Nutrition in the Mini Horse
An alternative feed is needed if the pasture is poor, there is doubt about the quality or
there is a limited amount. Hay, whether baled, cubed or pelleted, is an acceptable alternative.
There are different types of hay, but alfalfa and clover are higher in nutritional content including
protein and vitamins compared to timothy, orchard or oat grain hay.
Determining the Amount to Feed Your Miniature: a formula based on weight
A mini needs 1.5 % of its body wt per day in forage. So for example: a mini that weighs 200lbs
needs 3 lbs of hay a day.
If you do not know the weight of your horse, you could get your horse weighed at a feed store that
has a grain scale or a local vet that has a scale. But if you do not have easy access to a scale, then
the following is used as an alternative method:
Measuring the girth - distance around the widest part of the shoulders at the withers; and
Measuring the length of the horse- from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks;
and use the following formula:
BW (lbs) = 9.36 X girth( inches) + 5.01 X body length
( inches) minus 348.53
The majority of the horses diet should be forage or hay. If grain is fed, never feed more than 1.25
pounds of grain per 250 lbs of horse in a single feeding.
Grain would only need to be fed if the amount of forage or hay is not high quality.
There are different types of grain. But in general can be broken down into Unfortified and
Unfortified grains include corn, oats, barley, wheat and milo. All except oats have a hard outer hull
that is difficult for the horse to digest. If these grains are fed, they must be mechanically
processed to remove the hard outer hull.
Fortified grain “concentrates” are more commonly fed to horses. They usually include several
processed grains, added protein, vitamins, and minerals. These concentrates can be bought in
several different forms: pellets, nuggets or “textured” feed.