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What To Feed Your Horse


feeding horseFor such a large animal, the digestive system of the horse is surprisingly delicate. Optimize your horses' nutrition by knowing what they need and when to supply it. An athletic horse will have greater nutritional needs than a horse that is riding only on occasion.

1. Pasture
Pasture is the number one way to feed your horses. They love it, you love it and it's natural for them. Horses in the wild graze happily throughout the day. Their stomachs are quite small for their size, built for continuous eating throughout the day. Make your pasture function at optimal effieciency by dividing your pasture and rotating your horses through the different sections. They get to eat different grasses, and you get a chance to clean out any manure.

2. Hay and Grains
Hay is a basic staple of the horse diet, and it is important that you feed only high qualty, dry and mold free hay to your horses. When purchasing a bale, ask the seller to open one so you can see inside. Make sure that the grass is green, dust free and mold free. The blend of grasses most commonly considered best is a grass and alfalfa mix, as alfafla is high in protein. Hay also helps to soothe them, they need to chew and by having hay to chew that need is met.

Grains are important in providing carbs for athletic horses and horses in cold winters. They help to give extra energy which can provide warmth in the winter, and more protein which helps horses' bodies continue functioning well.

3. Concentrates
Hard workers, pregnant mares and foals need extra nutrition. Hay and grain provide some of this, however the addition of other concentrates such as sweet feed and manufactured feed are a good way to add these as needed. Sweet feed is a molasses and grain mix. Beet pulp is also a good addition as it provides extra bulk. They must be soaked so they expand and you should never prepare more than one days feeding at a time.

4. Salt and Minerals
You should always provide your horse with a salt block. If they appear to need additional supplements, you can get a trace mineral salt block; however, you should be sure that whatever block you get is made specifically for horses.

A single horse will drink five to ten gallons of water a day. It is important, as with any animal you own, that you provide them with a steady supply of water that is clean, and fresh- even in winter. Though they can survive on snow it is never ideal for an animal to have to eat snow in order to receive water.


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