Do You Need a High-Protein Horse Feed?

Do You Need a High-Protein Horse Feed?

Protein is a key nutrient in building and repairing tissue. Therefore, many people assume they need a high-protein horse feed if their horse is competing—or even working hard on a farm.

While the amount of protein your horse needs will depend on his age and level of activity, he generally won’t need excessive amounts to ensure good performance and health.

Alternatively, elevated protein levels have not been scientifically proven to cause excited, erratic, or “hot-blooded” horses. These types of behavior have been correlated to other ingredients with higher NSC levels which may have been traditionally found in higher protein feeds and therefore leading to the myth that the high protein caused the bad behavior.

Protein in Forage

Before you look at the amount of protein your feed contains, consider the type of forage your horse consumes. Quality alfalfa hay has a higher protein level than typical grass hays. It’s possible if you are feeding rich alfalfa hay that you could choose a feed with a lower protein level.

Protein Needs by Stage

For their first two years, horses need a higher level of protein in their diet; 13-16% is standard. Once they are weaned, we recommend:

• Special 13 (13% protein): provides required nutrients to developing young horses
• RG 14 (14% protein): with reduced starch to support proper skeletal development and integrity
• Staminoats (14% protein): easy-to-feed cube fortified with Stamm 30
• Quantify (14% protein): provides balanced nutrients for growing horses
• Edge 14 (14% protein): the nutrition they need for healthy development, with reduced starch to support proper skeletal integrity
• Super 16 (16% protein): with Stamm 30 for critical micronutrients
• Super Staminoats (16% protein): easy-to-feed cube fortified with Stamm 30

Once they reach two years old, protein needs generally drop to the 10-13% range. However, broodmares and stallions require a higher level of protein. Our suggestions include:

• Special 13 (13% protein): with Stamm 30 for critical micronutrients
• RG 14 (14% protein): with Stamm 30 and Edge Technology
• Staminoats (14% protein): with Stamm 30 for critical micronutrients
• Stallion Max (14% protein): optimizes reproductive health
• Quantify (14% protein): with increased fat level for horses who need more calories
• Edge 14 (14% protein): energy-dense formula

Protein Needs for Performance Horses

When considering horse feeds for a competition horse keep the feed’s overall nutrition in mind. Feeds with high-quality ingredients and the right vitamins and minerals—along with the correct percentage of protein—can help ensure your horse gets the nutrition he needs to properly fuel his performance.
Some of our performance horse feed recommendations include:
• Protenza (10% protein): formulated to provide high levels of energy, but less protein than many sport horse formulas
• Fibrenergy (12% protein): a quality protein horse feed formulated with Edge Technology
• Race 13 (13% protein): the benchmark for equine performance diets

Finding the Proper Horse Feed

If you’re concerned about the amount of protein your horse should be getting in his diet, talk to one of our Customer Service Specialists. We’re happy to help you determine which of our feeds is the best solution for your horse’s health and performance goals. Contact us HERE.

 

High-protein horse feed; does your horse need it?