Nutrition is an essential part of having a healthy and happy horse. Aside from giving it a good shelter to stay, you’ll also need to provide quality feed and clean water at all times to meet it daily nutritional needs. Different horses have different nutritional needs. Performance horses need a lot different kind of feed than horses for leisure riding. However, all of them could benefit from common set of feeding and watering steps to keep them healthy and strong all year round.
If you’re still new to taking care of horses, here are some of the important tips that would surely boost their nutrition and keep them healthy.
Provide More Forage and Lesser Grains
Forage is the main source of food for horses. You should feed the right amount of hay or grass depending on the horse’s weight. Since the horse digestive system works at its best with fibre, forage is definitely the perfect feed for them. You could search on how to calculate the amount of hay needed depending on the horse’s weight or size to determine how much your horse needs.
Although you could feed grain to your horse, it is recommended to keep this at a minimum. The equine digestive system isn’t really designed to handle grain that well. Grain promotes gas production in the gut which could lead to colic and make your horse feel unwell. Keep grains and fibres balanced when feeding, with more forage than grains. Keep your horse feed fresh even for a long time with a sealed horse feed bin.
Provide Clean and Fresh Water
Horses need a lot of water every day, especially on hot summer months. They could drink about 10 gallons per day or more when the temperatures are high. Be sure to provide adequate clean and fresh water for your horse all day long to keep them hydrated and cool as well as help them digest all those fibre in their diet. During winter, you may need a heater to keep their water supply from freezing.
Make Gradual Changes
If you want to change the diet of your horse, you need to do this gradually over the course of two to three days. Sudden changes in the diet could upset the digestive processes of your horse leading to an upset stomach and other issues. When changing feed, be sure to incorporate not more than 25% of the new feed into the old one every other day to make the change lighter for the horse.
Fresh hay contains more vitamins and minerals than old hay. However, you might not have an abundant source of fresh hay everyday making you resort to old hay. Your horse could still get the adequate vitamins and minerals its body needs to stay healthy through supplements. You could consult a vet to know which type of supplement is needed by your horse.
Be sure to incorporate those tips above when feeding and watering your horse to keep its body strong and healthy all the time.