A Comparison of Actual and Suggested Digestible Energy Intakes of Miniature Horses Derived from Different Feeding Recommendations

Abigail L. Scherer-Hoock, Elizabeth A. Greene, Michael Lennox, Clarissa Brown-Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite being largely studied as models of equine nutrition, few published data exist on actual nutritional requirements of Miniature horses. Small equines are particularly prone to obesity, insulin resistance, and the metabolic disorders for which these are risk factors. Improper feed rationing, overfeeding in particular, puts horses at risk for these metabolic problems. Feed manufacturers, however, generally supply feeding recommendations for horses weighing ≥360 kg, whereas the average Miniature horse weighs around 100 kg. Lack of nutritional guidelines for small equines makes it difficult for owners to properly estimate the amount of hay and grain to feed their Miniature horse. The purpose of this study was to determine whether feeding recommendations provided by feed manufacturers for average-sized horses could be linearly extrapolated to Miniature horses. This study surveyed nutritional management of 12 mature Miniature horses that represented the ideal body condition of the breed. Each horse's hay, grain, and pasture intake was recorded and the average daily digestible energy (DE) intake was calculated from those data. The daily DE intake of the surveyed horses was compared with the extrapolated recommendations published by several different sources. When linearly extrapolated to fit the body weight of a Miniature horse, recommendations significantly (P < .002) misestimated the amount of daily DE that the surveyed horses were consuming. The majority of recommendations overestimated the DE consumed by the Miniature horses per day. However, one source that was designed specifically for Miniature horses, severely (P < .001) underestimated their required DE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-184
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Digestible energy
  • Intake
  • Miniature horse
  • Recommendation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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