Food is about the most important part of our lives, and so is sleep. Of course, we need mobility and exercise, to keep our bodies healthy. The old saying, you are what you eat, refers to the quality of one’s nutrition, which also means that in order to stay healthy, we need to eat better.
Horses are really similar to us in that regard. But, a horse’s diet will look completely different to ours. They need different nutrients to stay healthy. Here are the basics of what a horse needs to eat in order to stay healthy.
Grass – The Foundation
Every horse should eat grass and graze on a pasture whenever possible. Tender plants also work in this case. When horses get enough variety in their literal green nutrition, they do everything better. Couple that with exercise and you will have a healthy and satisfied horse. Modern horses have various syndromes and diseases which stem from little exercise and food which is not from a pasture, or in other words, not fresh grass.
Hay – The Next Best Thing
Since most people don’t live close to a forest and have pastures and meadows lying around, waiting for the horses to enjoy their meals, hay is the next best thing.
Horse hay needs to be checked for nutrients. Too much grass, too much hay, it leads to the same thing. Having too many nutrients is as bad as having too few. In the case of the latter, supplements have to be added. Restricting hay bale acces is a great way of feeding your horse as much as it needs.
Grains Are Okay
Grains are okay but are not optimal. Horses do not eat grains in nature, the closest thing would be grass seeds.
Oats are alright and a bit of corn. However, they do not need to be chewed and lack silica, which grass has.
Grass and hay also need to be chewed, which is good for the teeth. Do not feed your horse too many grains.
Concentrates – A Mix of Everything
Concentrates are mixes of anything from minerals, vitamins, grains, flaxseed, and anything else a horse might be lacking in their diet. They are great when you have too many horses, but should not be the primary food. They work best when the horse needs an extra bump in energy, much like an energy gel would for humans (that endurance athletes use).
Minerals and Salt
Salt is very important to a horse’s diet because it tells them to drink water, basically. Spread it over a pasture, offer it freely or spread it with the hay. Horses need salt on a daily basis, around 25 grams. Table salt will do.
Other minerals may be included if you see that a diet does not have enough of them.
Everybody needs water. Have clean water around, preferably at all times, particularly after a hard exercise.
Horses, unless suffering from specific diseases, know at all times how much water they need. They will drink when thirsty, it is as simple as that.
Make sure that the water is clean.
Horses, like every other mammal, need a complete diet to stay healthy. These are the essentials that you can feed to your horse. Make sure that they have everything they need, and try not to feed them sugar or bran and wheat, because it can mess up their stomach flora.