Hey horse feeders, have you heard the term Dry Matter? Forage? Hind gut health?
Have you ever wondered why nutritionists (me badger you about feeding less grass and more dry matter especially during the spring flush of grass, this is why =
At this time of year your pasture can be as high as 85% water and as little as 15% Dry Matter.
Dry matter is what drives your hroses engine!
Dry matter is broken up and munched down by fermentation by the microbes in the hind gut into volatile fatty acids = a fancy name for fuel for the body.
Your horse requires a minimum of 2% of its body weight per day in Dry Matter to keep those microbes working and feul the body to keep it healthy.
So thats 10kg of Dry Matter for a 500kg horse (500 x 0.02) per day.
Back to that 15% dry matter pasture…that means your horse would have to eat a LOT of pasture to acheive the right amount of dry matter.
10/ 0.15 = 66kg!!!!
So although we have loads of grass at times of the year like spring, we need to keep adding dry matter fibre like hay and chaffs becasue these are around 90% Dry Matter.
All feedstuffs contain different levels of Dry Matter and energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins you can find out what the nutrient profile is from feed tags on mixes, from professional nutritionists, or through chemical analyses.
Once actual Dry matter percentages of different feeds and your pasture and hay are known, an exact balanced nutritional programme properly formualted.
Proper feeding and nutrition are crucial to the health of your horse and the health of your bank account!