Alfalfa? How much?

How much Alfalfa should my horse eat daily? 

Why is Alfalfa good?  Here are some of the benefits:
  • High in Protein
  • High in Calories
  • High in Calcium 

That all sounds great, right?

Here are some of the downsides:
  • Protein excess
  • Weight gain & Obesity
  • Enteroliths (mineral stones)
 As with any feed, it needs to be part of a balanced diet and therefore, it is best to consult a veterinarian or equine nutritionist for answers specific to  your horse. 

If your horse is around 1,000 pounds, the rule of thumb is that your horse should eat 2 to 2.5% of his weight per day.  An average-size horse will eat about 15-20 lbs. of roughage a day and drink at least eight gallons of water according to the Humane Society Horse Care Guidelines.

If you are feeding your horse 15-20 lbs. of roughage per day, then as a supplement, Alfalfa might be just 5-15 lbs. of the total feeding.  For a balanced diet you may want to include other supplements that Grass Hay and Alfalfa cannot provide.

Note that Alfalfa has more calories per pound and therefore, you will not need to feed as much of it to maintain your horse’s body condition. 

Of course, this all sounds fairly simple and easy to implement for your horse; however, don’t forget to take into consideration the specifics of your horse:
  • Age of the horse
  • Condition of the horse
  • Work schedule each day
  • Access to pasture for grazing

Because Alfalfa is high in protein, it can be beneficial for high performing horses or even aging horses.  The caveat is that horses need a high fiber diet that will ferment for energy production and digestion.  Alfalfa is not a good energy source and does not replace the fiber of grass hay, therefore it is best used only as a supplement rather than a replacement of other roughage. Note that too much protein may lead to gastric indigestion.

Again, it is recommended that you consult with your vet or equine nutritionist to develop a program that is specific to your horse’s needs.

Happy Riding and Healthy Horses!
Don’t forget to wear your myMareCo Under Helmet Headband to Secure your Ride!


Read more about Alfalfa for your horse here: