In the video “Nutrition for Young Growing Horses” by PurinaMillsTV, Dr. Robert Jacobs, the Equine Innovation Manager at Purina Animal Nutrition, introduces us to a young colt named Cool Whip. As part of Purina’s growth and reproduction program, Cool Whip is being fed Purina Ultim Growth since he started eating food at 28 days old. Dr. Jacobs explains the importance of nutrition in the growth and development of young horses and discusses Purina’s dedication to research in this area. He shares how they conduct longitudinal studies to understand the impact of nutrition on horse growth and development, leading to the development of innovative products like Purina Ultim Growth. This video highlights Purina’s commitment to providing optimal nutrition for young growing horses.

With over 50 years of experience in breeding horses, Purina Animal Nutrition has established itself as a trusted partner, including being a 50-year cumulative breeder with the American Quarter Horse Association. Their growth program enables them to conduct extensive research and evaluate the growth and development of young horses over a period of two to three years. Through their dedication to research and the development of products like Purina Ultim Growth, Purina Animal Nutrition aims to support young growing horses in reaching their full genetic potential. For anyone who loves working with and caring for young growing horses, this video provides valuable insights into the importance of nutrition and the efforts undertaken by Purina Animal Nutrition to ensure the well-being of these beautiful animals.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Importance of Nutrition in Young Horses

The role of nutrition in reaching a horse’s full genetic potential

Nutrition plays a crucial role in a young horse’s growth and development. Just like humans, horses have specific dietary needs to ensure that they reach their full genetic potential. The nutrients they consume during their growing years have a long-lasting impact on their overall health and wellness. By providing the right balance of essential nutrients, we can optimize a horse’s growth and set them up for a healthy and successful future.

The impact of nutrition on a horse’s growth

Proper nutrition is essential for a horse’s growth. As young horses grow, they experience rapid changes in their bodies, including bone development, muscle growth, and overall size. To support these changes, they require a diet that is specifically tailored to meet their nutritional needs. Without adequate nutrition, a horse may experience stunted growth, weakened bones, and reduced muscle development. It is crucial to provide the necessary nutrients during this critical growth phase to ensure the horse reaches its full potential.

Introducing the concept of a nutrition-and-growth program in horses

To ensure optimal growth and development in young horses, it is important to implement a comprehensive nutrition-and-growth program. This program consists of a carefully designed diet plan, regular monitoring of growth, and necessary adjustments to the diet as the horse progresses through different stages of development. A nutrition-and-growth program takes into account the horse’s specific needs, considering factors such as breed, age, activity level, and individual health requirements. By following a well-structured program, horse owners can maximize their horse’s growth potential and overall well-being.

The Role of Research in Equine Nutrition

The focus areas of research in equine nutrition

research in equine nutrition focuses on understanding the specific nutritional needs of horses at various stages of their lives. Scientists and researchers strive to determine the ideal nutrient levels that promote growth, optimize performance, and contribute to overall health and well-being. This research involves studying nutrient absorption, metabolic processes, and the impact of different feed ingredients on a horse’s physiology. By continuously expanding our knowledge in equine nutrition, we can improve our understanding of horse physiology and provide better dietary recommendations for young horses.

Longitudinal studies in determining a horse’s nutritional needs

Longitudinal studies play a significant role in determining a horse’s nutritional needs. These studies involve tracking the growth and development of horses over an extended period of time. By monitoring key indicators such as weight, body condition, and blood parameters, researchers can gain insights into the changing nutritional requirements of horses as they mature. Longitudinal studies contribute valuable data that allow us to tailor diets to meet the specific needs of young horses at different stages of their growth and development.

The ongoing evolution of research even after product release

Equine nutrition research doesn’t stop once a product is released into the market. It continues to evolve as new discoveries are made and scientific advancements are achieved. Continuous research allows us to refine existing products, develop new formulations, and improve our understanding of how different nutrients impact a horse’s growth and overall health. By staying committed to ongoing research, we can constantly enhance the effectiveness of equine nutrition products and ensure that they meet the evolving needs of young horses.

