A variety of feed options is readily available to assist you in securing food for your horse. Manufacturers of commercial horse feed are mandated by law to include information regarding feed content. Some commercial horse feeds are able to safely provide the appropriate levels of carbohydrates, protein, minerals, vitamins, and fat to meet your horse’s specific needs.
But how can you determine if the daily nutrition that you are providing for your horse meets the guidelines for a proper diet for horses?
Know the Basics
Clean water is a necessity and should be made readily available on a daily basis to avoid diseases such as forms of colic, intestinal issues, and dehydration. Horses can consume up to fifteen gallons during the course of a day and should have access to water at least twice a day.
Hay and grass contain carbohydrates that contribute much to the horse’s necessary nutritional food intake and usually accounts for the major portion of the horse’s eating regimen. Hay should be of a quality that is good and should be free of any mold or dust. This will ensure that the horse is receiving a better quality of protein. Growing horses benefit from a level of 12 percent up to a level of 18 percent of protein in the diet whereas an adult horse can function well on a protein percentage of no more than 12. Higher levels of protein can result in a stabled horse exhibiting respiratory difficulties.
Minerals such as copper, zinc, and biotin are important for your horse’s body to keep functioning properly and to improve hoof strength. Commercial horse feed can provide enough mineral intake to meet the needs of all horses. However supplements might be necessary if your horse does not consume enough of the commercial horse feed. Critical vitamins that allow the horse to keep alive include D, C, A, E, K, and the B complex vitamins. Health problems can occur in a vitamin deficient horse. Check the horse feed contents to be sure that your horse is being fed adequate amounts.
Fats provide a good source of energy. However the horse that has a diet that is higher in fat usually requires less feed but more of the other nutrients to balance out the horse’s daily requirements. Horse feed with no additives can provide up to four percent fat. Their counterparts, with supplements, can provide up to 12 percent fat.
Natural Foods Now Available For Horses
Natural foods for horses are now available and include split peas, hulled hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds, and hulled sunflower seeds and can be added to protein deficient hay, especially for hard working horses. Chia seeds, blue-green algae, flaxseed oil, and flaxseed meal will provide omega 3′s for your horse’s joints, as an aid in reversing inflammation, and ensuring a healthy immune system.