Where ever there are horses, if they are out in a pasture three quarters of the time they will have their heads down grazing. A horse is a herbivore with a distinct digestive system. Their normal source of food is grass.
There are reasons for horses being in different environments such as ones in stalls all day, but for my horse I like it when she is out in the pasture, because being a horse she likes to eat grass. Then being out in the field she can run and kick and get needed exercise too.
Wild horses seem to not be bothered so much with over weight or laminitis, but our kept horses contact these problems periodically because of the type of horses they are and not getting to run and be a horse contribute to these maladies.
If your horse can’t be out on pasture all the time, hay is fed, probably a couple flakes twice a day. A flake is the natural place where the hay bale separates when the string is cut. Make sure it is not moldy. Mold can kill a horse or seriously damage him. My horse gets a portion of hay in the morning and evening. She is out on pasture five to six hours daily.
I also feed grain once a day to my mare. It’s an equine senior blend that since she is an older horse has nutrition for her age with less sugar. For a twenty something horse she still has a lot of energy so does not need the extra sugar in some of the other grain mixtures. I add a supplement for joints, hooves, and coat.
Another word on grain, since this isn’t a normal food for a horse, owners should monitor the amount fed. A horse doesn’t chew the grain like they do the grass or hay and a horse can develop teeth problems and ulcers. I also found in my research that if a horse over eats on grain it can colic.
Always, always have fresh water available.
This is the very basics of what a horse likes to eat. There are show horses and horses that are used for working on ranches; herding cattle, and other ranch work; there are the rodeo horses either the bronco horses or the ones used in the various competitions that may have different feeding habits because of the amount of work they do they may need different supplements, but for the average horse owner the basics above is a good place to start. Then as more knowledge is obtained and different uses of the horse are put into practice, the feeding habits change with it. When changing the feeding it should be noted to do that gradually so the horse doesn’t become sick.
Treats are fun to feed to your horse. It’s like giving a piece of candy or an ice cream cone to your child. Their little faces light up and it’s a pleasure to watch their happiness. When my horse gets a treat she is looking expectantly too and noses for it.
I think some of these are okay to give like a carrot or an apple. There are treats especially made for horses too that are okay to give. I was told once that when giving a treat to horse put it in a bucket or trough and let the horse eat it from there. Don’t put it in your hand because this can cause a horse to become too aggressive and nippy, thinking there is a teat all the time and they can push you around and bite trying to get at the treat.
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