When it comes to caring for your four-legged equine friend, it’s not all just grooming and saddle fitting.
Much like us, horses need a well-rounded diet to stay healthy and happy. In fact, it is really important for your horse to have a balanced diet that is providing all the nutritional benefits for normal function.
So, what should horses eat in order to be healthy?
Well, they are on a plant-based diet, but picking the right ingredients is very important in order to keep your horse healthy. And you don’t have to be a nutritionist to create a balanced diet for your horse.
Let’s delve deep into the world of horse nutrition. Whether you are a horse owner and want to learn more about keeping your friend healthy, or a handicapper browsing through TwinSpires.com for your next bet and you want to find out what horses eat before a race, these tips will get you covered.
The Basics of Horse Nutrition
Let’s start with the basics. Horses are the original plant-based foodies. Out in the wild, they chomp down on a mix of grasses, herbs, and bushes. Mimicking this diet means serving up a combo of top-notch forage, grains, and a sprinkle of supplements.
Considering that they are all in for a plant-based feast, veggies, and greens are perfect for them.
Fresh carrots and crisp apples are like nature’s candy to them, disappearing in a snap. But hold off on sharing your sandwich – horses aren’t big fans of meats and dairy. Chocolate? Nope, it’s a big red flag. And while grapes might pop in your mouth, they’re a no-go for our equine buddies.
Oh, and don’t even think about slipping them caffeine-loaded drinks or anything spicy; their stomachs aren’t up for that kind of adventure.
Hay – Your Horse’s Best Buddy
If there’s one thing your horse would vote for, it’s top-grade forage. Think of hay or pasture as the base of their meal pyramid.
Not just any hay though; it needs to be primo stuff. So, even hay can have different nutrient qualities, and you should always go for the one with the best quality.
We’re talking about the kind of hay that’s bursting with nutrients, especially fiber, which keeps their gut in check and puts colic at bay. Keep a sharp eye out for mold, dust, and sneaky weeds – they’re a big no-no.
Even though horses can eat grains, they should always be considered as a side dish, and not given very often.
Things like oats, barley, and corn are some of the horses’ favorite snacks, but be careful! Too much grainy goodies can lead to unwanted problems. It is all about finding the fine line and balancing their diet.
Nifty Nutrients and Special Supplements
Just like humans, horses also need a dietary boost every now and then. This is where supplements come in handy.
But before you draw the red flag, we are not talking about some illegal, performance-enhancing supplements.
These supplements should bring helpful vitamins, minerals, and also healthy fats that can boost your horse’s health.
But hold your horses – don’t jump in headfirst. Get a thumbs-up from your trusty vet before tossing any extras into the mix.
Water Is Very Important
We all need that refreshing H2O in order to function properly, and horses are no different. Fresh, clean water should be a constant in their lives. Whether it’s a lazy day in the paddock or a sweaty workout, access to water is their lifeline.
An average, 1,100-pound horse in a cool environment, should drink 6-10 gallons of water per day.
You need to make sure that your horse stays hydrated, especially after an intense workout.
Wrangling the perfect diet for your horse is like hitting the nutritional bullseye. Armed with these insights, you’re on the right path to being the culinary curator for your equine companion. Just remember, each horse is a one-of-a-kind muncher, so what works for one might not cut it for another.
Horses’ diet isn’t that complicated, and they can be satisfied with the little things. Therefore, make sure you take the time to give them a proper nutrient and keep them healthy!