Home Health and vet Feeding management of the broodmare: Part 2

Feeding management of the broodmare: Part 2

This image shows two Dutch Warmblood broodmares in late pregnancy (months 10 and 11). They are in good body condition (moderate fleshy) and still show some muscle toning in the hindquarters

By Dr. Mariette van den Berg, B.AppSc. (Hons), MSc., PhD (Equine Nutrition)
Photography: A. Akkerman, R. Jansen, Clarke Family

See the part 1 of this article here

Specifically, under and overfeeding that result in unfavourable body condition scores can have a negative impact on the health of your mare and foal. Therefore, as highlighted in Part 1, monitoring the body condition of your horse is imperative and by adopting a simple and effective tool like the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System, it allows you to ascertain your mare’s body condition using a scaling from 1 (poor-emaciated) to 9 (extremely fat). The next step in your management is the ability to evaluate the nutritional needs of your horses, as this guides the quantity and quality of feedstuffs you should offer to your horses for maintaining optimal body condition. Understanding the nutritional needs of the maiden/barren, pregnant and lactating mare is essential for the development of a proper feeding program for all stages and her foal. Thus, in this part 2 we will focus on nutritional requirement of the broodmare through all stages and the young developing horse.

Nutritional requirements for horses

Various countries around the world have documented and published feeding values for horses based on numerous nutritional studies and expert consultations. The nutritional advice provided in this article is based on the Nutrient Requirements of Horses, produced by the National Research Council (NRC, 2007). This publication provides estimated values of the daily nutrient requirements of horses. This reference is used internationally by nutritionist and veterinarians. While body condition is a good tool for you checking how the feeding program is going, for the nutritional evaluation and intake you will need to work on a body weight basis. It is therefore important that you get either your horse weighted at a clinic or you can use a mobile weighing bridge. Alternatively, you can use a measuring tape and universal formula to estimate the body weight of your mare and foals. (Check Apps libraries as there may be many that offer body weight estimation calculators.)

The preparation of the breeding mare

The preparation of the breeding mare can be a challenging task and should not be planned last-minute. It is important to start the preparation of the breeding mare in an early stage prior to covering. A preparation time of four to six months is advised to increase the chance of conception and to minimize the return to the stallion or the artificial insemination (AI) rates... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber