The Do’s & Don’ts When Feeding Horses

Equine lovers are often in dispute about what, when and how we should feed our horses…

When feeding our horses, it is always worth considering why an animal requires food, how it feeds in its natural state, and what the basic rules of feeding are.

The horse is a grazing animal, designed to eat almost constantly throughout the day. Their natural feed is grasses and other edible shrubs and plants, on average eating for 18 out of 24 hours a day.

Rules of feeding horses

Feeding little and often imitates the horse’s natural feeding pattern, and achieves satisfactory digestion by ensuring a constant passage of food through the digestive system.

Feed plenty of bulk and roughage such as grass, hay and haylage.

This ensures that the digestive system is always adequately filled, as would be the case in the wild.

Keep a regular check on your horse’s condition

By fat scoring regularly, you will be able to tell whether your horse needs to gain, lose or maintain weight.

This information is vital when working out how much you should be feeding your horse. It is also worth remembering that an overweight horse which is lacking energy is unlikely to benefit from a higher energy feed.

Do not make sudden changes to the diet

A bacterium in the large intestine breaks down feed and they have to adapt to any changes in the diet.

Sudden changes can cause some bacteria to die, produce poisons and cause metabolic disorders.

Keep to the same times of feeding each day

Horses are creatures of habit and thrive on a regular routine, so it’s important to ensure that they are fed at the same time each day.

When doing so, ensure that both feed and feeding utensils are clean.

Do not do fast work immediately after feeding

A full horse’s stomach will put pressure on the lungs and affect the horse’s breathing.

Fast work results in redistribution of the blood in the body, leading to impaired digestion. The same applies to humans if we have a big meal and then decide to have a run!

Provide a constant supply of fresh water

If this is not possible, ensure that the horse is watered before feeding so that undigested food is not washed through the digestive system too rapidly.

Here at H & M Haylage, we recognise the importance of feeding horses properly, whether that’s with Hay, Grass or our fantastic Haylage. Of course, if you have any questions on feeding your horse, please feel free to get in contact using the details below, as we will be more than happy to assist.


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