Top 5 Nutritional Tips for Your Horse
Good nutrition is the key to your horse’s health. While feeding a horse is neither difficult nor expensive, it is not as simple as you may think. To ensure your horse lives a long and healthy life, follow these five nutritional tips:
1. Provide unrestricted access to clean water
Your horse should always have access to fresh water, maintained at a lukewarm temperature to encourage maximum water consumption. Your horse’s need for water will increase according to a range of factors, including an increase in the temperature of his/her surroundings, an increase in his/her physical activity levels and/or a change in his/her physiological condition.
2. Offer a supplementary salt block
Salt is an essential mineral for your horse. If your horse’s diet lacks salt, he/she may suffer from poor health and performance. To provide your horse with adequate salt, you may wish to add one to two teaspoons of salt to your horse’s daily feed or offer unrestricted access to a supplementary salt block.
3. Change your horse’s diet gradually
Abrupt dietary changes can have devastating effects on your horse’s sensitive digestive system. When changing your horse’s diet, you should convert him/her to different rations over the course of a week. Frequent or sudden changes in your horse’s diet can put your horse at risk of developing colic (abdominal pain). If you suspect your horse may be suffering from colic, you should call your veterinarian. If your veterinarian diagnoses colic, your horse insurance may help you to meet the cost of treatment.
4. Feed your horse little and often
If you need to feed your horse large amounts of grain, you should split the total amount of grain into several small meals. Your horse’s stomach is only small in size and cannot stretch in response to a meal.
5. Be aware of your horse’s individual needs
It is vital to ensure your horse receives the correct nutrients for his/her age, activity level, physiological condition and expected performance. If your horse is sick or injured, you will need to provide a diet that optimises his healing capabilities, while if your horse is increasing in age, you will need to provide a diet that helps him to cope with the physiological effects of old age.
If you require advice on your horse’s nutritional needs, you should ask your veterinarian to perform a wellness examination on your horse. Your veterinarian will be happy to provide you with dietary recommendations based on your horse’s weight and condition.