Nutrition is a primary concern for horse owners and caretakers and we all know that health can never be achieved without the right meals. But the task at hand is broader than what we all think. Overall digestive health is an extensive subject says Equine America’s lead team of experts. But for the purpose of this article, let’s tackle some of the most basic ways to promote it.
Tip #1: Choose organic first. – This is not saying that processed feeds or similar other manufactured supplements are bad. Not at all. But organic options like fruits and vegetables are still the best options out there. They’re all natural and therefore close to what equines normally ingest as nature would have it.
Tip #2: Forage is a must. – Roughage in the form of hay and grass are crucial in a horse’s digestion. They need the fiber to be able to effectively process their food. Plus, it also keeps them warm during the cooler months. In fact, equines need to eat at least 2% of their body weight worth of forage.
Tip #3: Avoid sugar and starch. – They’re not bad but too much is. As always, moderation is key. A very high sugar and starch diet in horses makes them all the more prone to laminitis, a common crippling disease among equines that affect their hooves.
Tip #4: Practice consistency. – Because equines are animals that develop routines, any abrupt changes to meal schedules can throw them off. Therefore, consistency in proportions and time is necessary.
Tip #5: Keep it small. – Make sure to chop up their meals into small, chewable bite-sized pieces to avoid any choking accidents. Remember that they cannot vomit because their esophagus only works one way.
Tip #6: Go for smaller portions and more meals. – Each horse has their own daily needs and requirements. This is best divided into small portions, preferably three or more, and given out in several meals instead of just one or two. This is due to the fact that their stomach is rather small and can only contain a certain capacity or else it might rupture.
Tip #7: Keep them hydrated. – Equine America suggests the use of a free drinking station to keep water supply available round the clock. Horses need to drink up quite the amount of water to keep themselves hydrated and to avoid the occurrence of colic. During the winter, the supply has to be regularly checked to ensure that the water does not freeze over or turn icy cold.
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