Many think horses live only only on hay/grass, but that is not the case. There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing feed for your horse. How much is the horse exercised? How old is it? Has the horse had any kinds of illnesses before? These are a few questions that need answers when choosing the right feed for your horse. In this blog post I will give you an insight in the world of horse feed.
In my stable we use hay silage, a type of hay that is between dry and moist. I have chosen this since I’ve had horses with colic and illnesses in the hooves – conditions that easily can reappear. If I had chosen silage the risk of the horse getting ill again is bigger, since the silage is too strong for the horse’s stomach.
So why not using the regular hay that so many speak of? We use hay in the summers, to balance the strong grass on the pasture. Hay is the driest and therefore the risk of dust is big. Dust sensitive horses can get a bad cough from this. If the horse gets a bad stomach from the hay silage and drier hay is not suitable you can try to complement with straw, since the straw does not contain nutrition and can stabilise the stomach.
When starting a new hay bale there is a risk that the stomach of a senstitive horse gets upset. There are some home remedies though – you can for example try with blueberry soup or fennel. It might sound strange, but fennel has helped stabilising my sensitive horse’s stomach when changing hay bales.
When you have chosen a combination of feeds that is right for your horse it’s time to balance it by adding vitamins, minerals, proteins and so on – there is a long list! It can be good to give a horse that is being trained a lot some extra proteins and carbohydrates, while a “lazy one” will be fine with just the regular horse feed and possibly minerals. Keep in mind that all horses need salt to be able to sweat out toxins and waste products. There are salt stones to place out in the paddock or in the box stall. Is your horse licking the salt stone hysterically? You can then control the salt intake by adding a tablespoon of salt to the horse’s feed.