6 Tips for an Equine Feeding Program
A huge part of caring for your horse is feeding him properly. There are many different kinds of horse feed, not to mention lots of different ideas on what is best for your horse, but here are the most important things to keep in mind.
Plan for Your Horse to Spend More Time Eating
Horses have evolved to spend a significant amount of time each day eating. In the wild, they graze for about 16 hours a day, and as a result, their bodies are designed to have food in the digestive tract at all times. Anything you can do to approximate that in a domestic situation will be helpful. Now this doesn’t mean your horse should overeat, but tricks like feeding more meals a day and using slow feeders will draw out the time he spends eating.
Feed at the Same Time Every Day
Horses are creatures of habit, and establishing a routine where they eat at the same time every day is good for them. Plus, as already established. it’s better for them not to spend a lot of time with empty digestive tracts, so try to avoid feeding late or keeping an irregular schedule.
Make Gradual Changes
Anyone who has spent time around horses knows that colic is the biggest killer and every horse owner’s biggest fear. Unfortunately, horses have fairly sensitive digestive systems that are easily triggered by changes in their feed. Any time you are planning a change, it’s a good idea to make the change slowly. This means slowly adding in any new horse feed, and meanwhile gradually reducing the old until you’ve fully made the change.
Know the Nutritional Content of Your Feed
Another important factor of feeding a horse is making sure you’re providing him with adequate nutrition, which means you have to know the nutritional content of your feed. This may mean having your hay or pasture tested and supplementing for what it lacks, or it may mean buying a complete horse feed that has the right nutritional content for your horse. If your horse has any medical issues or deficiencies, you may also need to supplement to address that.
Check Weight Once a Week
If you are trying to make changes to your horse’s weight, or if you are adding or reducing the amount of exercise he gets, make sure to check your horse’s weight and body condition once a week. Use a weight tape to get his approximate weight, and make a record of it. In addition, it’s a good idea to groom your horse regularly and use that time to familiarize yourself with his body condition, so that you will be able to track progress or notice unwanted changes.
Involve Your Vet
By now you’re probably getting the idea that feeding a horse can be more complicated than you realized. Your horse’s happiness and well-being is dependent on you! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this prospect, don’t hesitate to consult with the experts. A veterinarian can give you precise recommendations for what your horse needs to be healthy, while a feed expert can advise you on what type of horse feed will help you better achieve your health goals for your horse. For more information on the types of horse feed we offer, contact Sacate Pellet Mills today.