Food is the most essential building block to a healthy horse.
Your animal can only perform as well as can be expected based upon the fuel you introduce into their system. Agribusiness has created nutritionally bankrupt food on a massive scale. Real, clean, properly farmed food is closer to what nature intended.
When possible opt for organic products farmed in a responsible manner that can be guaranteed chemical and GM-free.
Horses were made to graze, their digestion works at its optimal level when they consume long-stem fiber on a regular basis.
Allowing your horse to graze every day and supplement their feed with other options is an ideal situation. This is not always possible – so it is important that your animal’s diet mimics the nutritional value and fiber equivalent.
There are several different types of hay, each one with its own special qualities.
Some varieties are more susceptible to mold and disease and some can cause problems in pregnant mares. Be sure you discuss a feeding plan with your vet prior to deciding which hays to feed. Learn more about hay types
Hay cubes are usually made from alfalfa and timothy hays, they are condensed into small blocks made to break apart for easy consumption.
Cubes are liked because they are generally uniform in nutritional content and allow for more obvious portion control. Plus they are easier to store, create less mess & dust and less wasted feed overall.
At the same time cubes also tend to cost more per pound than hay and some animals don’t like their chalky texture. Plus their size and shape pose a choking risk and access to them must be limited to avoid overconsumption.
Horses require long-stem fiber for proper digestion and because of this pellets are usually fed as a filler to supplement hay feeding.
Like the cubes they are cleaner and easier to store, however they also present many of the same risks as well as potential digestive problems. Pellets are a good option for traveling animals and horse shows – they are easier to store and travel with than loose hay.
There are several different types of grain that are commonly fed to horses. Each one has its own specific properties but they are all a good source of energy.
It should be noted that animals fed grain should always be given ample room to exercise. High energy feed gives animals high energy and if they aren’t exercised there is a risk of injury. Learn more about grain types.
Almost anyone who owns a horse likes to treat them from time to time & there is a long list of treat types which means something for everyone.
Remember treats are just that – treats. They should not be fed in an attempt to supplement hay and grass feeding but rather as an less frequent change of taste.Learn more about treat types.