How to feed horses is a hot topic in the horse industry. There are all kinds of different feeds that are trying to fill- in what man perceives- as holes in a horses diet. Is the horse deficient in minerals? In vitamins? Horses in the wild will browse and eat those things that their bodies need for nourishment. They lick the dirt, lick natural salt licks, eat lots of different types of grass, drink fresh water when they can find it. That’s it. That is the extent of it. But we humans think they are missing something important. I find it interesting that the horse was actually made, by a higher power, to eat grass. They are made to thrive on grass. They grow big, strong, fast and agile eating only grass. And yet we think that we must improve on this design and feed them things they just don’t need. Then we wonder why they have so many digestive problems, founder, arthritis. Why they chew on wood and eat manure. I believe that is because with all that we are stuffing down their throats we cause many problems in the gut. This in turn causes the horse discomfort and they show us by chewing on things and having trouble thriving.
This is an EXCELLENT article about keeping your horse’s feed regiment SIMPLE.
Many people are constantly stressing about feeding their horse supplements. If your horse has access to good hay, clean water and salt, they will be healthy. Their bodies are MADE to eat grass. And that’s it.
Feeding pelleted, enriched feeds does nothing for the horse. Especially if the pellets are made using heat. The heat kills the nutrients in the feed, thereby causing the feed companies to put additives back into the feed. When you read the ingredients on your feed bag do you know what everything is? Are there ingredients that sound like chemicals? If they sound like chemicals they probably are. If your feed has corn in it, it’s most probable that it is a GMO corn. GMO corn fed animals don’t live very long. They are being born with birth defects and GMO’s cause cancer in humans AND animals.
Rice bran is something that is hard for the horse to digest and utilize. Horses that are fed large amounts of rice bran can develop an allergy to it. Allergies can look like behavior problems as well as skin conditions and stomach problems. I stay far away from rice bran.
Instead of feeding a bunch of unnecessary supplements you can use essential oils to help support your horse’s immune system. I apply oils whenever I haul Billy anywhere. I apply oils before and after he is vaccinated. I apply oils when Billy has a runny nose. I apply oils when I am stressed out.
I have no need to supplement Billy with man made supplements. It’s just not necessary. I do offer him some organic herbs. Both in a powder form and as a dried flower. He will eat them when he needs them. When he doesn’t need them he’ll walk away from the feed pan.
It’s amazing to me how much money people spend on unnecessary supplements for their horses. $1000’s of dollars a year.
Save yourself some money, invest in a good quality hay and offer your horse some kind of exercise to help with that top line. No amount of feed can fill in a weak top line. That takes exercise.
And remember to keep it simple… and smile!!