Lessons Learned from Years with Health
Horse Health- Feeding Tips for Horses Proper diet is very important for your horse’s overall health. Poor diet can cause issues such as reduced performance, lameness, colic and increased risk of catching infectious diseases. In addition to water, horses need protein, vitamins, energy, and minerals. Proper balance and quantity of the nutrients is vital. Nutritional deficiencies, imbalances and excesses can all negatively affect the performance and health of a horse. When planning on what to feed a horse, how much to feed, and how to do it, you should remember that horses have little stomachs, which reduces the rations they consume at any given time. The digestive system of a horse is used to processing small quantities of food continuously; thus, horses tend to nibble on food almost constantly. Keeping this in mind, pasture is the most basic food for horses. Most mature horses doing moderate or light work will fare okay with just pasture as long as they have quality forage and adequate grazing time. If there’s inadequate pasture or none at all, the next best alternative is hay. If fed on just hay, most horses will normally need at least 1.5 or 2 pounds of top quality grass hay, including timothy, fescue or orchard grass, per one hundred pounds body weight every day. If you’re supplementing pasture with hay feed, adjust the amount of hay to keep the horse in tiptop shape.
Lessons Learned About Health
A horse is said to be in the right condition when you can’t see its ribs but you can easily feel them. The weight of a horse can be estimated by using a height tape, available at many feed stores. You can measure exact hay weights with economical hanging or quality loading scales. High grade hay is leafy, free of excessive dust, mold, and musty smell.
Lessons Learned About Health
Horses on grass or hay diets, or a combination of both need salt for balancing their rations. Depending on performance, age and forage fed, horses may also need a protein supplement, and/or vitamin/mineral horse supplements. Most stores now stock vitamin/mineral/protein supplements for horses fed on forage. These are low in calories and are usually fed at a rate of one or two pounds every day for an adult horse. Due to restrictions on the quantity of food consumed, forage only might not supply adequate nutrient needs for growing foals, nursing mares, pregnant mares, and hardworking horses. In such cases, a grain/concentrate should be fed to horses to supplement diets. Feed them appropriate amounts and kinds of grain/concentrate depending on the recommendations of the manufacturer. If you need to alter their diet, make sure to do it gradually. Horses still require a forage diet at 1-1.5 pounds per a hundred pounds of weight daily for normal working order of the digestive tract.