Feeds

Horse Feeds

When it comes to feeding a horse, there are some general guidelines that you should follow. Many factors influence what type and what amount of feed horses should receive including horse age, breed, size, health, workload and the region in which it lives. In addition to the many types of horse feed available, there are also supplements that augment a horse’s diet. You should have a definite understanding of your horse’s needs so you can ensure it has a healthy diet in the appropriate amounts.

Knowing how to properly feed a horse means knowing how their bodies function among other things. Rather than feed horses large meals twice a day, they should have access to a continual supply of food. Their stomachs are small relative to their size and cannot hold large quantities of feed. To avoid health problems and ensure that horses have access to their traditional staple, see to it that they have plenty of forage. Grass, hay or oat straw should always be available to them to keep a small amount of food in them at all times. It helps to keep them healthy by aiding digestion.

Horses should not be fed immediately before or after heavy work. Rather, there should be a period of at least an hour before and after when they are fed. Other general guidelines include weighing a horse’s daily rations. Don’t simply feed by the scoop. Always use high quality feeds. Your horse’s health could suffer by feeding it poor quality feed. When feeding horses, mix their feed together, but do not include it with anything that has been left over. By doing this, it will give you an idea of what the horse is and is not eating and allows you to better ration the feed.

A horse should put on a little weight during the cold months, especially if it lives outdoors. A healthy animal will slim down again in the spring, and the extra weight helps it stay warm during the winter.

Horses should always have access to fresh water and a salt or mineral lick. Forage like grass or hay comprises 2 to 3% of a horse’s body weight and can be fed to it freely. Horses that undergo heavy work, are unhealthy, advanced in age or are engaged in breeding might need supplements. A healthy horse with access to water, minerals and quality forage does not need supplements to their diet. When horses are taxed, however, they may require some additional nutrients. There are many commercially available supplements and, like forage, they should be of high quality. They should also target the horse’s need.

Having an understanding of horse feed is necessary for all horse owners. There are very basic but very important guidelines for feeding horses. Remember that all horses are different and will very different needs.

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