When it comes to feeding your horses, it is crucial to keep in mind their dietary needs and provide them with good nutrition for optimal body condition and proper horse care. Not all horses need grain feed, as they can easily get enough nutrients and energy from hay or pasture. Hay should be the primary source of calories for your horses, with grain feed added only if grass or legume hay is not enough. Why is that? Well, because equine digestive systems are designed to absorb the nutrients in the hay more effectively than from other sources. How does a horse eat hay? Keep reading to find out.
Horses are herbivores, so they always need to eat good quality vegetation rich in fiber. Grasses have the most equine nutrition required for optimal health, so they take up the majority of their feed intake. Typically, horses would graze in the pasture, but this is not always possible. If your horses spend too much time in the stalls, you can imitate their regular feeding regimen by placing hay where they can reach it at any time during the day. This way, horses can eat small amounts of hay throughout the day and come back to it whenever their digestive systems need it.
Horses have excellent internal clocks and nutrition management, so they always know when they have to eat, even better than their owners. If you feed your horses several meals a day, make sure that they always arrive at the same time. Alternatively, just leave hay within reach of horses so they can eat it whenever they want. For most horses, changes in the feeding schedule will not cause a problem. Still, it is a good idea to stick to the same schedule if your horses are prone to colic because a change in schedule might trigger an episode.
If you leave long periods between feeding times, your horses might become anxious. Keep in mind, though, that when horses are in a herd, they will feed depending on the ranking of animals. So if you do not provide enough feed for all of the animals, lower-ranking horses might not get enough. That is also why you should consider giving horses constant access to hay so that all animals get a chance to feed when they need it. Spread the amount of hay equally or feed horses separately if there is such a problem.
Horses tend to eat often but in small portions. Here is what their diets can consist of:
Horse owners know that each horse has its own eating habits. Some horses are very relaxed when eating, in which case feeding goes smoothly, while others might have undesirable eating habits. Here are some examples:
You should feed horses often throughout the day but little at a time. If you keep horses always at the stable, then make sure that they have at least three meals a day, not leaving them for longer than eight hours without any feed. A good option would be to leave hay somewhere where your horses will have constant access to it and can feed at any time. Keep an eye on your horses’ diets and see what works best. If horses are underweight or overweight, they might be at risk for certain health conditions.
To make sure that your horses get the best high-quality hay, always check it upon delivery. If there is dust or mold in the hay, it can be harmful to your animals. Check the color of hay, moisture, any trash, and weeds in it. Conway Feed works with local Arizona farmers to provide the best quality of hay to our customers. Hay is stored indoors at optimal conditions to prevent spoilage. We deliver our hay bales across all of the United States at low fees across Arizona.