An Insight Into Equine Nutrition
Equine Nutrition is such a big area to go through and everyone does it differently. So just a few facts for you to bear in mind when you are feeding your horses whether for leisure or competition, horses in the wild forage for around 16 hours over a 24 hour period, this means they are actively seeking for food in those 16 hours.
Whether that be grass, leaves or shrubs. The second fact is that, because horses naturally in the wild are foragers their teeth are naturally grinded down, whereas with the domestic the horse, feeding them concentrates, so chaff, nuts etc needs the dentist every year to grind down the uneven wear.
Diets! where to start, all horses have a diet whether that be 24/7 at grass or 4 feeds a day. Its known that high concentrate diets can potentially lead to problems in the stomach, like gastric ulcers. This is because it takes less time for the horse to eat.
For some people they want to feed their horses but not want them to get too fat, in this case sometimes staying with basic feeds like non-molasses chaff and pony nuts is great as they are still getting that extra nutrients but without all the fattening, I must add that this doesn’t mean your horse can have tonnes as feeds are meant to help give your horse the vital nutrients and vitamins it maybe lacking after exercise or because of housing situation.
There are many feeds out there to feed your horses and sometimes this can be very daunting, these are some of the slow release energy feeds that are ideal for the less energetic horse: sugar beet, chaff, oil and most importantly hay. Oats, Barley and Maize are some of the fast release energy cereals that you can feed your horse. It was known that racers and point to pointers would give their horses a bucket of barley or oats before they raced to give them the energy they needed.
Lastly, the topic of supplements… where to begin! Supplements have become a massive part of the feeding regime for many horses. They can be anything from healthy hooves to respiratory. In some cases you see people feeding supplements just because their friend does, but the most important thing to remember is… does your horse/pony need it? For those that said yes or no, great!!! Carry on, but to the people who were umming and arring the answer is probably no. I always go by “Do I actually need this? or am I just wanting it”… thats how I buy most things for my ponies nowadays.
Add me on insta (wallace_ellie) and DM me if you have any questions! I do have loads about equine nutrition from uni! So give me a shout, just a bit to technical to explain in my blog!!!
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