Proper Horse Nutrition
Keeping a horses health in tiptop condition will required proper food, water, and supplementation. If you’re keeping your horse in a pasture, its not enough to rely on grass for grazing alone. Take a look at these important details about horse nutrition.
Six main nutrients – Horses need to have these six nutrient classes to survive:
Water is the most essential nutrient your horse needs. It needs enough water on a daily basis to stay healthy. This is why you need to make sure that you give it a continuous clean water supply.
They need about 2 quarts or almost 2 liters of water for 1 pound of hay they eat. The volume of water should also be tripled during hot weather. The same applies for horses that are lactating or work daily, regardless of the temperatures.
Fats and carbohydrates provide the energy for your horse. These will provide enough energy for your horse to go through its daily work and activities.
Protein maintains the proper development of the horses muscles during growth, and minerals help keep the horses body functions working, like muscle contraction and nerve conduction. It will need some macro-minerals like sodium, calcium, and potassium.
Vitamins aren’t really needed in your horses diet. But, there are supplements which are meant to help keep stressed horses from developing severe health problems.
Hay and alternative feeds – Hay makes up a large amount of a horses diet when graze isnt available. This kind of feed will allow you to keep a horse in an environment that isn’t natural to horses.
If fresh hay isnt available, you can resort to alternative feeds. Only feed your horses when you really have no other choice.
* Beet pulp
* Silage or haylage
* Hay cubes
* Concentrated feeds
* Old hay
Feed and plants to avoid – Not everything can be fed to your horses. Grains like rice bran and wheat may result in mineral imbalances in your horses body. Garden refuse, lawn clippings, and compostable arent recommended either, since they can be toxic to horses.
If youre keeping your horse in a pasture, make sure that it’s free from toxic plants. Here is a list of plants you need to avoid feeding your horses:
* Deadly nightshade
* Bracken fern
* Horse tails
* Lily of the valley
* Red maple
* Red oak
* St. Johns wort
Water supply – Certain factors will affect the volume of water your horse should intake. It depends on the climate, workload, size, and type and amount of feed.
Use this table as a general guide on the water volume your horse should drink based on its weight.
Body Weight 419 kg (900 lbs) – Water Volume 3-6 gallons (13.5-27 liters)
Body Weight 545 kg (1200 lbs) – Water Volume 4-8 gallons (18-36 liters)
Body Weight 680 kg (1500 lbs) – Water Volume 5-10 gallons (22.5-45 liters)