What Do You Feed a Horse?
QUESTION: Can you explain to me how a horse
is fed, what it is fed etc.
ANSWER: Horses are foragers if left in the wild,
meaning they are sustained off of grass. The domestic
horse, however, has a much more balanced diet,
as a rule. Horses in barns are cared for differently
than horses left in pasture 24 hours a day. Stabled
horses, for example, are likely to have grain
twice a day, while a pasture horse may exist similar
to his wild counterpart, on grass and hay.
Grain includes oats, corn, barley, milo, soybean,
wheat, or combinations of one or more. Additives
may be included as well, such as bran, vitamins,
minerals, molasses (to keep the mixture from being
too dry), etc. Sometimes people mix vitamin and
mineral pellets with the grain as additives. Balance
is the key.
Hay ranges from alfalfa to brome to "ditch
hay" (long grass cut and baled for hay).
Alfalfa is usually a good addition to a diet.
Some horses do better on brome.
Horses need water at all times. Exercise is important
That's a high level look at feeding. For more
information on diet and care, check out THE COMPLETE
BOOK OF HORSE CARE, by Tim Hawcroft (see Resources).