Which cartoon is your horse?

The Fat One

‘The Fat One’ is always a lover of food who can’t help piling on the pounds and is frequently a trifle wide in the barrel. As The Fat One lives on ‘fresh air’, their frustrated owners often find it hard to control their weight whilst giving them the nutrients they need, particularly in the summer months. When their food is reduced, they are adept at making their despairing owners feel guilty so are often given a token handful of a mix or cube, despite being kept on restricted grazing.

Feeding Solution: No.14 Lo-Cal Balancer provides all the essential nutrients The Fat One needs but without the calories that go with a traditional mix or cube. The low starch, low calorie pellet contains quality protein, for top line not waistline, as well as vitamins and minerals for health and well-being. Fed with Light Chaff, alongside forage, it really is quite easy to serve up a fully balanced, yet calorie-controlled diet, without breaking the bank!

The Skinny One

The Skinny One is often a Thoroughbred-type that is a bit on the weedy side. Despite being good natured, they cause their owner untold grief by failing to maintain their weight, particularly in winter. They often show a bit of rib and can look angular, be weak in the neck and lack top line. No matter how many buckets of feed their owners try to give them, The Skinny One often takes a “super model” attitude towards food and generally maintains an unhealthy interest in not eating.

Feeding Solution: For outstanding top line and condition, it’s hard to beat No.4 Top Line Conditioning Cubes whose highly digestible, barley-free formulation has earned them an enviable reputation simply because they work! Delivering more non-heating calories per scoop than your average mix or cubes, they are both cost effective and efficient as they don’t need to be fed by the bucketful to get results. Their high oil content is great for outstanding coat condition and shine too

The Nervy One

For The Nervy One, life is one big scary challenge. They are uptight, tense and have a ‘flight response’ prepared for any eventuality. Preferring to live on nervous energy rather than actual food, The Nervy One is inevitably underweight, may have a dull coat and can be depressingly fussy. Being hypersensitive to most things, The Nervy One can be grumpy when handled and wild when ridden. It is a constant battle for The Nervy One’s owner to persuade them to eat enough food, without increasing their anxiety levels.

Feeding Solution: Whatever the reason for the “nerves”, a low starch approach is probably advisable and No.21 Ease & Excel certainly fits that bill.  Since gastric health is so important to a horse’s outlook on life, the fact that Ease & Excel is suitable for those prone to gastric ulcers, is a huge bonus and its bespoke In Feed Formula, from Protexin, helps support the health and integrity of the whole digestive tract.  It delivers slow-release calories, from fibre and oil, to encourage weight gain and a super-shiny coat, while performance levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants support work and recovery at all levels.

The Zen One

As the cold, dark winter progresses, some horses may start going a little “stir crazy” and it could take more than a few mindfulness sessions to release their inner Zen.   

Feeding Solution: A low starch approach is probably best, for these guys, and we’d like to think that Keep Calm does what it says on the bag.  This high fibre, low starch, low sugar, quick-soak mash is great for fizzy types needing considered levels of slow release calories to maintain condition.  It contains Speedi-Beet, is fully balanced with vits and mins and includes flavours of essential oils to tempt the fretful feeder.

The Hippy One

During the darkest days of winter, your horsey hippie may be longing for warm sunshine, “flower power” and a little tasty help to blossom into their beach – well springtime hacking, training – body! 

Feeding Solution: They’ll lurve, Meadow Sweet with Turmeric, man. It’s a whole-cereal-free high fibre, low starch blend designed to provide low levels of sloooow release calories, to maintain condition, while encouraging peace, man, (well, a calm temperament!).  There’s no molasses, either and its light coating of honey supplies looow levels of prebiotic sugars, while the inclusion of TurmerAid provides nutrients to support healthy joints.  It’s far out, man.

The Hot Head

The Hot Head can range from the fiery to the naturally exuberant and, while “get up and go” may desirable when it’s easily channelled in the forward direction, it can be tiresome when 30 minutes of circling are necessary before you can even get down to work. With such high energy requirements, it’s often tempting for owners to underfeed The Hot Head, although this tends to simply result in a slimmer version, rather than helping to keep all four feet on the ground.  This leaves them resigned to investing in multiple pairs of the stickiest silicon full-seat breeches and tripling the Pilates sessions just so they can stay in the plate!

