Just like most other companion animals, horses require lots of care, and taking care of them can be a difficult task, especially when it comes to their feed and nutritional needs.
Nutrition is the foundation for a healthy, strong, and thriving horse. So determining the best feed for your horse and researching ways to optimize its natural digestive system is essential.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you do that. Let’s look at some major tips that can significantly improve your horse’s diet and fill its needs.
Understand the Horse’s Nutritional Requirements
Typically, a horse’s diet consists of five different kinds of nutrients. This includes appropriate amounts of water, starch in grains, fiber from hay, and, most importantly, vitamins and minerals. Using high-end horse feeds and supplements like Barastoc can also cater to its physical health and overall requirements.
Plenty of factors can influence a horse’s requirements, like its breed, body weight, age, and living environment.
You could further improve your horse’s nutrition if you:
- Provide fresh water
- Increase forage intake
- Know your horse’s body condition score
- Take account of natural changes
- Supplement with vitamins and minerals
- Find ways to help the horse when it’s stressful.
Routine and Timing are Important
If you plan on modifying what you feed to your horse and when you provide it, remember to do it gradually. Suddenly changing the amounts of feed and the time of day could upset the horse’s digestive system and make things worse.
Changing it moderately over time by adding small amounts to the old feed will help the horse get used to it first. After successfully doing this, make sure that you manage the same feeding time every day. This allows your horse to achieve a proper diet, plus the fact that routine-based feeding is calming for most horses.
Feed Grain in Small Provisions Regularly
Feeding grains to a horse is a great choice since it can provide 1.5 pounds more energy per pound than hay and reduces your horse’s chances of developing stomach ulcers and colic. But what most people dont realize is “the more, the better” doesn’t apply when it comes to feeding grains.
Providing grains to the horse in smaller amounts rather than just one big meal is the right way to do it. Not only are small, periodic meals more logical and natural for the horse, but they can also help in its proper digestion of food.
Match the Sustenance with its Exercise
The amount of grain or other feed that your horse consumes will largely depend on its exercise. For instance, if your horse doesnt train much, the additional calories from grains won’t be as necessary. For a typical horse that exercises and runs around frequently, adding an extra pound or two of grains per hour of work to the feed would be helpful.
Preferably, you should wait at least an hour after the horse is done eating to train or exercise it, and if it’s something more demanding, then wait for about three hours first.