Horse feed is expensive. And as long as you have horses, you can’t avoid spending money on it. Feed costs here come in the form of forage (pasture and hay), grains or concentrates, as well as supplements.
Taking care of your horse can take a lot of effort -- and consume a lot of money -- if you don’t make good plans. From the feeds-buying routines and grain-stocking cycle to the supplement replenishment schedule, making sure that your horse is getting the right healthy nutrients regularly can be really involving.
So, how do you cost-effectively ensure that your horse remains nutritiously fed at all times, yet not compromise on his health or field performance?
Start with understanding your horse’s nutritional needs. An equine nutritionist can help here. Alternatively, nowadays there are online programs by feed companies. Here, you’re provided with a form to fill details like your horse’s age, weight, etc. Then they’ll help you to know if you’re overfeeding or underfeeding your horse.
Next, you need to figure out the quality and nutritional value of the forage you’re feeding to your horses. Feed companies don’t know what amount of hay you’re feeding your horse at home. Therefore, often you’ll find that the supplements you’re buying may be carrying even some of the nutrients from hay. This may lead to overfeeding. If you often make your own hay or buy it in bulk, you can have each batch analyzed to determine its nutrient content.
Another thing, although we’re trying to save on costs in the short-term, look at long-term savings as well. Go for high-quality forage (even if a bit more expensive). In the long run, it’ll save you costs of buying grain and supplements. This is because the higher the nutrient value of the forage, the less extra feed you’ll need.
Bottom line: an efficient, cost-effective stabling process shouldn’t see you parting with more than $2-$3 daily per horse. This includes forage, grains, and supplements. If you find that your costs are ranging around $5-$8, then you’re probably spending money on unnecessary (sometimes even unhealthy due to overfeeding) supplements.
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