Keeping your horse in good shape can be a difficult task for horse owners. A horse has dietary needs much like a human being does. You cannot simply put some hay in front of your horse and expect to be done with your responsibilities. Horses need to be fed properly, based on their physical condition and other factors.
If a human being does not attain the required nutrition, he may end up over or under weight. Similarly, it is essential to identify your horse’s dietary needs and fulfill them accordingly. The most common mistake horse owners make is to feed the horse too much, resulting in fattening up their beloved pet.
Decide on the Right Diet
The first step to keeping your horse healthy is to establish how many calories it needs per day. This number can vary with the amount of work the horse is doing. A working horse will need significantly more calories than the one that is ridden once or twice a week. Once the required calories have been calculated, a feeding plan should be worked out to meet the horse’s nutritional needs. It is easy to get carried away and over feed the horse, as all owners want to see their horses nice and plump, but it is in your horse’s best interest if you do some research before feeding it.
Calculate How Much is Needed
Overweight horses are susceptible to coronary diseases and joint problems. In order to avoid these ailments, their food needs to be strictly regulated. One common mistake horse owners make is measuring horse feed by volume. Instead, it should be measured by weight as it gives a much more accurate calorie count of the food that is being fed to the horse. Not measuring properly may result in over feeding the horse, leading to its fattening.
Use Supplements Only When Necessary
Supplements and concentrates are readily available for use but should only be given to the horse if they are needed. The hay and fodder needs to be tested, and if it is short of any required nutrients, supplements may be given to make up for the shortage. The dosage has to be clearly measured as minerals like selenium can be toxic to a horse if they exceed a certain amount.
Choose the Appropriate Feed
To make it easier for horse owners to choose the right feed, it is usually clearly labeled for specific types of horses such as youngsters, broodmares, hardworking adults, and seniors. Giving the right feed to the horse will certainly aid in keeping it fit and healthy.
Overfeeding can be easily overcome if the horse owners take out some time to tailor the horse’s diet to its specific needs. Over feeding causes obesity in horses which may result in diseases such as equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis. Providing the right mixture of pasture grass and hay is often enough to keep the horse healthy, and concentrates should be added in the required amounts only if they are needed.
Overfeeding young horses is especially problematic which can make them gain weight too quickly resulting in problems such as joint inflammation. Fattening a horse is not favorable in any condition, and with a healthy diet and exercise regimen your horse will stay healthy and also lead a happier life.
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