Feeding Solution: Some horses are naturally excitable and simply can’t take the quick release calories supplied by the starchy cereal content of traditional competition or conditioning feeds. The calories/energy provided by Ease & Excel Cubes are slow release so will not exacerbate the sharp, excitable temperament, letting you stay in control, while still giving your horse top line, condition and the power to perform.


Some Fuss Pots’ fussiness presents as a consistent aversion to a particular feed or ingredient, while others may pick and choose the focus of their disgust and often reserve bouts of fussiness for influentially stressful times, for their owners, like the run up to an important competition. 

These owners have pots of unfinished herbs, cordials and powders, all recommended (unsuccessfully) as “tempters” for their Fuss Pot. Most have tried pretty much every bag in the feed store and, are successfully developing their own emotional resilience as the highs of the initial positive taste test are inevitably followed by the lows of rejection, after anything from a day to several months.

Feeding Solution: There truly is no single solution for the Fuss Pot, though, after consulting with the vet over any underlying causes, we’d like to think that most horses find any of our feeds delicious!  Obvious feed choices, for those who need some calories, are Ease & Excel Cubes or Keep Calm, both of which contain our “irresistible” blend of extracts of flavours of essential oils and are ideal for the “selective feeder”, who picks the bits they like out of any coarse mix or blend.  Balancers are useful for getting essential nutrients into the Fuss Pot, in a small volume, while the “Smorgasbord” or “buffet” approach to feeding is often recommended, to give the Fuss Pot a choice of feeds to turn their nose up at, in the hope that, while tasting, they’ll at least eat something!

The Working Foody

Despite genuine aspirations to be a competition horse, The Working Foody is usually a chunky type that is prone to appearing on the ‘fleshy’ side. They can perform beautifully at the start of a competition but often finish puffing like a baby dragon and may take a while to recover.

They generally look ‘fine’ but are often subjected to a “minimalist” approach to feeding, which merely leaves them bad tempered, while at the other end of the spectrum the introduction of a competition mix, to boost their energy levels, can backfire as the mere sniff of a calorie goes straight to The Working Foody’s waistline.

Feeding Solution: It may be tempting to under-feed The Working Foody but his requirement for essential nutrients, like quality protein, vitamins and minerals, is just as high as any other working horse’s, he’s just a “good converter”, as far as calories are concerned!  No.19 Performance Balancer can provide optimum levels of all these nutrients, without the calories associated with a mix or cube, and will support muscle build and recovery in in even the hardest working horses.

The Patient

Ill, accident prone or injured; nobody wants their horse to become the Patient. On day 65 of box rest, the Patient is not a happy horse. Having successfully helped the vet to make enough money to retire early, the Patient is at least on the way to recovery. However, being irritable and bored and having finished the haynet, an attempt to chew an escape hatch out of the stable is now in progress.

Hospital meals are a tricky issue as owners drop the Patient’s energy levels to prevent them from using their stable as a velodrome but still want them to regain lost condition and muscle tone. The gold dust provided by the vet is also a bit of a nightmare as the Patient now avoids any food that may have been contaminated.

The change in circumstances often leaves the Patient’s digestive system in turmoil, evident by the formless sludge in the wheelbarrow, and their owner has resorted to a gas mask when mucking out. In fact, having spent days dreaming of being in no work, on full board with a nice view, the Patient has now concluded that living like a wild animal was actually preferable.

Feeding Solution: Maintaining nutrient intake is important for those recovering from illness or injury to support the healing process and tissue repair.  Where hard feed is cut back or out, forage cannot be relied upon to provide essential nutrients so feeding a balancer like No.14 Lo-Cal Balancer will ensure the horse receives vitamins, minerals and quality protein to aid healing but without unwanted calories or energy. Digestive enhancers like Digest Plus prebiotic can also be added to help keep the gut healthy during periods of stress and dietary change.

Ask the Experts

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If you have not found the answer to your feeding query in our Nutrition Library or FAQ section, or if you wish to discuss your horse's specific situation in more detail, please complete the form right to receive feed advice from one of our Nutrition Team.

You can also speak to one of our Nutrition Team directly, by calling 01371 850 247 (Option 2) Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.