Understanding the appropriate foods to feed your horse is crucial for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As most horse owners will know, horses are designed to eat consistently throughout the day. This means that it is better to feed them small amounts more often, as opposed to letting them consume large amounts twice per day. This method mimics how they would feed in the wild and helps benefit their behavior.
Monitoring your horse as they eat is also important. If you think that their coat doesn’t seem as shiny as it once was, or they are not as energetic as before, it might be something to do with their diet. A horse’s digestive system is not built to withstand harsh foods, and if they consume something that disagrees with their stomach it is difficult for them to regurgitate the food. There are a number of different foods that horses can eat to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, the most important being forages such as grass and hay as it ensures they remain full throughout the day. Horses can also eat concentrates such as grains, as well as supplements in the form of vitamin pellets. Horses should also have access to a salt block, as it helps to maintain their electrolyte balance.
Adding grains to your horse’s diet enables them to consume a high fibre content. As well as this, oats are easiest grain to digest and therefore are a good choice for their sensitive stomachs. Feeding your horse the vitamins and minerals they require is also crucial for ensuring they are properly cared for. Not all horses require additional vitamins, however, horses who are pregnant or particularly athletic may need an additional boost. Ensuring that you feed your horse proper hay and grass is crucial, if they eat poor quality forages it can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Understanding the anatomy of your horse is important when it comes down to feeding sizes. Size, age and having knowledge of the industry they work in are all contributing factors when determining what amount you should give and if they require additional vitamins. The bigger the horse, the more that they need to consume to obtain their recommended daily allowance. If you overfeed or underfeed them it can lead to weight related issues. Athletic horses, such as a Thoroughbred breed, should be fed more forages as it helps to maintain their energy levels when competing. Be sure to remember that horses should be fed by weight, not by volume as it is more precise.
Most horses prefer to stick to a feeding routine, therefore it is important to feed them around the same time everyday. When they are not in a recurring system, they can become stressed. Try not to make any sudden changes to their diet as it might cause them to have an upset stomach. As an addition, treat them to something moist everyday, this can be anything from an apple to a carrot. Most importantly, make sure that they always have access to fresh water.