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What to Consider when Feeding a Horse

When it comes to feeding a horse, it’s important you are familiar with the psychosocial and psychological effects behind the feeding and effects the feed has on the horse. You should also know how the horses’ digestive system works. Read on to find out the top considerations when feeding a horse.

feeding a horse

Background Information

Generally, the majority of people think a skinny horse means carelessness. However, this is not always the case. The main cause of this tends to be more bad stable or horse management, even though this is still not the root to the problem. Most people only realize the significance of feeding their horse once it starts to lose weight. As soon as the horse starts to lose weight, this is usually a sign that something has gone wrong.

Listed below are a couple of reasons to why a healthy horse can go skinny within a few weeks:

Inadequate nutrition.
Stress or psychological reasons.
Physiological or medical conditions.
Before starting to feed a horse too much, you need to figure out the reason to the condition. When it comes to insufficient nutrition, this does not always mean you are feeding your horse less. Insufficient nutrition takes into account the following factors:

Not enough food.
Wrong type of food.
Wrong food.
No routine or set feeding times.
Physiologically and medically, it has been proven that nothing can throw weight off a horse faster than the pain it is suffering. If horses suffer from a painful condition, this can cause them to lose weight overnight. The reason behind this is the horse may have an infection, which needs to be fought off using the resources available. The horse may not have enough food or may not be able to consume enough food or won’t be able to digest properly. Only a dentist or vet can tell you this precisely.

Physiological and medical reasons for weakness can include:

Recovering from conditions, injuries, and illnesses.
Worm infestations.
Tooth ulcers.
Stomach ulcers.
Sharp edges on the teeth.
Minority of people realize the psychosocial impact that food and feeding can have on a horse.

Further Investigation

Seasons also play a big role, during spring time horses appear playful, very broody and joyful. They remain like this until mid-autumn. Later on, they become more broody and more prone to fighting and arguing, gradually becoming worse in the winter. If it weren’t for the concern of food, horses would stay happy and joyful all-year-round.

Due to the abundance of food in spring and summer, horses can play and breed without the concern of having to look for food. However, around mid-autumn, food is less abundant, which makes the horses less playful and more broody. As soon as the winter comes, so does the dread of less food, which means all food needs to be protected, which makes them fight.

Horse Management Today

Today, the majority of horses are kept in huge numbers on properties, which are usually small for the number of horses. Horses in this condition are usually fed out of bag and bale. Due to the increase in costs for feedstuffs, most yards have a limit to how much food the horse can receive. Once all these facts are taken into consideration, you can easily understand why horses can go weak.

Getting Your Horse Fat

Finding the root of the cause would make everything much easier, as you would know what does and doesn’t need changing. Putting weight on your horse can take time and there is no way they will go from weak to plump overnight. If a quick method is claimed, it will usually result in stressful situations, which will in fact have you starting all over again.

When you are feeding your horse, it is expensive to get it fat, but it is cheap keeping it fat. This is due to the fact a healthy horse will not need a lot of maintenance itself; it just needs what it burns up during work. However, a skinny horse has to survive and provide for the energy that it needs to do its work.

Some good reading on Basic Principles on Feeding a Horse: http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=7824

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