Effectiveness of total mixed rations (TMR)
Total mixed rations (TMR), wherein all the nutritional needs of the animals are met in a single feedstuff that is available free choice, are used in other species but not commonly for horses. In geographic areas, or years when a consistent, quality source of forage (either hay or pasture) is limited, TMR cubes may be a solution.
Research conducted at Rutgers University evaluated feeding forage based TMR cubes as the sole feed source to weanling draft horse crosses in 2004 to 2006. In the study, all 24 weanlings that were fed the TMR cubes maintained good health and body condition scores, while growing more efficiently than the 24 matched weanlings fed traditional hay/ concentrate (grain) diets.
Based on the results of these trials, feeding TMR cubes to weanling draft horse crosses can be an effective alternative to traditional forage (hay or pasture), especially during times of limited, quality forage.