a lot.

When should I feed Pure Gut Support?

Pure Gut Support is a digestive aid to support the horse’s natural digestive process. It contains a combination of pre and probiotics to help maintain normal hindgut acidity and aid the digestion of fibre. Pure Gut Support can be used if your horse is showing signs of digestive upset such as loose stools or when changing their diet; whether this is a different type of hay or haylage, moving them to a new field or changing their feed.

Why should I feed my horse a balancer?

Balancers provide the vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that the horse requires to meet their daily requirements. Even though forages can provide sufficient calories and energy for some horses they can still be lacking in the important nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Therefore all horses benefit from being fed a balancer as it will allow you to ensure that they are getting the correct levels of these nutrients. Our Pure Balance can be fed on its own to provide the important nutrients in a low calorie and low energy way and it is also included in all of our feeds. The composition for our Pure Balance is based on a horse also receiving 12.5kg of forage per day.

Why is fibre so important?

Fibre should form the basis of all horses’ diets. Horses are herbivores and have evolved as trickle feeders continuously eating. Horses can only produce saliva when they are chewing. Fibre takes longer for the horse to chew than cereal grains, hence why a high fibre diet is so significant. Saliva is particularly important because it contains bicarbonate which helps to neutralise the stomach acid and thus, helps to prevent problems such as gastric ulcers. Therefore the more time the horse can spend chewing the better!

The hind gut (caecum and large intestine) is the site of fermentation of fibre. Microorganisms within the hindgut of the horse digest the fibre and produce volatile fatty acids (VFA’s). The horse utilises these VFA’s as a source of energy. A diet which is high in fibre produces a weaker type of VFA which helps to maintain the acidity of the hindgut. However a diet which is high in cereal grains and starch produces much stronger VFA’s, this in turn increases the acidity of the hindgut making it too acidic for these microorganisms to withstand. This can lead to problems such as colic, laminitis and hind gut acidosis.

How much can I safely feed in one meal?

The horse’s stomach is only small and it is not designed to have large meals, but to trickle feed, continuously eating small amounts. Feeding large meals should be avoided as it can be linked to digestive problems such as colic. Ideally, meals should be no larger than 400g per 100kg bodyweight.

So for example a 500kg horse should be fed no more than 2kg in one feed.

Horses or ponies with certain conditions, for example cushings or PPID should be fed smaller more frequent feeds.

How much hay/ haylage should I feed?

Horses have evolved as trickle feeders and forage forms an essential part of their diet. Restricting the horse’s forage intake can result in problems such as colic, gastric ulcers and behavioural issues. As a general rule horses will eat between 2-2.5% of their bodyweight of dry forage per day (although this can vary between individuals). This includes hay, haylage and grass. So for example a 500kg horse would eat between 10kg-12.5kg of forage per day. Adjustments may need to be made to take into account the horse’s workload and condition. A performance horse that is in hard work may have some of its forage replaced with concentrate. Similarly an overweight horse may need to have its forage intake restricted to encourage some weight loss. We have based the composition of our balancer on the assumption that the horse is also receiving 12.5kg of forage per day. The forage intake should not be restricted to less than 1.5% bodyweight per day without veterinary supervision.

Are your products safe to use with competition horses?

The Pure Feed Company manufactures to a strict code of feed safety. Our products are manufactured in licensed premises using quality assured ingredients under strictly controlled production conditions and conforms to the requirements of EU and UK legislation governing the manufacture of animal feeding stuffs. The Pure Feed Company monitors for the presence of specified naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) as required under the rules of racing and other affiliated competitions which are in line with BETA NOPS guidelines. Adherence to these guidelines ensures that the risk of occurrence of such substances is minimised.

Why is there an ash content in feeds?

The ash content refers to the mineral content of the feed. It is compulsory for it to be stated on feed/ supplement labels.

Pure is a complete feed, so why would I also feed a supplement to my horse or pony?

The Pure Feed Company’s complete feeds have been specifically developed to provide a fuss-free, value for money natural feeding solution designed to deliver the best results in terms of a horse’s optimal condition and performance. But we recognise that there are times when a horse may need a little additional help. For example, due to increased workload, recovery from a particular injury or illness or even simply advancing old age. We also know that many owners wish to feed a supplement to provide additional nutritional support to further benefit their horse’s wellbeing.

Are your supplement tubs recyclable?

Yes! You can pop them in your household recycling, and you don’t need to worry about washing them out. Our Pure Feed Supplements™ tubs are made of HD-PE2 and are fully recyclable, but there are a couple things you can do to help make sure they end up in the right place:

  1. Remove the lid liners and seals – due to the liners and seals being a composite material, sometimes the whole lid can be rejected because the laser doesn’t recognise the material during sorting. All parts of the tub are recyclable, but best put in separately
  2. Empty pots only please! If they have product in them, they may be rejected and sent to the rubbish

It’s also a common misconception that black plastic is difficult to recycle – while this can be the case with containers coloured with carbon black dyes, our HD-PE2 tubs use carbon black-free colouring. As a result, they are easily recognised during sorting at the recycling centre and are sent the proper place.