Last Updated on December 29, 2022
In this article, I will discuss and compare the options and benefits that come with choosing Triple Crown, Nutrena, or Tribute, the best horse feed brands on the market. I will do this by comparing grain lines between the companies and discussing the companies’ presence in the equestrian community.
Everyone has an opinion about what horse feed is best. But, all companies and brands are subject to the test of time, and there are three that have withstood that test. These are Triple Crown, Nutrena, and Tribute; brands that nearly all horse owners are familiar with. All three companies offer large varieties of grains for different horses’ needs. Each type of grain is manufactured with careful attention to detail and dedication to natural ingredients.
3 Best Horse Feed Brands
1. Triple Crown
Triple Crown Offers nine different types of grain and seven different kinds of forage. They also have their own supplement line. Triple Crown’s grain variations include a specialized grain for senior horses, ponies and miniature horses, yearlings and stallions, easy-keepers, horses accustomed to living outside, and more.
The natural ingredients in each grain match what horses that fall into these categories are likely to need in their diets. For example, their “Senior” grain includes high fat and beet pulp, both of which are used to maintain or increase a horse’s weight.
Its description details that it can be used on older horses that drop weight easily, horses that come from an unknown background, or a rescue that might need to increase their weight. Because of its ingredients, Triple Crown Senior is also good for horses with gastric ulcers.
Younger Horses and Mares
Another notable grain Triple Crown produces is its grain for weanlings, broodmares, and stallions, called “Growth.” As the name suggests, this grain provides younger horses and mares carrying foals with the nutrients they need to grow.
Triple Crown makes its product line simple and easy to understand while providing its customers with superior quality in their feeds.
Triple Crown is very active in the equestrian community. They have an extensive list of top sponsored riders including Hawley Bennett and Phillip Dutton (photographed below). Also, they have an impressive number of partnerships, including being the “Official Feed Sponsor” for the US eventing, dressage, and show jumping teams. They are also partnered with the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) and the United States Pony Club.
Read more about Best feeds for weight gain
2. Nutrena Horse Feed
Nutrena offers thirty-three different types of grain, organized into seven product lines for different categories of horses. They also have grains that are specifically designed to help different categories of horses, including grains for senior horses and young, growing horses, just like the Triple Crown. The ingredients of these grains are extremely similar, if not exactly the same.
From a user perspective, the most difficult thing I found while doing research is that there are many different grains with the same basic description. For example, their “ProForce Fuel” and “ProForce XTN” both show that they are used for performance horses, maintenance horses, and hard keepers.
If I was new to Nutrena, I wouldn’t know which one to pick for my performance horse, because I wouldn’t understand the difference without doing more extensive research.
Besides this one negative feature, is a reputable horse feed company. They don’t advertise that they sponsor any riders on their website, but they do have a horse-wellness blog, called “The Feed Room.” This blog features articles about horse feed, horse health, and horse-related research conducted by Nutrena, and Cargill Animal Nutrition.
Learn about How to choose the best-stabilized flaxseed supplement for horses
3. Tribute Horse Feed
Tribute offers twenty-four different types of grain, each catered to horses of unique circumstances, ages, and backgrounds. Like Triple Crown and Nutrena, Tribute offers grain for performance horses, senior horses, young horses, hard-keepers, easy-keepers, you name it, they have something for it.
Unlike Nutrena, Tribute gives a detailed description of the exact horse type that each grain is created for. Also unlike Nutrena, Tribute doesn’t have many subcategories of grain.
Many of their names have trademarks or copyrights, but no definitive categories. With so many different types of grain, this makes it time-consuming. For a new customer, it is hard to understand the characteristics of each grain.
Similar to the Triple Crown, Tribute is very involved in the equestrian community. They have “featured” riders that include eventer Megan O’Donoghue and show-jumper Candice King.
Candice King says the following about Tribute: “The benefits of Tribute are simple. We save money on our feed bills and our horses look and perform at their best. We feed less grain and have seen vastly better gains in the weight and condition of our horses. For us, the consistency of how the grain performs in our horses is the most crucial. To us, the horses’ health and well-being are of the utmost importance.”
The tribute also offers a partnership program, for any equestrian program or company that regularly uses Tribute grain for their horses. The company will give back to these groups depending on what type of group they are. These are non-profit, riding school, etc, and how much product they order.
What Can I Add to My Horses Feed?
It is not always necessary to add anything to your horse’s feed, and what you add will depend on the nutritional requirements of your horse. If your horse is receiving the recommended amount of nutritionally balanced horse feed, it will not need anything added unless it has a specific requirement.
For example, if your horse has a dull, poor coat or cracked hooves, it may be necessary to add a supplement that is targeted specifically at these problems.
For horses that do not get a full ration of horse feed, it is a good idea to add a feed balancer to the feed. This provides all the nutrients your horse needs and is a good choice for horses that are on a diet that consists mainly of forage such as hay.
There are some things you can add to your horse’s feed as a treat, such as chopped apples and carrots, or molasses. Soaked sugar beet pulp can also be a tasty addition to feed which many horses enjoy.
How to Become a Horse Feed Dealer?
If you want to become a horse feed dealer, the best place to start is by approaching your favorite horse feed manufacturer. Most manufacturers are always on the lookout for new horse feed dealers and will jump at the chance of helping you to set up a store of your own.
Some horse feed dealers stay affiliated with just one brand, and you can easily run a small business like this from your barn or garage. If you want to expand into selling several brands of horse feed, it may be necessary to invest in bigger premises and storage facilities.
What Do You Feed an Underweight Horse?