Nutrition for Young Growing Horses

Introducing Equine Nutrition Products

The evolution and testing of Purina Ultium Growth

Purina Ultium Growth is an example of an equine nutrition product that has undergone rigorous testing and evolution. Developed by experts in equine nutrition, this specialized feed is designed to provide essential nutrients for young horses in their crucial growth phase. Through extensive research and testing, Purina has refined the formulation of Ultium Growth to ensure it meets the specific requirements of young horses. The product has been evaluated in various settings, including controlled trials and real-world scenarios, to confirm its efficacy and safety.

Real-world testing of nutrition in horses using products such as Purina Ultium Growth

Real-world testing is an essential part of evaluating the impact of nutrition products such as Purina Ultium Growth on horses. By conducting trials in actual horse populations, researchers can assess how the product performs in different environments and with varying management practices. These real-world tests help validate the claims and benefits of the product. By collecting data and observing the growth and development of young horses fed with Ultium Growth, researchers can ensure its effectiveness in supporting healthy growth and development.

The impact of such products on a horse’s growth and development

Equine nutrition products like Purina Ultium Growth can have a significant impact on a horse’s growth and development. By providing a well-balanced diet that meets the specific nutritional needs of young horses, these products contribute to optimal growth, bone development, muscle formation, and overall body condition. The carefully selected ingredients and nutrient ratios in these products ensure that horses receive the right combination of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and energy sources. This targeted nutrition helps young horses reach their full genetic potential and sets them up for a healthy future.

Nutrition for Pregnant and Nursing Mares

The necessity for specialized nutrition during pregnancy and nursing

Pregnancy and nursing impose unique nutritional requirements on mares. During pregnancy, mares undergo physiological changes to support the growth and development of the foal. They require increased amounts of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals to meet their own needs as well as provide for the growing foal. Similarly, while nursing, mares need additional nutrients to produce high-quality milk for their foals. Specialized nutrition during these stages is crucial to ensure the health and proper development of both the mare and the foal.

The impact of a mare’s nutrition on her foal

A mare’s nutrition during pregnancy and nursing directly impacts the health and well-being of her foal. Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances in the mare’s diet can result in insufficient milk production, poor foal growth, or inadequate transfer of essential nutrients to the foal. Conversely, a well-balanced diet that meets the mare’s nutritional needs promotes optimal foal development, including strong bones, healthy organ function, and a robust immune system. Proper mare nutrition is essential to ensure that the foal receives the necessary nutrients for its growth and future performance.

Introducing Purina Ultium Growth to pregnant and nursing mares

Purina Ultium Growth is an ideal feed choice for pregnant and nursing mares. This specialized feed is specifically formulated to meet the increased nutritional needs of mares during these critical stages. With its balanced combination of essential nutrients, including high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals, Ultium Growth provides the necessary support for optimal mare and foal health. By feeding Ultium Growth to pregnant and nursing mares, horse owners can ensure that their mares receive the nutrients they need to produce healthy foals and maintain their own well-being.

Nutrition for Young Growing Horses

Critical Nutritional Phases in a Growing Horse’s Life

The importance of nutrition in the first few months of a foal’s life

The first few months of a foal’s life are crucial for its growth and development. During this period, the foal undergoes rapid growth and experiences significant physiological changes. Proper nutrition during this critical phase is essential for the foal to reach its full genetic potential. A diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals helps support the foal’s bone development, muscle formation, and overall growth. Providing the right nutrients in appropriate proportions ensures that the foal receives the necessary support for a healthy start in life.

Adapting nutrition to the growing needs of young horses

As young horses grow, their nutritional needs evolve. The diet that meets the requirements of a newborn foal differs from that of an adolescent horse. It is essential to adapt the nutrition strategy to align with the changing needs of young horses. This may involve adjusting the feed composition, increasing nutrient intake, or incorporating specialized supplements to support specific growth aspects. By monitoring the horse’s growth and adjusting its nutrition accordingly, we can promote healthy development and ensure the horse is equipped to fulfill its potential.

