Crazy Feed Query - Imaginary Pony (Maths Involved)

Discussion in 'Feeding Horses' started by Aile, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. Aile

    Aile New Member

    Hello everyone, this is my first post and I am probably completely crazy so feel free to call me out on it! :)

    I am very much into inventing horses and all their associated personalities/schedules/lives/work etc to make up for the fact that I don't have a real horse (and won't any time soon). Lately I've been fiddling around with a new horse, trying to invent his diet, and I've hit a few snags.

    He's a 13 year old 14hh gelding built rather like a pony sized cob. He's ridden Mon – Sat for an hour, with the work being my old lessons. 10 min walk, 15min trot, 10min canter on the flat, over poles and baby jumps (30cm), and then a 25 min lap of the jumps paddock, which involved a 60m canter “hoon” up the hill, and 15ish jumps (nothing over 0.5m) with walks and trotting in between.

    I've been using Feeding Horses in Australia by John Kohnke for the number crunching – you can find an online copy here.

    This book counts the pony as borderline light/medium work, which requires the below nutrition as a starting point. I'm counting him as 415kg bodyweight.

    MegaJoules of Digestible Energy (MJDE) - 79 MJDE
    Light/med work = 19MJDE/100kg bodyweight

    Protein - 770g
    Light/med work = 185g/100kg bodyweight

    According to the 'net, my area is mostly kikuyu, with some phalaris, ryegrass and rhodes grass. I used the details of these species from the above book and came up with these values per kilo.

    Grass Mix
    Dry Matter 22.3%
    MJDE - 2.28/kg
    Protein - 30.2g/kg

    According to the book, a horse will eat about 2% of its bodyweight in Dry Matter per day. Going on him weighing 415kg, thats 415 x 2% = 8.3kg of dry matter.

    The grass is only 22.3% dry, so the total grass weight is 37kg (37kg x 22.3% = 8.3kg).

    37kg of the above grass mix contains 84MJDE and 1117g of protein, which meets the requirements so far.

    Questions – Is it plausible for a 14hh “cob” pony to eat that much grass in a day? I'm guessing not, which is why one then adds a hard feed to the diet. If yes then could he survive on this ad lib grass diet with no other feed, and do the work I detailed above? The numbers say yes, but the book also says by this work level about 40% of the diet should be hard feed of some sort.

    The riding school horses/ponies (where I used to ride) got pellets and chaff on lesson days, but there were about 30 altogether on about 25 acres so the grass was very, very short. It also flooded in winter and went crispy brown in summer.

    Yes, I know I'm nuts! I just love doing maths and combining that with horses, and being a bit OCD doesn't exactly help :-( But if anyone out there can give me some idea of what it's like balancing the diet of a real horse, that would be great.

    Please and thank you in advance,

Share This Page