Horse feeding: 10 tips on horse feeding
Horse feeding is not as simple as feeding other animals. It is not that it is especially difficult, but you must take into account certain aspects to feed them correctly. Currently, there is a wide variety of food for horses, but it is essential to know that not just any food is good for your horse so that it has all its nutritional needs covered. If for some reason, even though you feed your horse correctly, it shows signs of not being in very good health, it is best to consult your veterinarian to recommend some vitamins for horses.
Everyone knows that horse feeding is herbivorous animals and therefore needs hay, straw, grass or grain. But how much do they need and how often do you have to feed them? This response depends on several factors such as the breed, age, size, weight, health and workload of the animal. And even the weather.
Therefore, due to the individuality of the equine, there is no magic formula that allows it to be fed efficiently. It is necessary that you understand what the nutritional needs of the animal are based on its physical characteristics and its daily activities so that you can establish an adequate diet. In addition, so that you can fully enjoy your horse without major worries, it is ideal that you take out MAPFRE Horse Insurance which protects your horse from any unforeseen event at all times.
1. They should eat a lot of structural carbohydrates
It is essential that the majority of the horse feed be forage, that is, hay, alfalfa, straw or grass. These are essential carbohydrates for your body. It is recommended that they consume between 6 and 9 kg daily. Or the equivalent of 1-2% of their body weight in hay. It is important that you make sure that the horse always has enough hay to chew. On the other hand, you must make sure that this food is not full of mold or dust.
2. They should supplement their diet with grains
A balanced diet is a key to the health of any living being. In the case of horses, they not only need the structural carbohydrates found in forage, but also non-structural carbohydrates. These are found in foods like corn, oats, and barley. On the other hand, if the climate where you live is warm, it is advisable to provide the grains during the coolest hours of the day.
3. Must have access to clean water
Just like food, water is also essential in feeding your horse. It is an essential liquid for the life of any living being. And the horse is no exception. You want to make sure your horse has access to clean, freshwater most of the time. These animals require between 18 and 56 liters of water daily.
4. Supplement your diet with feed
When it comes to horse feed, you should keep in mind that forage and grains are what give your horse most of the nutrients it needs to be healthy. However, these animals also need other nutrients such as proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Hay and grass provide the horse with most of the calories it needs but giving it a little bit of enriched feed every day can help fill in the nutritional gaps.
5. Adjust your food according to your daily activities
As we have indicated, your horse will need more or less food depending on characteristics such as its weight, size, breed, etc. But you should also keep in mind that their nutritional needs vary depending on the type of forage they consume (some give more energy than others) and the type of activity they do. You should evaluate what he does to determine if you should increase or subtract the amount of food you give him.
6. Feed an hour before or after riding
Digestion is an important process that must be respected even in animals. For this reason, if your horse is going to carry out some type of physical activity, you should schedule its feeding for an hour before or after said activity. You cannot feed your horse before or immediately after strenuous exercise. If so, blood flow would be diverted from his organs and could interfere with his digestion.
7. Digestion should start with bland food
On the other hand, it is important to know what food to feed first so that digestion is correct. It is vital that this begins with soft food. For this reason, it is recommended to supply the grass in the morning, since this is the natural food of these animals. After this, you can supply the concentrate or other food. Always remember to remove the leftovers and clean the feeders and drinkers before offering a new meal.
8. If you are going to change their food, you should do it gradually
With so many types of horse feed on the market, it is likely that for one reason or another you will need to change your horse’s feed to another. If this is your case, you should keep in mind that you cannot do it abruptly. In the feeding of horses, changes must be made gradually. Therefore, the best way to do this is to first replace 25% of the old food with the new one. Two days later you can replace 50%. And a couple of days later replace 75%. So in less than a week, you should have been able to replace 100% of the old food with the new one.
9. Feed foals special supplements
If you have a foal, it is important that you know that you must feed them with special supplements for them. The digestive system of these animals depends on milk at first. Therefore, to keep them healthy, it is vital to gradually supply the grass, as well as other balanced foods. If the foal has efficient supplementation from an early age, it will be able to have a better development.
10. Give your horse small rations
You must bear in mind that, although the horse is a large animal, its stomach is small. This means that it cannot contain a large amount of food inside. However, due to the energy it expends, it requires constantly replenishing its energy through food. For this reason, you should give small portions but several times a day.