How to feed your horse, horses are designed to graze, or eat in small amounts throughout the day. By comparison, humans are designed to consume food in large quantities at one time, which is why it’s difficult for us to practice continuous grazing. Feeding horses too much at once can lead to colic and other digestive problems. So it is important for feeding management that feedings be spread out throughout the day.
Horses are creatures of routine, so they prefer their feed at regular intervals. If they are given food at different times each day, the horse may develop digestive disturbances.
If you feed your horse, it is important to understand the six basic nutrients that must be met: carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Often feed companies will balance the first five for you; however, don’t forget about water, it is very important too.
Horses need a large amount of water daily, depending on the weather and activity level. The horse will drink approximately 5-15 gallons per day. It is important to ensure that clean water is always available for the horse to consume whenever it is thirsty. When a horse does not drink enough, it can become dehydrated and susceptible to colic and other conditions.
What to feed your horse
Horses are designed to eat roughage, which are grassy stalks. Roughage should make up about one to two percent of a horse’s body weight every day. Pleasure and trail horses can get by without grain because they have access to good-quality hay or pasture. Grain can be added if needed, but the bulk of a horse’ calories should always come from roughage.
When you feed your horsewith grain, give it in multiple smaller meals rather than one large one. Most horses are given grain twice a day for the convenience of their human caretakers. Small, frequent meals allow the horse to digest and use food better than if they only get fed once a day. Feeding too much at once leads to undigested food, which can cause problem for the horse like abdominal discomfort.
When to feed your Horse
When you finish riding your horse, let them cool down for a while. Their breathing rate should be normal and their skin should not feel hot or sweaty. Let them rest for an hour or so after they’ve finished eating before riding again. If you plan to do something really strenuous, it’s best to wait closer to three hours.
While feeding your horse after work, let them cool down completely. Make sure their breathing rate is back to normal, and their skin does not feel uncomfortable or inconvenient. They should not be ridden until an hour or so after their mealtime.
Horses need to be fed at least twice a day, but if possible it is better to feed your horse three or four times a day.
Most horses can tolerate a sudden change in schedule, but those who are prone to colic may be affected. Digestive disorders could occur as a result of the horse eating too fast. It is important to remember to set feed times and stick to those times year-round.