What to Feed a Pasture Horse
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What to Feed a Pasture Horse

Feeding can be split into at least two or three meals per day. Overfeeding can cause problems and should be avoided. If you are still not sure about what to feed a pasture horse, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

Overview

Pastured horses are usually self-reliant and can live on their own out in the open field with green grass around. Compared to horses confined in their stables, a pastured horse's diet depends on the green pasture, and grain supplements are sometimes out of the picture. Supplementation is usually given to pasture horses with heavy workloads.

Food for horses usually depend on factors such as activity level, breed, age, weather and condition of teeth.

This article will give you ideas on what to feed your pasture horse.

What to Feed

The following are foods needed by pasture horses to ensure maximum growth and a healthy life:

Grass

This is the most convenient and natural food for the horse. Some pasture horses that don't work hard can live on pasture alone, especially if the area is big enough with sufficient and quality grazing. But in some cases, grass alone is not enough to supply the nutrients they need and there will be times when the green field is not available like during winter and dry seasons. In these cases, horses need other kinds of food and supplements.

Hay

Hay can be given to pasture horses in times when there is no available grass for them to eat. Choose the best quality of hay and make sure it is green, mold and dust free. Poor quality hay can lead to colic and other stomach problems. Dusty hay may also cause respiratory ailments. There are protein-packed hay mix that are available commercially.

Supplements

Some horses need extra food or supplements to complement the required nutrients their bodies need. This is true especially to horses that work hard, pregnant horses, nursing mares and youngsters who need additional nutrients for their growth. Supplements may include grains, sweet feeds (which is a mixture of grains and molasses) and manufactured foods like pellets and cube concentrate. There are supplements available for different types of horses, from the very young to the old.

Water

Water is very much needed in a horse's diet. They drink about 5 to 10 gallons of water everyday. It is important to provide them clean water to drink.

Others

Horse breeders also provide equines with other supplements like mineralized salt blocks and other vitamin supplements. But this should be given with proper consultation from your veterinarian.

Frequency and Amount of Food

Feeding horses usually depend on their age, body weight, activity level and breed. But on the average, horses should be given 2 to 2.2 pounds of food per day for every 100 pounds of body weight. A large portion of it should be grass or hay.

Horses that are very active and are involved in strenuous activity should be fed more than what regular horses need. They should be feed not only with hay but also with supplements like grains.

Feeding can be split into at least two or three meals per day. Overfeeding can cause problems and should be avoided. If you are still not sure about what to feed a pasture horse, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

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