13 September 2019

9 Common Horse Feeding Mistakes

Horses are a great companion for humans but they need to be cared for with the greatest respect.

As horse owners we enjoy looking after our companions, we brush their coat, change their shoes and feed them.

Here are some of the common mistakes that people make whilst feeding their horses:

  • Every horse has different needs, so you need to give them a nutritionally balanced diet that’s tailored to them. You will need to consider factors such as the horses workload, weight, age, metabolism, health problems and the season you are in.

  • It is important to not over feed or under feed your horse. You will need to measure your horses daily ration based on their weight, this will help you avoid over or under feeding them. You will need to pay close attention to their body condition throughout the year. The diet might need to change dependent on the workload of the horse and weather conditions.

  • Another mistake is lack of salt, salt contains sodium and chloride which are essential minerals that are not found in natural forage. You can avoid salt deficiency by adding 25g of salt to your horses daily feed. You can also consider hanging a salt block within easy reach.

  • We might sometimes feel the need to treat our animals but just like humans, too much sugar is bad for them. Most commercial treats have a lot of sugar, but they can be used as part of a reward system for training purposes.

  • When the forage horses eat is of poor quality, the horses are unable to gain protein, fatty acids and minerals to give them optimal health. Horses can get ill if the feed has become old, mouldy or wet. Try to keep their feed fresh, or use fresh ingredients if you are making the feed from scratch.

  • Horses require a lot of fresh water, they need to have unlimited access to clean water. It is very dangerous for a horse to be dehydrated.

  • It is a common mistake to feed horses once a day with large grain based meals. Horses are grazing animals and require a small meal regularly. The feed should weigh up to 2kg maximum for each feed.

  • Horses must have a regular feeding routine to stop them from developing negative behaviours such as crib biting. A regular routine will help you keep track of when the horses ate last.

  • Horses have poor digestive systems which can make them have various health problems. Changing their feed suddenly can have a bad effect on them. You need to change it more gradually and not very frequently.

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