Horse Nutrition Guide for Beginners

A Guide On Healthy Nutrition For Your Horse

While all your Disney movies depict a horses diet as ten apples a day and maybe a mouthful of hay, this is far from the truth. Horses need more focus than that! A horse has a herbivorous stomach, but with a Cecum (like our appendix but actually used), this digestive system is simple but has a few narrow areas that can cause blockages and which are the main cause of the idea that horses are prone to digestive issues.

The main issue to worry about is Colic, which is a blockage that can cause discomfort and in severe cases death of the horse. If you are new to hors ownership and nutrition – do not attempt to medicate the horse yourself, it should be done by an experienced and skilled person to ensure the horses recovery.

Ensuring you feed your horse a balanced and healthy diet is not quite as easy as ensuring your dog is getting a balanced diet. While a horse’s diet may sound simple (hay, grain, water) it is actually a process of elimination and study of that specific horses needs.

The best feed option for your horse would be a natural grass in a fertile pasture, the most popular grass for horses is bluegrass. But if you have no land yourself, and stable your horse where there is no natural pasture available, you will have to ensure the optimal nutrition is given to your horse in the absence of grass.

Here are the top nutrition requirements to focus on:

Hay – good quality is usually used for the winter months when grass is not growing, but is the next best feed for horse after natural grasses. Each horse is fed based on their weight, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight for the horse per day. You should also change the amount based on how much work your horse has done that day

When getting hay for your horse, do some research, it’s important that the hay has the correct amount of nutrition to ensure your horse remains healthy. Timothy is the most popular hay choice, but always make sure it is free from weed and has been cut and stored correctly.

Always avoid feeing your horse clover, it can cause drooling or heaving

Grains – The most popular and commonly used grain for horses is oats, as the oats do not pack to tightly in the stomach (remember colic, blockages must be avoided). Other grains that can be used are corn (cracked or whole but never ground) and Barley (cracked or soaked first).

Never feed your horse large amounts of wheat or milo due to its chewiness – and dough like consistency in the horse stomach (blockages!)

With the modern grains having less protein than they used to, a protein supplement (like linseed meal) for high performance can be added to the horses diet.

Water – Horse need between 10 and 15 gallons of clean water per day. Remember to never water your horse immediately after they have exercised, cool the horse down first and give them water slowly after.

Salt – when your horse exercises strenuously and sweat a lot, they can lose a large amount of salt which they require to function.

Always have salt on hand for your horse, as horse can consume up to 2 ounces a day.

So with these tips I will leave you, and soon your horse will be in such fine form that the Australian sports betting public will be shouting it on at the next Melbourne Cup.

About Becky Johnson