Little-to-No Structured Physical Routine
Any horse who is not subjected to intense physical activity on a regular basis (5-6 days of hard work per week), can be considered a pasture pet. These horses may not work in a structured physical activity routine, but they still serve a wonderful purpose - they offer companionship, go on light trail rides, hack around the farm, or are ridden occasionally.
These horses still need to have a balanced and well maintained diet, so it is important that they are fed properly. If your horse is on pasture 24 hours 7 days a week, it is important to test the soil/grass for its nutrition content before adding any additional supplementation or feed. Similarly, if your horse is on a mostly hay diet, the hay should be tested to see what is lacking or in excess. Many times, a horse on pasture will have its nutritional needs met, but it is important to keep an eye out to make sure your horse does not overeat or get too skinny.
Different parts of the country have depleted levels of vitamins and/or minerals from the soil, so it is important to test your horse’s feed source. Sending in a soil sample to your local farm cooperative will give you a great idea what what your horse may be deficient in and how to meet his unique nutritional needs.
For the recommended vitamin and mineral intake values per day, offers mineral and vitamin allowances for mature horses. The tables below show the estimated values a horse on pasture/hay should receive each day. Note: these are different than performance horse values because during/after exercise, performance horses may lose essential vitamins and minerals and may need to be supplemented to meet the demands of their work.
Tables above adapted from: Ralston, S. (2018). Nutritional Requirements of Horses - Management and Nutrition. Retrieved January 28, 2018, from