Selecting what to feed an underweight horse will depend very much on the reason why it is underweight to start with. Attempting to put weight on a horse quickly can be very dangerous, so the aim should always be to increase the body weight of the horse slowly.
If you have an underweight horse, it is a good idea to get it checked out by your veterinarian for any underlying health problems or parasite issues. Once you’ve got the all-clear, you can start to add in extra feed to help the horse gain weight.
Most veterinarians and equine nutritionists will advise that the best way to put weight on a horse is to increase its energy intake by feeding higher quality forage such as alfalfa. Feeds containing cereal grains can also be fed, but not in greater quantities than advised by the feed manufacturer.
If this is not sufficient, the next step is to increase the fat intake of the horse. This can be achieved by switching to a commercial feed with a higher fat content, or by adding rice bran, vegetable oil, or flax seed to your horse’s diet.
What Ratio is Compromised By Feeding a Diet High in Bran to Horses?
Wheat bran was commonly fed to horses in years gone by, and a warm bran mash is still regarded as a treat for horses. While feeding wheat bran little and often to horses is absolutely fine, giving too much wheat bran can cause serious problems.
The reason for this is that wheat bran is very low in calcium and very high in phosphorous. Horses should consume twice as much calcium as phosphorous, so feeding wheat bran to horses can severely upset this ratio.
One common solution to this problem is to add a source of calcium to the wheat bran, normally limestone flour. You would need to add 50g of limestone flour per kg of wheat bran to give the perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus.
If you are feeding a bran mash as an occasional treat, adding limestone flour is not considered to be necessary. The horse will consume enough calcium through the rest of its food intake to balance out the ratio. However, if wheat bran makes up a large part of your horse’s diet, it may be time to consider adding some limestone flour as well.
Where to Recycle Horse Feed Bags?
If you’re a horse owner, you’ll know how quickly a mountain of used feed bags can pile up! However, disposing of them can become a problem, particularly if you want to live sustainably and recycle as much as possible.
The first thing to do is figure out what your horse feed bags are made from. If they are plastic, they may be able to be recycled in your plastic recycling bins. The types of plastic that can be recycled will vary widely from region to region, so it is a good idea to check with your local authority first.
A bigger problem is caused by horse feed bags that look like they are made from paper. These sacks often contain a thin layer of plastic between the layers of paper. From a recycling point of view, this poses a real problem, as plastic is not easy to separate from paper.
Finding a lower-impact solution to the problem of disposing of horse feed bags really should be a priority for the horse feed industry. So, if you often find yourself feeling disheartened by the amount of bags you have to throw into the general waste bin, contact your feed manufacturer to find out what they are doing about it!
Triple Crown, Nutrena, and Tribute have proven themselves to be at the head of the equine feed industry. All three provide high-quality grains and feeds for all different kinds of horses. They all contribute to the equine community in unique ways, including sponsored riders and equine blogs, and research.
I hope this article helped you get to know these three companies better. And helped you learn more about the best horse feed brands on the market.
How often should horses be fed?
As a standard, most horse owners feed their horses twice a day. However, this is mostly out of convenience to human schedules. In nature, horses are grazers and rely on constant forage for optimal bodily function. Even essential tasks that may seem unrelated, such as winter warmth, rely on a horse’s constant intake of forage. As hay is digested, it produces heat and helps regulate its internal temperature. Their GI tract is designed to constantly consume small amounts of forage. In addition, a horse’s stomach is small in comparison to its overall size.
How much should a senior horse eat?
Senior horses typically require more calories and specialized food for optimal health. Rather than focusing on quantity, it is important to analyze the quality of nutrients a senior horse consumes. Senior horses typically become “hard keepers” due to changes in their metabolism, decreased digestion efficiency, and missing teeth. With these teeth issues, some horses may need an alternative source of forage as grazing and standard hay may be difficult or high-risk to eat. Senior horses need quality protein and amino acids. Less nutritious hay with stalks or thicker stems is not a good choice for seniors.
Does my horse need a balancer?
A ration balancer is a great option for many horses. Balancers can be fed alone or with other feeds. They contain an essential and nutrient-rich combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. This heavily fortified feed can be fed in small quantities to horses that need additional nutrients, but are not candidates for larger quantities of feed. This can be for horses that are not being worked, have sugar or starch limitations, or have weight/ other medical issues. Some horse owners use ration balancers when they have easy keepers that cannot be fed enough traditional grain or feed to supplement nutritionally.
What is the best ration balancer for horses?
Your reasoning for using a ration balancer will help determine the best brand of balancer for your horse. If you are feeding a balancer alone, you will want one with highly concentrated nutritional content. For example, senior balancers are a good option when feeding alone. If dressing feed with a balancer, nutrients can be less condensed if you just wanted to “boost” your current feed.
Triple Crown 30% ration balancer is a great option, especially for horses sensitive to sugars or horses that have metabolic issues. Purina also makes the Enrich balancer recommended for growing horses needing more supplemental nutrients.
Are alfalfa pellets or cubes better for horses?
Overall, alfalfa cubes offer a better-quality forage source than pellets. Alfalfa pellets cannot be substituted for hay because of the lack of long-stem fibers. The pellets lack the nutritional value missing from long-stem forage. Pellets can also be eaten very quickly, increasing the choking risk. However, pellets are more convenient to feed and have much less dust. Alfalfa cubes offer long-stem forage because they are simply chopped hay. However, most owners will soak each variety. Soaked pellets are a great option for senior horses with dental issues, as it provides a nutrient-dense source of forage-based calories.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.