Feeding a Horse
Just like any other creature, horses need food for sustenance and energy to keep them fit and healthy. There are a number of feeding options and methods when it comes to horses. Here is our introduction to feeding a horse.
Horses are naturally grazing animals that can only hold small amounts of food in their stomachs. Many horse owners choose to use concentrated horse feed which provide more nutrition and energy than the same amount of hay or grass.
Horse feeding in a manger
A stable manger is an ideal feeding method for a horse. Normally attached to the side of a stable at a suitable height, the horse isn't able to kick it over or spill the food inside it all over the floor. A great option to keep the horse's feed tidy and organised. Horse mangers normally come with waste bars and a bracket for it to sit it. This makes it easy to remove and clean or replenish.
Horse feeding loose on the ground
As horses are naturally grazing animals, feeding loose on the ground enables them to eat in a way which comes naturally to them. Having said that, it can be quite wasteful as the horse food is scattered and ends up being mixed into the grass and soil. The horse might find it hard to pick up the food and can cause health problems as it becomes mixed with earth and sand.
Horse feeding from a bucket
Placing food inside a bucket and placing it on the ground helps to ensure the horse feed is kept in one place. Buckets specially designed for feeding a horse don't have handles so their hooves or legs don't get trapped in them. If you have more than one horse in a field, place the buckets quite far apart so they can eat from their own. Horse feed buckets come in different shapes and sizes but are generally plastic in material.
Horse feeding tips and routines
You should bear in mind some important points when feeding your horse which are important to their health and wellbeing.
- Feed your horse little and often - this reflects their natural pattern and pleases their digestive system
- Always ensure feed changes are made gradually - this allows the horse to adjust
- Ensure you include roughage - such as grass and hay. This is important for the horse's digestive system
- Provide fresh water - but ensure your horse doesn't drink lots immediately after a feed
- Stick to the same feeding times each day - horses like routine and habit
- Do not work your horse immediately before or after feeding - if a horse is exercising, blood supply to the digestive system id reduced and can lead to serious health problems
- Keep feeding utensils nice and clean - bacteria and dirt are not only hazardous but a horse won't eat from a dirty plate, just like us!