How to Feed “Hot” Horses

Hot horses come in all shapes and sizes and they express their energy in several different ways. Sometimes these expressions can be dangerous to themselves or others; so, handling the problem quickly and effectively is essential to a happy, healthy relationship with your hot horse. When attempting to understand what is causing the excess energy and tension in your horse’s life, make sure you don’t forget about their diet.


The “natural” diet for a horse is often far different than the “performance” diet for a horse. The “natural” diet for a horse is one in which the horse has free-access to pasture and will graze for up to 20 hours per day. This gives the horse a slow, continuous intake of fibrous feed into their digestive system and allows for the horse to roam freely, giving them ample daily exercise. If the horse is on a “performance” diet they will typically be fed twice a day and confined to a stall. When fed like this, horses often finish their meals in a short time and then just stand in their stall for long periods of time waiting for their next meal and usually do not have the opportunity for natural exercise.

What Effects Can the “Performance” Diet Have on Their Behavior?

“Performance” diets are typically low in fiber intake, high in grain intake and limit natural exercise. The combined result can be an increase in behaviors such as cribbing, wood chewing, weaving, stall walking, and overall excitable behavior. Scientists have tried to determine the exact cause or causes of these behavior problems. Possible explanations include: frustration due to confinement, lack of socialization with other horses, acid accumulation in the digestive system as a result of a low fiber, high grain intake leading to pain, or simply a lack of exercise leading to pent up energy. A lot of this can be alleviated with proper dietary management.

Calming Through Diet

There are several horse feeds and supplements on the market that claim to be “calming” or “non-heating”. Most horse feeds that claim to be “calming” or “non-heating” include low sugar ingredients such as beet pulp. They are also typically supplemented with fat to provide non-sugar calories for the horse. Overall, these feeds generally contain lower sugar content, thus potentially resulting in less negative behavior if fed correctly.

Triple Crown Can Help

Triple Crown has several feed options that can help calm “hot” horses. Which one is right for your horse depends on what type of horse you have. For a harder keeping horse who needs more feed and calories, we would recommend our Low Starch or Senior feeds. For an easy keeper who is prone to getting heavy easily, we would recommend our Lite or 30% Ration Balancer feeds, along with plenty of high-quality hay.

If you’d like to learn more about “hot” horses, calming them, or how changes in diet can help alleviate this issue, please contact us today.