Home Science Life Top tips on feeding a horse for beginners

Top tips on feeding a horse for beginners

If you’re looking to purchase a horse for the first time, or if you’re simply looking for some guidance on the optimal manner in which to keep your horse healthy, fit, and strong, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be guiding you through the different types of feed for your horse, and the things to consider when choosing this. An online marketplace such as horsesme.com can be a great resource to help with your search – here you’ll be able to find various horse feeds, supplements and suppliers.

Choose the Right Type of Feed

The first thing that needs to be considered when you’re choosing the feed for your horse is its activity level. Of course, the greater the activity, the greater the need for a more nourishing type of feed.

Most feeds are designed to meet the particular activity levels of horses. It’s important to not overfeed your horse by giving them the wrong nutrition. As an example, most maintenance feeds are designed to support low to medium activity levels.

Remember that feeding rates vary by product

Some feeding products need to be consumed less often due to their high-calorie content per serving, while others need to be consumed more often. You’ll want to gauge the price per bag, but you’ll also want to consider how quickly that bag will run out due to the frequency of feeds needed depending on its recommended frequency of consumption.

Recognise the advantages and disadvantages of horse feeding online

Thankfully, due to the internet, people with horses can browse a range of feeding products and filter them according to their horse’s size and activity level. This makes the job of buying the right feed a lot easier.

However, the risk of purchasing feed online means that horse owners may not get the advice and insight they need from an expert. Although feeds are often formulated with all the necessary ingredients to fulfil a horse’s needs, this can only be done if feeding directions are adhered to fully.

First-time horse owners often think that under nourishing their horse is the biggest thing to watch out for. But arguably, first-time horse owners are more likely to do the opposite and overfeed their horse. Doing so can be just as harmful to a horse’s health.

Age is just as Important as activity level

If your horse is young and less than two years old, it’s nutritional requirements will be far higher than the needs of an adult aged horse. This is because young horses require more protein, minerals, and vitamins in their diet to help drive their growth towards adulthood.  Most growth feeds should have protein contents between 14% and 16% so you’ll want to make sure that’s the case for the specific product you end up buying.

Remember that older horses have a weaker digestion system

As horses age, they can no longer digest food with the same efficiency. Naturally, they require a more adapted diet that provides them with all available nutrients more effectively and efficiently. To do this, feeds for older horses tend to be easier to chew, highly digestive, and complemented with extra fibre.

Use the body conditioning scoring system

Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is a powerful tool to determine the right feed choice for your horse. It involves measuring the degree of fatness of several areas of the horse. These include:

  • Over the rips
  • Neck
  • Behind the shoulders

The scoring system uses a numeric scale between one and nine, with nine being obese and one being emaciated.  Of course, if your horse is on the low end of the scale (below four), you’ll know that you need to feed your horse with a greater supply of feed over the weeks and months before they get back to a higher score. Ideally, the optimal score is between four and six.

Summary

We hope these tips help guide you in making a horse selection that’s fitting. Don’t forget to always get veterinarian advice to ensure any nutrition choices you make the right ones for your horse.