Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Horse feeding

Horses should have a constant supply of fresh water, and a salt or mineral lick should be provided. As horses are grazing animals, they are used to eating all day, so the more often the better. They are generally fed twice a day: morning and evening.
The main component of a horse's diet is roughage or hay. If a horse is kept on grass they may not need to be supplied with hay as long as pastures are green. The amount and type of hay to feed depends on the horse's size and how much exercise the horse is getting. It is a good idea to talk to people at the feed store in your area and your veterinarian about what type of hay is best for your horse
Be careful not to feed too much hay with high protein content, because it can lead to hoof problems, if your horse is getting a lot of protein and not enough exercise. Often it works well to mix different types of hay to achieve a balanced diet, such as a grass hay and a high-calorie hay like alfalfa. Be very careful when feeding grain and err on the side of too little, especially if a horse is not getting much exercise as too much grain can also lead to hoof problems such as laminitis.
Stay away from oats and sweet feeds, because they are too rich and tend to make horses ‘hot', meaning very excitable. Manufactured supplements such as the Purina products provide better nutrition and are not as rich. It will usually say on the packaging how much to feed, but talk to your veterinarian and adjust the amount of grain according to the amount of exercise the horse is getting. Corn oil can be added to grain if you are trying to get a horse to gain weight. There are also many specialized supplements for coat, joints, and hooves that can be fed for extra nutrition.
Do not feed a horse directly before or after exercise because it can lead to discomfort and problems with digestion.

Posted by Joanna

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