How Can I Feed a Maintenance Horse Diet?


What is a maintenance horse diet?
How can I ensure my horse gets a balanced diet?
What Diet Is Simple, Balanced And Economical?

What is a maintenance horse diet?

A maintenance horse diet maintaining base nutrient levels when your horse is out of work. This is important for many body systems, especially the digestive and immune systems. When a healthy weight and nutrient supply is maintained, your horse will be already prepared to reach competition condition sooner.

The centrepiece of the diet must be roughage. Chewing and digestion of roughage satisfies a horse’s inbuilt natural drive to graze continuously, helping neutralise the constant rise in stomach acid and for digestive and mental/behavioural health.

How can I ensure my horse gets a balanced diet?

Aim for at least 1.5% of their body weight in either pasture or grassy hay. (eg a 400kg horse requires at least 6kg per day). A concentrated vitamin and mineral pellet has lower calories and is highly suitable for horses in reduced work. The vitamin and mineral profile must help balance the shortfalls in the roughage. Australian soils are commonly high in iron and deficient in minerals including zinc and copper.

Hay is depleted in essential Omega 3. Omega 3 cannot be made by the horse and must be sourced in their diet. Providing a stabilised plant-based source of Omega 3, recreates what is missing from good pasture. Omega 3 is important to help lower the risk of chronic inflammation.

Salt is required for thirst activation and hydration. Feed 5-10g per 100g of bodyweight daily. If your horse is deficient in sodium and chloride (salt) they will experience various health issues including lethargy, decreased appetite, lack of sweat and dehydration.

What Diet Is Simple, Balanced And Economical?

The following diet is fully balanced for a horse in no work. All key nutrient levels are fully balanced with at least 100% of recommended daily intake. Live probiotics and prebiotics that CEN Cf50 provides are of huge benefit to the digestive well-being of the horse.
Unlike powdered supplements, CEN CF50 is a fibre-based pellet so chaff is not required to be fed.

Feed Daily (400kg Horse)

  • Grassy Hay 6kg (3 biscuits)
  • CEN CF50 200g
  • CEN Oil 40mL 
  • Lucerne 2kg (1 biscuit)
  • Salt 40g


Please contact us if you would like us to help balance the nutrient profile of your horse’s diet.


Written by Bryan Meggitt (BMedSc. PGCrtMedSc.)
Biochemist / Senior Scientist and Co-founder of CEN Horse Nutrition

Bryan is passionate about improving equine health through nutrition according to science & nature.


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