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Feeding Your Horse


horse feedThe most important tip? Find a diet that works for your horse and stick with it. This way any sudden loss or gain of weight can be quickly identified and you can have them checked out by a veterinarian before any problems become too serious!

1. How much food should I feed my horse?
An average horse weighs about 1000 pounds and general wisdom states that you should feed two to two and a half pounds per hundred pounds of body weight. This means that a 1000 pound horse should be fed between twenty and twenty-five pounds of food PER DAY. Most of it should be hay, with two to five pounds of grain. You will need to keep track of your horses' weight and measurements and adjust their feed as necessary to keep them at an optimum weight and size. Remember!  A winter coat can hide a thin horse. Be proactive and measure your horse regularly.

2. How often does my horse need to eat?
Horses have very small stomachs for their size. They are meant to eat small amounts constantly throughout the day. This means ideally you feed your horse small amounts of food and often. It is equally important that you feed your horses on a regular schedule every single day. Remember to allow an hour for your horse to rest between eating and feeding.

3. Eating too much?
Overfeeding is definitely a problem you can experience with your horses. Just like with people, while some horses will eat only what they need, others will happily eat everything you offer. As a rule of thumb, avoid concentrates unless your horse NEEDS it, and keep track of their size through weighing and measurements. If they appear to be over-grazing, move them to a dirt corral so they don't have access to grass.

4. Overweight?
Use the body conditioning score to determine if your horse is too heavy or too thin; in other words how do they look? Much of it is based on common sense, if your animal looks too big or too thin they probably are. Bony portions of the horse, ribs, base of tail, hips should have a slight covering but be easily felt. The neck should be firm but without crest.

5. How do I make sure everyone is getting their fair share?
Horses are have a very strong pecking order and if you don't make sure everyone gets enough food someone will get left out while you're lead horse gets too much. Spread hay out so there is more than one pile and physically separate horses when giving grains.


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