What Do You Feed Your Horse?
WHAT DO YOU FEED YOUR HORSE?
- Your horses perfect diet
Food isn’t just fuel—giving your horse the right nutrition makes all the difference to their temperament and agility.
Grass hay, alfalfa, supplements and grain with the occasional sugar cube might be some of your horse’s diet, but is it what your horse really needs? Just like humans, horses can be affected by their diet, and not offering your horse the right nutrition for their breed, age health and even activity level can strongly affect their temperament and worse, agility.
After all, a couch potato doesn’t have the same intake as a pro athlete—and the same goes for horses that go out on trail rides versus event horses. Luckily, it has never been easier to find the right feed for your horse and his breed. All you need to do is take into consideration the most important influences on their feeding requirements.
Fiber, for example, is the very foundation of a healthy equine diet. As natural foragers, grass and hay are perfect for their bodies, which have developed over the millennia to efficiently digest these two foods and extract the maximum nutrition from them.
If you have a particularly hard-working show horse, then grain is an excellent supplement of calorific energy and nutrients, but ultimately the bulwark of their diet should be good quality grass and hay.
This is true for horses of all ages, although a good protein source for foals helps them to develop and grow healthily, while older horses with slower metabolisms and age-related conditions can more easily extract nutrients from protein sources—but do ensure that you do not overfeed on protein! The simplest way to judge if your horse has too much protein in their diet is if their urine has an excessive ammonia smell: this is a sure sign that the kidneys have converted the excess proteins.