Horses enjoy treats, but should not be fed refined sugar. Better choices for treats are horse cookies, carrots or apples. To
avoid choking, carrots and apples should be cut into pieces. Hand feeding can bring on mouthy behaviors so it is generally
best to give treats in the horse’s feed tub.
Check for Leftovers
Before dumping new grain into the horse’s feed bucket, check to make sure the horse ate his previous meal. You should never put new food on top of old food. It is important to know why a horse did not eat all of his feed. It could be because he does not like the taste of a medication or supplement, but could also be a symptom of a dental or health problem.
Feed On a Regular Schedule
Horse should be fed on a regular schedule and at the same times every day.
If their food doesn’t come on time it could make them anxious, and when their food does come, they may rush to eat it which could lead to colic.
Types of Horse Feed
Most of the food a horse eats should come from roughage.
Horses require fiber in their diet for the gut to function normally
Horses have evolved over thousands of years as grazing animals. They are meant to eat roughage, and their digestive system is designed to eat small amounts frequently and to use the nutrients found in grass and hay. A horse should eat one to two percent of their body weight in roughage every day.
Grass is the most natural food choice for horses. Pastures can reduce horse feed costs and provide energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Never feed horses grass clippings.
Hay is dried grass and the most common source of roughage. Horses eat many kinds of hay including alfalfa, bermuda, clover, oat-hay, and timothy. Alfalfa is the richest kind of hay.
Range cubes, hay pellets, and beet pulp are other examples of roughage that is fed to horses.
Foods that have more food value ‘concentrated’ in a smaller amount such as:
- Grain – Oats, corn, barley, & bran.
- Mixed Feed & Pellets – Including mixing different types of grains. Some are ground up and pressed into pellets. Sweet feed is a type of mixed horse feed.
- Supplements – Vitamins & mineral supplements (powder or pellets) may be added to a horse’s feed for extra nutrition.
Clean, fresh water must be available at all times. Horses need water for health and digestion. The only time to not give water is when a horse is overheated.
A horse needs 8 to 12 gallons of water a day.
Succulents are juicy foods including apples and carrots.
Fresh green grass is both a roughage & succulent.
Horses need a salt block in their stalls or large block in their pasture. Horses lose salt when they sweat, and can’t get enough of it from their normal diet.