Must Know Rules for Feeding Horses

Feeding your horse can involve a lot of worry and wonder, so check out these must-know rules for feeding horses to understand their basic feeding needs.

Growing up, I always had horses.  They were part of the family and caring for them was my responsibility. But you must follow some basic rules for feeding them, so you aren't calling the vet in the middle of the night for costly emergency visits. Diet is a hugely important factor in your horse’s health. What they eat and when can be vital in preventing serious illnesses. The following are some of the must-know rules for feeding horses to keep you and your equine as happy as possible.

Must Know Rules for Feeding Horses

Feed Components

The majority of your horse’s diet will be made up of roughage, typically some combination of grass and alfalfa hay. A small amount of grain, such as oats, can be offered to high-energy horses. Buying a commercial mix or complete feed takes away the need to measure out hay and grain portions by providing weight-based instructions per brand. Above all, be very careful to not overfeed your horse! Provide food just a few times a day and monitor how much your horse is eating closely.

Sanitation

It’s important to keep any feed and water containers as clean as possible to keep your horses safe. A stiff brush and mild dish soap can make quick work of any buildup of grime, but in instances that need disinfection, bleach may be required. Be sure to give a container that’s had bleach on it multiple washes with soap and water afterwards, until the smell of bleach has totally gone away. Your horses will definitely appreciate at least weekly cleaning of their feed containers and a daily clean for everything else.

Watch for Dental Issues

Feeding is a great time to note any dental issues with your horse. Make a habit of watching your horse as it eats and checking for any strange behavior, such as tilting the head to one side or dipping its mouth in the water while they eat. These behaviors let you know that your horse may have a tooth issue and need to see a vet. If your horse is having some trouble, there are still options out there for feeding a dentally-challenged horse!

Adhering to these must-know rules for feeding horses is a good start to providing a well-balanced life for your horse. Exercise, age, and even breed will have a huge influence on your horse’s dietary needs, so be sure to consult an equine veterinarian or specialist to understand what your horse’s unique needs are.

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