What to feed 2 year old?

Hi everyone,

I am trying to transition a 2 year old filly to my current boarding situation, and I am not sure which feed would be best. She’s currently on free choice hay, and a couple of pounds of 14% protein pellet manufactured by the local feed mill.

My current boarding barn does not offer free choice hay (most don’t in my area) but hay is fed in nets 3x a day, by weight. This horse is an easy keeper at her current barn, but I expect that might change without free-choice hay, but perhaps not. I have always fed my babies a balancer in the past, with alfalfa pellets and sometimes beet pulp if they needed some more calories. I am really unsure what to start on with this horse. Any suggestions? She’s 14.3 and about 1000lbs currently, according to the vet. Thanks very much!

“a couple pounds” is probably under-feeding from a nutritional standpoint.

If you’re feeding 2-3lb (a couple) because more would make her too heavy, then use a ration balancer. 1.5-2lb would be a typical serving based on her weight

if you need more calories, you have some options, which include the alfalfa pellets, or a regular feed. Which regular feed, depends on what you have available.

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Thanks so much! The couple of pounds is not what I’ll be feeding her, but what she was getting when I bought her. She’s still there, for now. I am guessing she gets that amount, as you said, because more would make her too heavy, since she is on free choice hay. To be fair to the breeder, she does also get a vit/mineral supplement to fill in any gaps. I’m guessing that is the most economical route for them, with so many horses.

Since she’ll be losing that extra hay, I was worried she might benefit more from something like Triple Crown Growth, with a higher feeding rate. Though a balancer with hay pellets and beet pulp might be more adjustable? I think I feel worried about that route because I am being superstitious. My last two babies sustained major injuries despite an ideal lifestyle for a young horse, so while it’s rather improbable it’s linked to diet, I always feel like maybe I did something wrong in that department.

Good deal :slight_smile:

Since the fastest growth is behind her, you might just have to wait and see what the new hay situation does for her weight.

Balancer + hay/beep is indeed a nicely adjustable way to feed, just potentially more $$ if you need significant calories (doesn’t seem to be your situation)

If you DO need reliably more calories, I’d go with TC Sr over Growth, just because it’s lower NSC, and nearly identical to the old Growth formula before they increased the oats and the NSC

:frowning: :frowning: In all likelihood, it wasn’t diet, just sheer dumb luck :frowning:


Not to hijack OP’s post, but I also have a question for @JB about feeding a 2 year old. He’s been on TC Growth since I brought him home as a weanling; just turned 2 this month. He gets less than the recommended amount so I add a vit/min supplement. He’s on free choice grass hay and limited pasture. I’m trying to decide whether I should transition him to TC Complete or TC Senior. Any suggestion?

Unless a horse is in hard enough work to warrant the higher NSC of TC Growth or Complete, I’ll always recommend TC Sr, even for youngsters

But whether you use either of those depends on the calorie needs. Since he’s been getting less than the recommended amount of Growth, I’d go with either TC Lite (1-2lb per 500lb), or TC Balancer with some alfalfa pellets if he needs a little boost in calories

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Thanks for the input!

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My 2 year olds dont get grain until they start work unless they need it - but when they do i ususlly give them senior because thry are ususlly in growth spurts.

No forage is complete, or balanced, and usually both.

Not feeding unless they need calories, isn’t taking into account the nutritional needs they still have.


At 14.3 and 1000 pounds it sounds like free choice hay is not in her best interests anymore? Really important to try and keep them from getting too heavy and stressing their growing bodies.

I know one good growth spurt can make a difference almost overnight it seems but she certainly sounds robust right now. I would let her be for a bit on the new barns schedule and add different feeds or amounts as soon as you see she might need it.

That really depends on how hot eh horse is built. Bulldog Foundation type QH? Pretty reasonable.

TB type? Probably not reasonable.

It would also help ti know how that 1000lb was arrived at. Guessimate? Usually poor. Scale? Can’t argue, but that still doesn’t tell us the BCS of the horse. Weight tape? Could be on, could be under-weighing, a very slight change of over-weighing, but it still doesn’t tell us BCS

@OceansAway any chance you can post a pic of her? How easily can you feel ribs?

So her height and weight were determined at the prepurchase exam. I am guessing the vet used tape, because there is no scale at the barn. She is currently out of state, so I can’t palpate anything, unfortunately. I’ll see if I can get a decent picture. She does not look heavy to me visually, but is not a refined sort. She’s a DHH.