Shortcomings of Premixed Feeds



Premixed feeds are sold to us as being convenient and contain everything our horses need. They can be far from that in reality.

Here at Duwell when it comes to equine nutritional education we want to people to come to understand the overall philosophy that guides us in how we formulate our products, what we feed our own horses and recommend to our customers. So many articles immediately jump into facts and figures and either scare the reader away or bore them senseless.

A simple guiding philosophy of feeding plain feeds with abundant fibre, minerals and vitamins added to suit the individual horse is about as technical as it needs to be.

We live in an age where a large number of horse owners think of feed company marketing hype as "expert” nutritional advice for their horses.  When it all seems rather complicated, it is very tempting to leave our horse’s nutritional needs in the hands of someone else especially when the so-called "experts” sound so convincing. This is not a wise choice. This so-called "expert” advice is generally extremely skewed to ensure that the company’s feeds appear as the best choice for your horse.

In this article I will highlight some common failings and examples of why horse owners need to take control of their horse’s diet. Horses owners will find becoming educated to the basic (it doesn’t need to be complicated) nutritional needs of their horses (and their own) extremely empowering and rewarding. It will ensure long term health and well-being of their horses.

A few common premixed feed short-comings:  

  • Feeds can be formulated for other countries that have very different conditions than our own.
  • Instructions on a feed bag cannot take into account day to day pasture conditions, work levels of your horse and other products that the owner may be adding so is a very inflexible and problematic system.
  • Too many calories - A great number of feeds require many kgs to be fed for the horse to receive its daily mineral requirements. For many horses, this amount of feed is far in excess of their daily calorific needs
  • Affluent Malnutrition – Owners fail to appreciate that unless they feed the recommended amounts, their horse will be undernourished with minerals and vitamins every single day.  This is a vicious circle of too many calories and not enough minerals for daily requirements
  • Important minerals such as sodium are undersupplied on a daily basis and feed companies specify not to feed any additional. I am dismayed by these illogical instructions and our horses are worse off for it. 
  • Excessive protein and potassium levels in feed - No warnings are included in feeding instructions of these feeds as to the dangers of excess. Uneducated owners merrily add vast amounts of protein feeds often on top of pasture with serious implications to health and behaviour.
  • Products such as soy, copra, lucerne (aka alfalfa) and molasses, to name a few, have considerable downsides to health and owner education is the only way to avoid these pitfalls.  
  • Low GI = higher protein. This term has horse owners thinking they are doing the right thing when the reverse can be true.   


 If you would like your horse’s nutritional needs assessed call or email us today!