Concentrates are grain mixtures formulated specifically for horses as a concentrated source of energy (calories). They provide much more energy per pound than hay or pasture, so be careful not to overfeed these. The horse’s digestive tract is not equipped to handle large meals of starchy carbohydrates, so it is best to feed only small amounts of grain at a time, preferably dividing them into at least three meals a day. This will still keep your horse at a good weight. Most lightly worked horses will maintain condition from high-quality hay or pasture grazing alone. Only horses in moderate or heavy work will need the added calories supplied by grain. If you opt to feed concentrates, do not exceed the amount specified by the manufacturer, and store feed in air-tight containers where loose horses and barn pests cannot get into it.
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This article originally appeared in the 2010 issue of Horses USA. Click here to purchase a copy.