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Feed the Horse

Feed the HorseFor most of us it doesn’t seem a difficult and complicated task to feed the horse. Such things like general health, weight, age and level of activity determine how to feed a horse.

Digestive system

Horses have a very particular diet, because of their specific and delicate digestive system. Food in the mouth is mixed with saliva before swallowing. Then food goes to the stomach. Unlike humans, full horse’s stomach is very uncomfortable and dangerous for the animal. In the stomach food is combined with enzymes and acids. During the process of digesting gas and heat are generated as by-products. The produced heat is crucial to keep the animal warm during chilly weather.

Horses can be affected by digestive pain caused by stress, overeating, poisonous plants and parasites. It’s very important to keep your favorite animal healthy by supplying it with sufficient amount of clean water and quality horse hay; by providing dental care and deworming procedures regularly.

Horse Digestive System

Grass and hay as the main components of the horse’s diet.

A typical diet of a horse is grass. It includes the majority of nutrition to keep the horse healthy. The grass also has silica – an important component required to maintain healthy teeth. It’s not always possible to feed a horse with fresh grass, so hay is choice number two. Locating good quality hay seams to be quite simple, but it’s not.

The perfect hay needs to be examined for a necessary number of minerals and vitamins it contains. Besides, consuming hay is very important because of high amount of fiber that keeps the stomach healthy. It’s important to remember that hay doesn’t contain a lot of moisture, so it’s necessary to provide a horse with large amounts of fresh water. It’s also useful to follow some professional tips when buying hay:

  • The smell needs to be fresh and the color should be bright green.
  • No mold or dust.
  • Hay has to be dry and warm when you put your hand into it.
  • Look for the hay that has whole, not smashed leaves.

Horse Grass Food


For many centuries oats has been standard grain for horses. It’s also possible to use corn in small quantities as the horse food. The biggest concern about feeding with grains is not to feed too much. Grains also don’t contain a very important component – silica, so overeating can cause ulcers and dental issues. The most common indications of dental problems are:

  • Moving the head to one side.
  • Salivating or foaming.
  • Bad smell.
  • Tipping over grains in the process of eating.
  • Unusual way of munching.

If you see any of these symptoms, it’s better to call a veterinarian or equine dentist. It’s also beneficial to remember that grains should be used as an additional equine horse feed.

Horse Grain Food

Concentrated mixes

Concentrated mixes mostly contain grains, beet pulp, flax seeds, molasses, bran, vitamins and minerals. Concentrates supply your horse with quick energy. Beet pulp is also a great treat for horses that need to gain weight, besides it doesn’t raise their sugar level. Another component of mixes is bran. It contains a large amount of fiber, which is beneficial for healthy digestion.

Concentrated Mixes for Horse

Minerals and salt

Supplements like minerals and salt may be already incorporated as a part of concentrated mixes, or may be sold separately. So make sure your horse has an access to a block of salt or loose salt.

Some owners believe that loose salt is less complicated for a horse to swallow, others have an opinion that salt block is more convenient and simpler to move around. Better decision is to provide your horse with both variations of salt and let the animal choose. Phosphorus and calcium may be beneficial for your horse, but you have to be very cautious about adding some minerals like selenium to the diet.

Horse Minerals and Salt

Treats and water

A lot of horse owners like to add some treats to the diet of their horses. Carrots, apples, grains, cubes of sugar or candies, sometimes even strange things like hard-boiled eggs or a bite of sandwich. If you’d like to feed some treat to your horse, give it in small amounts, because you don’t know how it will affect the health of the horse. Water is the most vital part of your horse’s nutrition, so make sure it’s always clean and fresh.

 Drinking Horse

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