The Equine Experts
Epol Equine


MARES: In general the stress level in a broodmare’s lifecycle is relatively high. She is usually either pregnant or feeding a foal, giving birth or being covered. A relatively peaceful time is during winter, but living outdoors and cold temperatures also tax her metabolic system. Good maintenance of  a mare requires regular visual and physical inspection. Each mare should be checked often for weight loss or excessive weight gain, as these features affect both the mare and growing foetus or suckling foal.

Stud feed with 14% protein content and increased lysine and methionine content during lactation, and the last trimester, will help to keep weight constant.
The pregnant mare must consume adequate nutrition, both to maintain her own body weight and to provide the necessary nutrients for the growing foetus. In horses the majority of foetal growth takes place in the last 4 months of pregnancy. Therefore mares in the first 7 months of gestation, as long as she is in good condition herself, can be fed for maintenance, e.g. Rider cubes/meal, if roughage intake is plentiful and of good quality, and total diet provides adequate energy, minerals and vitamins. The hay to feed ratio should be a minimum of 70:30, but feeding better quality hay can help reduce the feed requirement.

In good doers/overweight mares Epol All Phase Balancer pellets can be fed in conjunction with good quality roughage to provide sufficient amino acids, vitamins and minerals in correct ratios to sustain adequate nutrition to the foetus, but prevent further weight gain in the mare.

Mares that are lacking body condition should gain weight before lactation, as she will not be able to meet the high demands of lactation and gain condition at the same time. These mares should be fed Epol Stud cubes/muesli.

Final trimester: Start increasing the quality (not necessarily the quantity) of the feed from the 8th month onward. This can be done by introducing higher quality hay, or switching from a basic feed ration such as Epol Rider, to one especially designed for broodmares, such as Epol Stud. At the very least feed the mare a vitamin/mineral supplement such as Epol All Phase Balancer pellets.

During the last 4 months particular attention should be paid to the mineral content and balance of the mare’s feed (especially copper, zinc, magnesium and calcium), as the developing foetus is laying down bone and stocking foetal liver stores.  Maintain the mare in good condition score to avoid problems with birth, lactation and re-breeding, which might mean steadily escalating the feed intake from month 7 until parturition.

The LACTATING Mare and Foal: The lactating mare has the highest nutritional demands of all horses, and therefore needs to be fed a high quality feed ration with a readily available digestible energy source, and good quality protein sources to ensure a steady supply of good quality milk for the foal, e.g. Epol Stud cubes.

Milk production drops after the first 2 months of lactation, so introducing the foal to a little feed such as Epol All Phase Balancer pellets from month three or four onwards, or allowing him to eat with his dam prepares his digestive tract for weaning. Foal intake should be closely monitored, and the foal will need a separate feeder if he is over consuming.

FOALS: The Weanling:
Weanlings should not be overfed energy, and require a 14-16% high quality protein source that offers a beneficial array of essential amino acids as well as readily available minerals in the correct ratios. Maintain a correct copper/zinc ration (zinc 3-5 times more than copper).

As the weanling grows, his bodyweight will increase and body condition should be monitored and feed intake adjusted accordingly. Optimal and not maximal growth is required, as overfed weanlings often become unsound older horses as high sugars and consequently high insulin blood levels may interfere negatively with normal cartilage production. Weanlings should rather kept a little lean, but be certain they receive enough high quality protein, minerals and vitamins, as is provided in Epol Yearling and Stud pellets. For optimum smooth and steady growth, Epol MdK Prep14 provides nutrients for enhanced muscle development and bone density.

Concentrate feed must not exceed 50% of total feed intake, and good quality grass hay, containing maximum  20% lucerne hay, should be provided.

By this stage of life the bulk of skeletal growth has already occurred and subsequent growth is slow. Yearlings should be kept lean rather than overweight, and require a small amount of good quality protein feed, with ample minerals and medium to low energy levels, not containing too many simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch e.g. Epol Yearling or MdK Prep14. The last growth plates in the long bones begin to close at about 24 months on.

From 2 years old the young growing horse can be fed the same as the resting adult. Feed adequate but not excessive amounts of carbohydrates, good quality protein, high fibre and balanced mineral source e.g. Epol Rider cubes/meal/muesli or a combination of Prep14 and Epol Rider for the slower maturing horse.
If the horse is in training, then he requires a higher level of energy intake (see Horses in Training/Racing).

STALLIONS: Visual and physical inspection is important. In the covering season the stallion expends a fair amount of energy and will benefit from an increased quantity of concentrates and / or a higher energy level ration e.g.  Epol Stud cubes/muesli or even Epol Race muesli for stallions with a full stud book.

During the off season stallions can be fed Epol Rider cubes/meal/muesli and maintained at moderate to good fit body condition.

Recommended rations for breeding animals:

  Energy: Age/period: Suitable for: Features & Benefits:
16% Yearling Cubes Moderate
  • Feed from weaning to pre-training
  • 12-30 months
  • Yearlings
  • Weanlings
  • High protein, lower energy and supporting nutrition to ensure optimum bone growth and muscle
14% Stud Horse Cubes Moderate
  • last 3 months of pregnancy
  • lactation
  • Broodmares
  • Growing young stock
  • Working stallions
  • ensures good foetal development and
  • quality milk production
14% Stud Muesli Moderate
  • Broodmares on modest feeding rates
  • Appetite booster when feed intake has been compromised
  • Shy feeders
  • Broodmares
  • Weanlings
  • Yearlings
  • Stallions
  • Fully balanced correct nutrition to enhance fertility as well as bone formation and growth in the unborn foal
  • Micronized maize for enhanced starch digestion
14% MdK Prep14 Moderate
  • Bridges the gap between stud and trainer
  • 9-20 months
  • For the yearling on which early demands of physical fitness will be made
  • Young horses being prepped for sales
  • Ideal balance of energy, protein, minerals and vitamins ensuring optimum growth
  • builds strength, strong bone  and soundness
25% All Phase Balancer Pellets
  • Low
  • Minimal starch and calories
  • All types of breeding and young stock
  • Performance horses at rest or in work
  • Good doers
  • Foals from 3 months  onwards
  • Broodmares
  • Competition horses
  • High quality protein, nutrient dense vitamins, minerals and trace elements
  • Supplies key essential amino acids for muscle and tissue development
  • Even growth rates
  • Doesn’t promote excessive weight gain



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