Food is your horse’s foundation; his fuel for exercise and a healthy immune system. A proper feeding schedule and the type of feed you give him are just two of the elements needed to ensure a healthy, balanced diet to keep him in top form. Read on for our top tips to feed your horse.
One Feed Does Not Fit All: Every Horse Is Different
A horse’s size, exercise routine and breed all play a role in feeding requirements. For example, if your horse isn’t turned out to pasture for the majority of the day, he’ll require more hay than one who’s grazing all day long. Keep in mind that with grain, less is more. Start with a small portion and increase to your horse’s needs. If the number of races your horse does changes, their food ration will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Change Feed and Feed Schedules Gradually
Consistency is key to a good feeding schedule. The feed should be given accurately and if the type or ration size changes, ensure it’s done incrementally. Sudden changes can lead to colic or founder. Routine is paramount to your horse’s health!
Don’t Fuel Right Before or After Exercise
Try to feed your horse either an hour before, or an hour after you ride him. If it’s race day or a strenuous training session, make it closer to three hours before or after. A horse’s lungs have less room to work if their digestive tract is full, causing them to exert more energy. Exertion also diverts blood flow away from the digestive organs which can slow gut movement and enhance the prospect of colic.
Water Often and Provide Plenty of Roughage
Provide your horse with 5 – 15 gallons of fresh, clean drinking water per day. Nothing is more nutritious and beneficial to his organs, coat and general well-being. Aside from water, high quality hay or pasture should make up the bulk of your horse’s calories. If your horse is more high performance, add grain as needed.
An Additional Note on Feeding:
We would like to note that feeding processed food such as pellets or sweetened foods can be dangerous. We have tested a number of these and found many contained mould or other toxins. Be mindful of what you feed as it can be harmful over a period of time.
We’ve also found that adding Apple Cider Vinegar to a horse’s diet has numerous health benefits as well.