Alternative Feedstuffs for
Equine Diets

Do you recognize either of the feeds pictured below?

They are often unrecognized because they are not the typical horse feed.

In years past, feeding a horse was pretty simple...the major feedstuffs in the equine diet were hay, grass, and oats.

In the summer they were turned out on pasture, in the winter you fed them hay, and whenever they were in work you tossed them some oats at the end of the day.

Other things generally didn't make it into the average horse's diet.

Today horse feeding should still be simple, though many people try to make it more difficult than needed.

The feeds pictured above, as well as other "non-typical" horse feeds, when used properly, can make feeding very simple while providing your horse with various benefits. These feeds include:

Though initially learning about these feedstuffs may seem overwhelming, it is worth it to educate yourself about them so that you know what place, if any, they may play in your horse's diet.

Some of them, such as alfalfa pellets, are pretty well-known in the horse industry these days. Others, such as BOSS, are unknown to the extent that no real research has been done on them in horse diets.

Skeptical? I was too...

Many owners are somewhat skeptical of feeding a new feed...

...after all, we've all been bombarded by the feed salesman who says his company has the latest greatest product that your horse needs to have to perform his best.

I myself am very skeptical of new feeds as well. I want to see research behind the feed (and research by the feed company trying to sell me the feed does NOT count!) and know as much as possible about it.

Only when I am completely satisfied that I know basically everything about the feed will it pass my horse's lips.

Of course...my horse is often just as skeptical as me! He's been known to completely turn over a bowl of feed because it contained a tiny bit of new feed that he'd never seen.

However, like most horses (and toddlers for that matter!), he'll usually eat it if I continue to add it to his daily feed, starting with a tiny amount and working up from there.


The pages on these alternative feeds strive to answer your questions about these feeds so that you can satisfy your curiosity and decide if these feeds have any place in your horse's diet.

I have personally fed every one of these feeds to my horses at one time or another, depending on their needs. I can say from experience that I am very glad the horse feed world has expanded to include these products, as each one has its own unique benefits to bring to the table.

Even if these feeds don't have a place in your current horse's diet, they may be something to use for a future horse.


Return to Horse Nutrition Home from Feedstuffs