Every horse requires food and water in order to survive, and the amount of feed and water will vary depending on the amount of work being done, the age of the horse, the condition they are in and the climate.
The correct quantity of protein, fats, carbohydrates, water, fibre, vitamins and minerals need to be carefully calculated to provide your horse with a well balanced diet that will match their needs.
Feed Types And Preparation
The different categories of feed are cereals, protein feeds, bulk feeds, compound feeds and forages.
These are energy giving feeds which have been treated to reduce the amount of starch that is present in them and to make them more digestible for the horse. Such treatments include rolling, boiling, micronisation and extrusion. Oats, Barley and Maize are all examples of cereals fed to horses.
- Protein Feeds
With the exception of milk pellets, protein feeds come from plants such as soya, beans, peas and linseed.
- Bulk Feeds
Bran, chaff and sugar beet are used to fill out feeds.
- Compound Feeds
Mixtures of cereals, protein feeds and bulk feeds. They can be tailored to suit the individual for example a coarse mixes can be high in fibre or high in protein.
Types Of Feed
- Pony Nuts
These are made up of grass and molasses.
Covered in an outer husk they come either rolled or crushed. Oats are high in phosphorus low in calcium and should therefore be used in conjunction with either sugar beet or a calcium supplement.
Given to the horse either flaked, rolled, crushed or micronised. Barley is high in energy but low in fibre.
Fed flaked or micronised. It is a very heating feed with a high starch content that is also low in protein and fibre and so should be fed carefully.
By product of the milling process of wheat,which is high in phosphorous and low in calcium and so great care must be taken when feeding it. A calcium supplement should be fed with it such as limestone flour or alfalfa.
Product of the Flax plant which must be carefully prepared as it is poisonous if not prepared correctly.
- Sugar Beet
By product of the sugar extraction industry. Careful preparation needs to be undertaken before feeding to prevent the sugar beet from swelling up in the horses stomach. Sugar beet is high in calcium, sugar, energy and fibre and low in phosphorus.
Chopped hay and molasses sometimes with oat straw added.
By product of sugar, which adds energy and palatability to feeds.
- Coarse Mix
Compound feeds put together for a specific category of horse, such as high energy competition mixes, low starch mixes, yearling mixes, brood mare mixes and so on. Calculated to provide all the necessary ingredients in a balanced form
- Beans and Peas
High in protein and energy especially lysine.
Hay that has been sealed into bags immediately after harvest and left so that fermentation takes place, this process preserves the natural ingredients and quality of the grass Haylage therefore offers a dust free alternative to soaking hay. Care must be taken to check the bags for tears prior to opening and haylage must be used within three days of opening.
Can be either meadow hay or seed hay. It should be clean and sweet smelling, avoid dusty, black and moldy hay. Meadow hay can vary in quality depending on which grasses there are available in the field that has been cut. The Rye grass in seed hay is higher in protein but due to the lateness in the time that it is cut it can be less digestible.