Horse Riding Dietary Needs
While horses generally eat about 1.5 to 2.5 percent of their body weight every day, determining what and how much to feed them takes a little more than a simple math equation. Factors such as types of horse riding can have an impact on your horse’s nutrition requirements.
Which of the following horse riding categories applies to you and your horse?
Pasture pet: If you do little to no riding with your horse, he will have the least demanding nutritional needs. Pasture, grass hay, or a feed with a lower protein content should be more than sufficient to maintain weight. In fact, you may have to cut back his feed a little, if he is on pasture, so you can keep him from becoming overweight.
Light riding: If you ride your horse regularly but not very often or hard, such as a trail ride or light arena ride once or twice a week, your horse actually has the same nutritional requirements as if you weren’t riding him at all. Like the pasture pet category, he may even be susceptible to becoming overweight. Stick with a simple diet, such as pasture, grass hay, or a feed with a lower protein content. Be sure to monitor his weight closely and cut back on his feed if he starts gaining weight.
Moderate riding: If you are riding three or more times a week, you may be putting your horse under a more moderate workload. This is especially true if those rides require more demanding exercise, such as jumping, eventing, reining practice, gymkhana, or especially grueling or extended trail rides. Moderate horse riding may mean that your horse needs additional calories or a diet slightly higher in protein to meet these demands. Monitor his weight carefully. If you see him unexpectedly dropping weight, consider supplementing his diet with a pelleted feed or switching it over entirely for improved control.
Heavy riding: Before you assume your horse riding habits are heavy, think carefully about how often you ride. Heavy demands on a horse are generally only seen in high-level competitors, working ranch horses, and others who put in a considerable number of hours of work every day. For horses meeting those standards, the impact on their nutritional requirements is quite high, just as with any human athlete who spends a majority of their time training and competing. A diet much higher than normal in protein and calories will be required to keep your horse fit and healthy. You will need to monitor his weight closely to ensure that you are feeding the right amount.
There are many determining factors on what feed to give and how much, but weight is one of the most important. Other factors that may impact your feeding regiment include age, general health, whether a horse is underweight or overweight, and whether a mare is pregnant or nursing. For more information about Sacate Pellet Mills or for help determining which pelleted feed is right for you, contact us today.