What Racing Horses Should Eat
Training and racing mean that a horse is almost always active, and they burn through thousands of calories every day in order to maintain their energy levels and health. Horses are not picky eaters, and will happily eat just about anything that’s presented to them, although this isn’t always a good idea. Not all foods are healthy for horses, and they have very specific dietary needs due to the fact that they are herbivores and require a diet that’s extremely high in fibre.
Tender Plants and Pasture Grasses
The diet that horses in nature would consist of is pasture grasses and tender plants. Good, healthy pasture contains all of the fibre, nutrients, and minerals that a horse needs in order to maintain its muscle mass and health, along with silica, which is important for the animal’s teeth.
Primitive horse breeds would have almost entirely subsisted on the nature grasslands that they once inhabited, and it’s important that we provide modern horses with food that’s as close to what their ancestors ate as possible. In fact, many of the health conditions that modern horses face frequently, such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and laminitis are all extremely rare in wild horses due to the beneficial qualities of their diet. One of the benefits of using a natural pasture is allowing the horse’s owner to sit back and enjoy some of Australia’s favourite sports betting apps and a cold drink.
Natural pastures can be difficult to come across, especially during the colder months, meaning that many have to turn to the next best option: hay. Hay is the dried remains of long grasses, often grown specifically to be turned into feed for horses and livestock. Finding good hay for horses can be difficult, as not all hay is of the same quality. Many racing stud farms will have their hay tested before giving it to their animals, ensuring that it contains adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, and if they find any deficiencies, they can provide the horses with the necessary supplements. On the other hand, hay that is too rich can become a problem for a horse and can see them putting on a lot of weight.
Grains are another good choice for horses, although they should not be fed nearly as often as grasses. Horses tend to prefer oats and corn over other grains, but especially love natural, rolled oats. The common grains that we eat are not good for horses in the long-term, and should only be fed in small amounts. Others, such as wheat, are not recommended for horses at all. Horses that consume too many grains, like wheat, miss out on silica, and may develop dental problems.
Minerals and Salts
Salts and minerals can be used as supplements as part of a horse’s diet, but the amounts should be watched closely. It’s extremely common for a salt block to be put out in a stall or pasture, allowing the horse to use the salt to cut back on their cravings and eat less food overall. Many salt blocks also contain extra minerals that are good for the horse’s health.