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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Feeding a 2 Year Old

Hello, Dr. Getty:

I will soon be getting a 2 year old filly. This will be my first time raising a young horse. With my previous adult horses, I've always been able to feed them free choice hay and just a handful of grain to get the supplements down. I don't believe in feeding much grain, if any at all. So, I'm not sure how to feed this filly. I'd like to follow the same basic plan that I had with my mature horses. I want to keep her on the leaner side, not skinny and definitely not chubby, and my goal is to nourish her so that she'll grow normally, without encouraging fast growth by overdoing the hard feed. Now, how to do that? I hope you can offer some advice.

Our hay is around 8% protein, and she'll be on pasture 24/7 with free choice hay. Her exercise will be minimal - just light ground work, trail walks in-hand, etc. By the way, this filly is an easy keeper. Will the hay and just a handful or two of grain with supplements keep her sufficiently nourished?

Thank you,

Where are you from? Boerne, TX

How did you locate this forum? Friend

Re: Feeding a 2 Year Old

Hi Jennifer,

Generally speaking, the free choice hay, along with a small amount of grain, will be fine. However, a 2 year old still has additional protein needs and calcium needs that cannot be adequately met by this diet alone. So, instead of a handful of grain, you would improve her diet by giving her a pound of alfalfa pellets. Alfalfa is a legume and provides additional amino acids (building blocks of protein) that grass hay does not have enough of. Therefore, the protein quality will be improved. Alfalfa also provides additional calcium.

Congratulations on your new filly! Keep me posted on her progress!

All the best,

Dr. Getty