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Feeding your Horse

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Equine Feed & Supplement Range

 

 

In their natural state, horses move slowly from one feeding ground to another and do not use energy unnecessarily. 

 

As long as the area is large enough they can exist solely on grasses and herbs.

 

Download our Equine Feed & Supplement Guide

 

 

Horses Need a Balanced Diet

There are two approaches to feeding your horse:

  • Ready-made mixes and cubes
  • Traditional cereals (straights)

Ready Made Feeds

Mole Valley Farmers working mix for horsesThese come in two forms, mixes or cubes.   Mixes are in a loose or ‘coarse’ form and cubes (or nuts) are compressed ready-made feeds. Both are carefully formulated mixtures with different recipes for various uses - for example ‘Horse & Pony’ or ‘Stud’ feeds. It is important to select the right type for your horse, to ensure that he gets the correct balance of nutrients.

You should not mix ready-formulated feeds with straight cereals as this will alter the carefully calculated nutritional balance of the feed. Chaff can be mixed with the food to ensure that the horse does not ‘bolt’ it and that he chews it thoroughly. Chaff will also add to the daily volume of roughage required.  A variety of chaffs are available on the market including molassed and timothy grass based. A basic Hi Fibre type will not interfere with the nutritional balance of the feed. Always use feed before the expiry date to ensure the guaranteed feed values remain the same.

Traditional Feeds

These include barley, flaked maize, oats and bran.  Oats are the traditional feed but can make some horses excitable. Ordinary oats are often bruised, rolled or crushed. They need to be used within three weeks as they go stale quickly. 'Naked Oats', a higher energy type, are fed whole. All straights should be fed with chaff and professional guidance should be sought to devise a ration.

Important Points

How Much to Feed

Always feed to the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a basic rule, a horse’s daily food intake should weigh approximately 2.5% of his bodyweight. If he is too fat or too thin, he will need more or less feed. Roughage should always account for at least 60% of his total intake, and may often be higher.

Roughage

Horse face eyeGrass is the horse’s natural roughage and therefore hay is a good substitute.  Good quality hay smells sweet and is free of dust and mould.  Poor quality hay may contain fungal spores that can damage your horse’s lungs. Haylage is an alternative form of forage that is dust free and contains minimal fungal spores. It can be made to different energy levels. Horses usually require the lowest energy levels; always seek professional advice before feeding a higher energy type.

As with all feeds always introduce new haylage or a fresh batch of hay gradually by mixing a small amount of the new with the old, switching gradually from one to the other.

Storing Feeds

Store all hard feeds away from the stable in dry, vermin proof bins with secure lids. Store hay and straw so the bales are dry and off the floor, with air allowed to circulate around them.

The domestic horse is kept in an unnatural environment and we make differing work demands on them.

We must feed them accordingly whilst remembering the following basic principles:

Water

Your horse must have access to clean, fresh water at all times.

Feed Little and Often

Horses are grazing animals designed to have food moving through their system at all times. When stabled they need small regular feeds and a regular supply of hay or similar, particularly at night.

Feed According to the Animal

  • Temperament - Horses are individuals and react differently to different amounts and types of food.
  • Work load - The more work he does the more energy he will require from his food.
  • Condition - His requirement will vary depending on his age, breed, condition and how he is kept.
  • Weight - Feed by weight not guesswork.

Routine

Feed at the same times every day. Horses should not work hard after a feed because they cannot digest whilst working. A full stomach affects breathing because it takes up the space needed by the diaphragm and lungs during work.

Horse in rug jumpingRoughage

Hay, haylage, grass or chaff keeps the digestive system working.

Changes

Introduce changes to feed regimes slowly. This will allow the bacteria within the digestive system time to become balanced with the new food, so that the horse continues to get the most from his diet.

Quality

Horses need clean, quality food to maintain their condition.

Succulents

Stabled horses need succulent food, such as carrots or grass, everyday. 

Mole Valley Farmers Products

At Mole Valley Farmers we produce our own brand horse feeds, which are nutritionally balanced to give the best quality diet to your horse.  We also stock a variety of feeds from other manufacturers including Dengie, Dodson and Horrell, Baileys, Spillers, Redmills, Allen and Page, Topspec and Saracen.  We are also proud to supply Horsehage from Mark Westaway and Son and haylage from Devon Haylage, both suppliers local to the Mole Valley Farmers trading area.


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