Mare sure that your horse is provided with a proper diet may be quite a challenge. But as it is an essential factor in maintaining the overall health and proper functioning of the horse, it is inevitable that you make sure you know much about how to provide proper horse diet to ensure that your horse will remain healthy and well.
It is also necessary to understand how much your horse would need to sustain its well-being. Since this animal does not have a huge digestive track, it won’t require as much food that other animals of its size would require. It will require frequent feeding, however, as it does consume energy quite well.
In general, a horse will need to be provided with high quality feed and supplements to ensure that it will remain healthy and well.
What composes a horse’s diet?
Pasture is an important form of feed for horses. They need to graze and consume high-quality pasture for optimal health. They would need about 8 to 10 hours at pasture to ensure that they get to consume the right amount and at areas where there is good quality of pasture forage.
A horse’s grazing behavior will most likely depend on factors, such as the age of the horse, the workload of the horse, pasture management practices, the time and season of foraging, as well as the quality of forage available. You may observe horses who have access to good quality pasture that are available in a greater amount, to graze longer than those who are limited to otherwise less appealing pasture forage.
Grazing also allows the horse to socialize with other horse. They would be walking around either to find a better grazing ground or be close to other horses of their kind. Whatever the condition of the grazing ground, the time spent by a horse to graze will depend largely on its nutritional need.
Domestic or cart pulling horses feed more on hay. When looking for high-quality hay for horses, make sure that the hay is fresh green, mold free, as well as dust free. It will also be preferable to have the hay packed in a bale at normal temperature. Warm storage attracts fungi and mold, so it is best to have the hay in a storage kept at normal temperatures. You will also need to consider the type of hay as the nutritional value of the hay depends on it. It is best to combine different types of hay for the most health benefits for your horse.
Horses that have heavy workloads or those that are used to pull carts will need more than just hay and fresh pasture. Those who have special condition, such as pregnant mares, will need other sources of nutritional supplementation to maintain their good health. Concentrates should be given to them aside from their daily diet. These supplements would include whole or cracked grains, molasses, as well as feeds like cubes. Others also find beet pulp a good alternative.
A good indicator of a horse’s overall health is its hooves. The horse’s coat is also a good indicator of how well it is. Poor quality hooves – cracking and with strong odor and a dull coat are indicators that your horse is not being well fed.
A balanced diet for horses will also provide the essential minerals, fats and oil for horse, antioxidants, as well as the needed vitamins that will ensure that the animal will maintain its overall good health.
The best way to determine whether the quality of hay and pasture that your horse has access to is to have these feed sources tested. You may also rely on whatever is available from the most favored providers within your community for the most palatable and appropriate diet that could be provided to your horse. (more…)