Guide to Horse Nutrition

Horse nutrition is an integral part in keeping your horse healthy and happy. As with any other pet, it is important that your horse gets the right amount and type of equine nutrition in relation to its body weight, energy consumption, and medical condition. While hay is the main source of energy for horses, it is essential that you make sure your horse gets all the nutrients it needs. Here is a short guide to feeding your horse:

The type of diet your horse should get depends on a number of factors. A mature horse doing light work is usually ok with just the food it gets while grazing if the pasture is large and well maintained. During the spring months pasture grass is particularly nutritious which may lead to overeating. Special care should be taken to avoid laminitis.

During winter or when the pasture does not provide enough food, it is important to have some good quality hay. Always examine the hay before you purchase it to ensure that it is dust free.

Young horses, pregnant or nursing mares, and performance horses will need extra feed to meet their energy requirements. There are specific feeds for specific type of horses. Grain and manufactured pellets will increase horses’ energy intake.

Salt and electrolytes replace any essential minerals that horses lose with sweat. These horse supplements should be available to horses in work. Oils such as flax or cod liver oil are great for horses’ coat and provide some extra nutrients.

If you are unsure about the amounts of feed your horse should get, consult your vet. It is important to take notice of any changes in your horse’s appearance as these are clues to whether they are being over or underfed.

Proper horse nutrition can be achieved by feeding your horse small amounts frequently. Whether you choose to feed your horse twice or three times a day, it is important to stick to a regular schedule and leave at least an hour between feeding and exercising.

Some horses may need supplements to compliment their diets. Some areas might be low in copper or your horse might need a supplement for its hooves. In all your feeding questions, ask your vet for advice. Ensure that your horse’s teeth are looked after as bad teeth might result in your horse not being able to chew properly.

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