What To Feed Your Horse
Before you choose a feed, ask the following questions:
· What breed is your horse? Is he a Thoroughbred? He will need a lot of care and feed. Is he a cross-breed or Basuto pony? They are generally good doers.
· How old is your horse? An older horse will need a feed with higher protein (14% protein) to help keep him well muscled. As he gets older his digestive system will not work as well and his teeth may need attention, so feed a ration suitable for an older horse (Senior is a 14% protein ration and is finely chopped to help with old teeth) A young horse may still be growing, so will need a higher protein to help develop muscles and bones – Showhorse 14% or Supagrowth.
· What are your horse’s teeth like? A horse can develop hooks and uneven tooth surface, making it uncomfortable to chew. He will need to see the dentist regularly.
· How big is your horse? A bigger horse with a large bone structure may need more feed or a higher protein feed.
· Where does your horse live? Is he stabled with good quality hay and water, on shavings, or is he living out on grazing? What is the grazing like in winter? You may need to supplement with hay during winter.
· What work is your horse doing? Is it high energy work, like racing? Or is working all day herding cattle? Think about how long your horse has to graze all day, and rest. If your horse is racing, is he being kept fit during the week? The more the horse works, the more he will need to eat. For a racing horse, it is the same as for someone doing the Comrades Marathon – you will need to eat a lot of food to give you enough stamina to run a long race, plus you must be
healthy and have good shoes.
A horse in hard work will need a higher energy, high protein feed, to keep the horse well-muscled with enough energy to do the work.
A horse in good health, on good hay, working an hour a day will manage on a 11% ration like Maintenance. A fat horse who does little work will do well on Paddock Plus 11%.