4 Tips for Feeding Your Horse the Correct Food
Updated: Jun 24
By Sue Kruger
Horses are some of the most beautiful and majestic animals in the world. If you are a first-time horse owner, you need to take great care in what, how, and when you feed your horse. Each horse has different needs when it comes to food. Feeding your horse can be complex when it comes to quality and quantity, but today I will share a few main points to help get you on the right track.
1. Horses need a high fibre diet
The biggest part of a horse’s diet has to be made up of roughage. Horses get all the necessary nutrients and calories from high-quality horse feed or grass. If they receive the correct amount for their individual needs, they shouldn’t need any grains or supplements. If the quality of the pasture is not ideal, you can consider adding hay or grains to their daily feeding. When adding grains, make sure to get your horse nutritionist’s advice on the type and amount. Too much grain can lead to too much weight gain and gastric problems.
2. Slow feeding is the best way to feed your horse
Horses have different energy needs based on how active they are, but slow feeding remains the best way to feed your horse. Slow feeding means that you allow your horse to graze and consume grass at their own pace. It can also mean that you feed your horse small mealsat frequent intervals if your pasture is low quality or your horse does not have the opportunity to graze for long periods of time. Nutrients and energy are slowly released when the horse starts chewing. Allowing your horse to graze, gives him the opportunity to eat what he needs and consume all the necessary nutrients.
3. Consider your horse’s individual needs
Your horse’s needs depend on his activity levels, workload, temperament, and the quality of the food. If your horse is a workhorse or competes, he will need more energy than a horse that simply grazes a few hours a day or spends most of his time in a stable. A horse who is nervous or anxious by nature will use up more energy than a calm horse and will also require more frequent feeding or more food. When planning your horse’s meals, you need to take these factors into account and weigh the correct amount to serve his unique needs.
4. Add some treats to your horse’s feed
You can also add some treats to your horse’s feed to keep it interesting and add variation. Fruits and vegetables like bananas, carrots, apples, and turnips are good options. You will soon find out what your horse prefers. Add that to his feed regularly as a treat and watch him neigh and smile.
If you keep these things in mind when planning your horse’s food and feeding routines, you will have a good starting point. There are two other important things to keep in mind. Hydration is very important, so make sure that there is always a lot of fresh water available for your horse. The water shouldn’t be too cold as they don’t like that. Also, make sure that your horse gets enough salt. Horses are good with regulating their salt balance. If you leave a salt block out, your horse will lick it as needed and take in the salt that his body needs.
These basics will get you started and make sure that you have a happy and healthy horse. I always suggest that new horse ownerstalk to a veterinarian and/ or a horse nutritionist to make sure that they get the correct quality and quantity food for their horse. Once you have the hang of it and understand your horse’s needs, you can go at it on your own and watch your horse grow and thrive.