What to Feed Your Horse and How Much
As a horse owner, one of your most important responsibilities is providing your animal with proper nutrition. Feeding your horse a balanced diet not only ensures their health and wellbeing but also impacts their performance and behaviour. In this chapter, we’ll explore what to feed your horse and how much to give them.
Hay and Forage
Hay and forage should make up the majority of your horse’s diet. Hay is typically made from grass or legumes and provides your horse with essential nutrients such as protein, fibre, and carbohydrates. Forage, such as grass or haylage, provides your horse with additional nutrients and helps keep their digestive system healthy.
Grain and Concentrates
In addition to hay and forage, some horses may require grain and concentrates to supplement their diet. Grain provides extra energy and protein, while concentrates are specially formulated to provide specific nutrients. However, not all horses require grain or concentrates, and overfeeding can lead to health problems such as laminitis.
Water is essential for your horse’s health and wellbeing. Your horse should have access to clean, fresh water at all times, whether in the stable or out in the field. Horses can drink up to 10 gallons of water per day, so make sure their water supply is adequate.
It’s important to establish a feeding schedule for your horse and stick to it as closely as possible. Horses should be fed at regular intervals throughout the day, with the majority of their food consumed during the daytime hours. Feeding before and after exercise can also help maintain your horse’s energy levels and prevent digestive problems.
It’s important to provide your horse with the right amount of food for their size, age, and activity level. Overfeeding can lead to weight gain and health problems, while underfeeding can cause nutritional deficiencies and other health issues. Use a measuring tool to ensure you’re providing the right amount of food for your horse.
Feeding your horse a balanced diet is essential for their health, wellbeing, and performance. Make sure your horse has access to plenty of hay and forage, supplement their diet with grain or concentrates if necessary, provide clean, fresh water, establish a feeding schedule, and use portion control to ensure your horse is getting the right amount of food. By following these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to providing your horse with the best possible nutrition.