Feeding Basics for Equine Nutrition
Whether your horse is a pasture pet or an award-winning barrel horse, proper equine nutrition is important for continued health. Many times horse owners may end up overfeeding, underfeeding, or misunderstand the proper use of supplements. Here are a few feeding basics to understand how to properly feed your horse.
- Know what you’re feeding. If you give your horse a pelleted feed, you’ll benefit from always knowing exactly what’s in the feed and not worrying about how to supplement to fill in the gaps. However, if your horse lives in a pasture you may need to have the forage analyzed to find out exactly what’s in it. A local agricultural lab can perform this test for you. Only then can you make educated decisions about your horse’s diet.
- Supplement as needed. Once you know what your horse is consuming on a daily basis, you can determine what supplements are needed. Supplements are best used when filling in known gaps in your horse’s nutrition. For instance, your horse needs a ratio of about 2:1 of calcium and phosphorus. Depending on the quality of your forage, supplementation may be needed to maintain this balance. This is another reason why pelleted feed is popular. The factory adds essential minerals where needed to ensure the feed meets equine nutrition standards.
- Keep your vet in the loop. If you think your horse is showing signs of nutrient deficiencies or you have concerns about your horse’s diet or weight, immediately consult your veterinarian. He or she can help you determine whether your horse needs any changes in the amount of forage or if supplementation is needed.