Horse Feed And Hay Are Important To Your Horse’s Health
Horse feed and hay, as well as water, should be the most important components of your horse’s diet as they carry tons of nutritional value that are crucially important to your animal’s health. For starters, horses need fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. Water should be a primary source of your horse’s diet, and it should be accessible at all times for the horse to drink whenever it is thirsty so that it can stay well hydrated. Normally, depending on weather and activity level, a healthy horse consumes somewhere between 5 to 15+ gallons of water per day. Of course, don’t forget to change and provide clean water throughout the day!
The largest part your horse’s diet will most likely be carbohydrates which can be found in hay. But good quality hay is essential for your horse’s health because, if it is low quality, it can cause digestive problems, low nutritional value, as well as other health problems. The other important factor in hay is that you want to make sure that it is cut at the right size at harvest so that the horse can digest it and get enough protein from it. Horses should eat at least 1% equivalent to their body weight, or ideally, between 1.5% and 2%. Eating any less roughage than that can cause some health issues to your horse including ulcers and colic. Protein is another source found in hay, but unfortunately it is the hardest energy source to digest and convert to usable energy for the horse. You also have to be cautious with protein because too much can cause respiratory problems for stabled horses. For example, a growing horse should consume between 12% to 18% of protein in its diet for proper development and growth while a mature horse will do well with a lower protein intake, 8% to 12%, depending on their activity level.
Horse feed is an essential supplement of a horse’s diet too, it is vital for them as forage by itself is not enough to meet their nutritional requirements. The best horse feeds, the ones that are “safe”, are low in starches and sugars but are high in digestible fibers. Such feeds often use ingredients that contain beet pulp and soybean hulls, which are high in digestible fiber and have low starch content. You should also avoid using feeds that contain corn or other ingredients that are high in starch. The most important aspect of horse feeds is that it contains all of the essential vitamins and minerals that help horses function and live, vitamins such as A, B-complex, C, D, E and K. Minerals are also highly important for your animal as it can help them perform actions and movements better. For example, Biotin in combination with copper and zinc have shown to increase hoof strength when supplemented above and beyond the requirements. Be aware, though, that excessive amounts of minerals can cause serious health problems and can cause other minerals to not be absorbed as well. At Red Bug Barn, in Chester SC, we carry the best horse feeds and minerals to help your animal feel great and live great, so be sure to stop in or visit us online to check out our horse products as well as new and special products.