The transition to adult horse feed

As young horses mature, they eventually transition from specialized growth feeds to adult horse feed. This transition must be managed carefully to provide a seamless shift in their dietary composition. Gradually introducing the adult feed while monitoring the horse’s response helps ensure a smooth transition and prevents digestive upsets or nutritional imbalances. Adult horse feed provides the essential nutrients needed to support continued growth, muscle maintenance, and overall health. By providing the appropriate adult feed tailored to the horse’s breed, activity level, and individual needs, we can promote lifelong health and performance.

Monitoring Growth and Adjusting Nutrition

Tracking growth measurements and physiological changes

Monitoring a young horse’s growth is crucial to evaluate its progress and adjust the nutrition plan accordingly. Key measurements such as weight, height, body condition score, and muscle development provide valuable insights into the horse’s growth trajectory. Regular monitoring allows horse owners and caretakers to identify any potential issues or deviations from expected growth patterns. By tracking these measurements over time, adjustments to the nutrition plan can be made to ensure that the horse is receiving the right nutrients in appropriate amounts for optimal growth and development.

Evaluating the effectiveness of nutrition plans

Evaluating the effectiveness of nutrition plans involves assessing the horse’s growth progress and overall health. This evaluation considers factors such as weight gain, muscle development, coat condition, energy levels, and digestive health. By considering these indicators, horse owners and caretakers can determine whether the current nutrition plan is supporting the horse’s growth and well-being. Continuous evaluation allows for adjustments to the diet to address any deficiencies or excesses, ensuring that the horse receives precisely what it needs to thrive.

Making necessary adjustments to ensure optimal growth

Based on growth monitoring and evaluation, adjustments to the horse’s nutrition plan may be necessary to ensure optimal growth. These adjustments could include altering the type or amount of feed, introducing additional nutritional supplements, or modifying the feeding schedule. Adjustments should be made gradually to avoid digestive upsets and to give the horse’s system time to adapt. By fine-tuning the nutrition plan as the horse grows, we can ensure that its specific nutritional needs are being met, supporting healthy growth and development.

Nutrition for Young Growing Horses

Nutrition for Young Horses with Special Requirements

Understanding unique nutritional needs of specific horse breeds

Different horse breeds may have specific nutritional requirements that must be accommodated in their diets. Certain breeds may be predisposed to certain health conditions or have higher energy demands due to their inherent athleticism. Understanding these breed-specific needs allows for targeted nutrition plans that address their unique dietary requirements. Whether it’s providing additional joint support, managing metabolic conditions, or catering to high-performance demands, customized nutrition for specific breeds ensures that young horses receive the essential nutrients they need to thrive.

Addressing health issues impacting a young horse’s nutrition

Some young horses may face health issues that impact their ability to consume or absorb certain nutrients. Conditions such as dental problems, gastrointestinal disorders, or metabolic imbalances can affect a horse’s nutrition and overall growth. Addressing these health issues is crucial to provide the necessary support for the horse’s development. This may involve working closely with a veterinarian and nutritionist to develop a specialized diet that accommodates the horse’s specific health needs. By addressing these issues and providing appropriate nutrition, we can help young horses overcome health challenges and achieve optimal growth.

Creating customized nutrition plans for horses with special requirements

Horses with specific requirements, whether based on breed or health conditions, benefit from customized nutrition plans. These plans take into consideration factors such as energy needs, nutrient ratios, and ingredient selection to meet the horse’s unique dietary needs. Customized nutrition plans may involve formulating specialized feeds, incorporating targeted supplements, or adjusting feeding schedules to optimize nutrient absorption. By tailoring the diet to the horse’s specific requirements, we can ensure that it receives the necessary support for healthy growth, development, and overall well-being.

Practical Tips for Feeding Young Horses

Establishing regular feeding routines

Establishing regular feeding routines is essential for the overall well-being of young horses. Regular mealtimes provide a sense of security, help maintain a healthy digestive system, and prevent behavioral issues associated with inconsistent feeding schedules. Young horses benefit from having access to feed at predictable intervals throughout the day. Feeding should be consistent, both in terms of timing and the amount of food provided. By establishing a regular feeding routine, horse owners can promote stable growth and ensure that the horse receives the necessary nutrients to support its development.

