How to feed a horse?


Horses are widely used in agriculture, they are also often bred just for riding. But in order for the animal to grow up healthy and strong, it needs to provide proper nutrition. From this article, you can find out how and what to feed a horse, what products and delicacies you can feed it. Below you will also find information on how to water horses, and how the winter food of an animal differs from summer food.

Horse feeding basics

Domestic horses

Horse - This is a herbivore. But this does not mean that she should eat only grass. There is a huge variety of food useful for horses. Some foods are goodies, others are included in the daily diet. All horse feed is divided into three large groups: juicy, coarse and concentrated feed. But their ratio in the diet of an animal can vary greatly depending on the needs of an individual, its health, physical exertion, and other things.

Interesting! If we talk about average rates, then a horse should consume at least 60% of juicy, as well as roughage and up to 40% concentrated. A greater amount of concentrates leads to problems in metabolic processes and reduced immunity.

The horse's digestion system needs a certain regimen. These animals in nature often eat, but little by little. So you need to know not only what to feed the horse, but also how to do it. Also, in principle, and pets. They can not eat a lot at once, and this should be taken into account when developing a daily diet.

Succulent feed

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Free horse grazing

Without succulent horse food will be difficult to survive, since it is she who is the most useful and natural for her. Green grass is the basis of the nutrition of the proud beauties. Usually, horses are allowed to graze freely, where they eat plenty. It is beneficial to both the breeder and the animal. If there is no walking, then you have to stock up on grass and feed it in a stall. But before feeding the horse grass, you need to make sure that it is useful, and not poisonous or spoiled. If the process of decay has begun such food should be thrown away!

Important! On the field where the horse grazes there should not be poisonous herbs! Before you let the animal there, you need to explore the terrain. If poisonous herbs come across often, then it is better to change pasture.

Alternatively (but not a complete substitute for fresh grass) can be considered haylage. Haylage is dried grass, hermetically sealed in bags. As a rule, it is purchased for the winter so that the animal can feed on its favorite food all year round. Root vegetables and vegetables also belong to juicy forage. Horses love pumpkin, carrot, fodder beet. Sometimes they are mixed in with boiled potatoes, but not often.

Rough feed for horses

Meadow hay

Rough feed in combination with succulent are the basis of what to feed the horses. What is classified as a rough feed?

  1. Hay is a dried grass, in which no more than 17% moisture. It is given throughout the year, regardless of whether the animal eats green grass or not. To be comfortable, it is laid out in large senniki, to which horses must have access 24 hours a day.
  2. Straw cannot completely replace hay, as its nutritional value is much lower. But she is fed together with hay in a small volume!
  3. Grass meal or pellets is pressed or ground dried grass. Due to the manufacturing method (high temperatures, pressing) it may also apply to concentrated feeds.

Concentrated feed

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Feeding horses with concentrated feed

Knowing how to feed a horse, you can provide it with the right set of nutrients and this will give a positive result. Concentrated feed some breeders ignore, others, on the contrary abuse them. But they cannot be completely excluded, as well as replacing grass and hay with them - this is an important part of the diet, although not as essential as rough and juicy food.

Concentrated feed can be of three types: grain mixtures, cereals and feed. Cereals and grain mixes are a combination of several types of grains with or without vitamins. They usually include oats, barley, corn, bran. They contain an abundance of vitamins, starch, fiber, calcium, protein. This food increases the energy of the animal, gives him the strength to perform light and hard work, exercise.

By concentrated feed and include feed. This is a specialized feed used mainly on large farms due to its high cost. It contains vitamins, minerals, oilcake, bran, crushed grain, grass meal and other useful ingredients in certain quantities.

How to feed the horses?

Horse with hay in mouth

Feed the horses all in a row can not be, because it can cause a lot of problems. How to feed a horse can be told by a veterinarian or an expert in horses, but the diet is always chosen individually for physical conditions, animal stresses and other indicators. It is difficult to say the exact rules, but if we talk about an exemplary, adjusted diet, that is, its standards.

The rations described above are only approximate and are adjusted depending on the loads of the animal, its health, needs. Even a nursing mare can have a different diet given how complex the childbirth and condition of her baby was. Food is fed to horses 2-4 times a day. If there is walking, then only in the morning and in the evening, and if there is no walking - then 1-2 times in the afternoon too.

Horse typeDiet
  • 7 kg of hay and haylage (green grass)
  • 5 kg of silage and oats
  • up to 40 g of salt
  • up to 50 g premix
Sport horse
  • 7 kg hay (legume-cereal)
  • 1-2 kg of corn
  • 1 kg of grass granules or flour
  • 0.5 kg molasses
  • 100 g of premixes
  • 50-60 g of salt
Lactating mare
  • 4 kg of hay (cereal or bean) per 100 kg of weight
  • 6 kg of root vegetables and vegetables
  • 1 kg of cake or less
  • up to 4 kg of silo
  • about 3 kg concentrated feed

Differences Winter Feeding

Horses in a stall

How to feed a horse in winter? This question is often asked by young breeders. If during the warm season the horse grazed all the time in the meadows and ate in the stall no more than 1-2 times a day, then the question is quite understandable. I do not want the animal to lose weight in the winter from a lack of nutrients!

Important! Instead of green, succulent grass, haylage is often used in winter. Give it in small quantities, as it is expensive.

The main thing than the winter food is different from the summer - the lack of green grass and regular walking. But since exercise is reduced, horses need less feed. At the heart of the diet in winter is hay. Oatmeal and barley straw are also fed. To meet the need for juicy food, give more fresh vegetables and root crops. Well and, of course, grain is given in certain quantities (oats, barley).

A horse weighing 500 kg is needed per day:

  • 12 kg of hay;
  • 6 kg of straw;
  • 2-4 kg of grain (depending on physical activity);
  • 8 kg of root crops.

Do not interfere with the premix to maintain the immune system of the animal in the frosty season.

Water in the horse's life

Horses at the watering place

Above was considered, than to feed a horse. But water also plays a big role. The horse needs plenty of drinking. In the day she can drink up to 60 liters. Therefore, it is desirable that access to fresh and clean water is always.

But here there are some nuances. For example, after a long work or walking through the cold air, you cannot lead a horse into a stall and immediately give it water. This may affect her heart or cause stomach cramps. The horse should move a little away from hard work, rest, and then get water.

In winter, the water is not cold and not hot, but at room temperature. It cannot be heated, as well as boiled water should not be given. But to defend in the house can be, so that it is a little warmer by natural means.

Horse treats

Horse Treats "Multifruit"

Sometimes you just want to please the animal with a treat for its good behavior, work done or success, or maybe just to encourage. But, delicacy is not a simple meal. Before you feed your horse with goodies, you need to find out what kind of food is good for her as a reward.

Important! It is often impossible to feed a horse with delicacies, since it is dangerous both for the figure and for the health of the animal.

Useful delicacies can safely be called fruit: apple, watermelon, banana. Dried fruits are also beneficial. During training horses are usually encouraged with cubes of sugar or dried bread. But you can give them only in very small quantities! There are also special, purchased delicacies. Usually they contain useful vitamins, minerals.