Feeding horses is more an art than a science. The horses digestion is dependant on the bacterial breakdown of plant cellulose in the large intestine.
We try to emulate the natural environment as far as possible. When this is not the case we see common problems occur such as colic and gastric ulcers.
Some common helpful suggestions:
- Feeding a diet that has plenty of fibre in it.
- Feeding a number of times a day if stabled.
- Allowing as much access to grazing as is possible.
- Overfeeding is common.
- Regular teeth checks.
- Regular worm counts.
- There is evidence that the bacterial population in the hind gut can become unbalanced ,this is being recognised more often.
There are many different diets available for your horse these days, this can be bewildering and many non competitive horses need little more than an ordinary horse and pony cube as a supplement to forage.
Hay –feed value and dust problems, this can be alleviated in part by steaming the hay.
Haylage-ease of feeding and storing, this has an increased food value and less dust or mould.
There are many nutritional supplements that are on the shelves and there is no doubt that some horses in full work will benefit from the use of these supplements.
Feeding is an important part of recovery from injury illness or disease.