Ensuring access to clean water and quality forage

In addition to a balanced diet, young horses must have access to clean water and quality forage at all times. Water is vital for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall hydration. Horses should have access to fresh, clean water in sufficient quantities throughout the day. Forage, such as hay or pasture, provides essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals necessary for a healthy digestive system. It is important to ensure that the forage is of high quality and free from mold or contaminants. By prioritizing access to clean water and quality forage, horse owners can support the horse’s overall health and nutrition.

Monitoring weight and body condition to avoid underfeeding or overfeeding

Regular monitoring of weight and body condition is crucial to prevent both underfeeding and overfeeding in young horses. These measurements provide valuable insights into the horse’s overall health status and its response to the nutrition plan. Underfeeding can lead to stunted growth and nutrient deficiencies, while overfeeding can result in excessive weight gain and potential health issues. By closely monitoring weight and body condition, adjustments to the nutrition plan can be made to maintain an optimal balance. This helps ensure that the horse receives the appropriate amount of food to support healthy growth and development.

Nutrition for Young Growing Horses

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Feeding Young Horses

Debunking myths around feeding practices

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding feeding practices for young horses. One common myth is that feeding horses large amounts of grain promotes faster growth. In reality, an excessive grain diet can lead to developmental orthopedic diseases and other health issues. Another myth is that feeding young horses high-protein diets will build greater muscle mass. While protein is essential for muscle development, an excessive intake can put strain on the kidneys and may not contribute to optimal growth. It’s important to debunk these myths and rely on evidence-based feeding practices to ensure the best nutrition for young horses.

The importance of evidence-based nutrition approaches

Evidence-based nutrition approaches are essential for providing young horses with optimal nutrition. Relying on scientific research and well-established principles allows horse owners and caretakers to make informed decisions about their horse’s diet. By using evidence-based guidelines, we can ensure that young horses receive the right balance of nutrients to support their growth and development. This approach relies on data-driven recommendations, carefully formulated feeds, and targeted supplements that have been proven to benefit young horses. By prioritizing evidence-based nutrition, we can avoid the pitfalls of misinformation and provide the best care for our horses.

How misconceptions can lead to poor nutrition and hindered growth

Misconceptions about feeding young horses can have detrimental effects on their nutrition and growth. Following outdated practices or believing in unverified claims can result in an imbalanced diet, nutrient deficiencies, or excessive nutrient intake. This can negatively impact a horse’s growth, development, and overall health. Misconceptions may also lead to unnecessary expenses, as owners invest in ineffective or unnecessary supplements or feeds. By recognizing and dispelling these misconceptions, we can ensure that young horses receive the targeted nutrition they need to reach their full genetic potential and thrive.


Recapitulating the importance of targeted nutrition for young horses, it becomes clear that nutrition plays a critical role in their growth and development. By understanding the specific nutritional needs of young horses at different stages of their lives, we can provide them with the nutrients necessary to optimize their growth potential. Ongoing research and product development in equine nutrition contribute to the evolution of specialized feeds such as Purina Ultium Growth, which have been tested and proven to support healthy growth and development in young horses. It is crucial to design customized nutrition plans, regularly monitor growth progress, and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal growth. Keeping in mind the unique nutritional needs of specific horse breeds and addressing health issues impacting a young horse’s nutrition allows for a tailored approach that supports their overall well-being. By following practical tips for feeding young horses, such as establishing regular feeding routines and ensuring access to clean water and quality forage, we can further promote their growth and nutrition. Debunking common myths and relying on evidence-based nutrition approaches prevents misinformation and ensures that young horses receive the best care. Ultimately, understanding the importance of targeted nutrition and the ongoing commitment to research and product development in the field of equine nutrition enables us to provide young horses with the nutrition they need to thrive.

Nutrition for Young Growing Horses