The perfect diet?
As some may know, I do not have horses (sorry I am so repetitive about it) but I want to make sure I do all my research and get some hands on experience prior to owning. What is the perfect diet for a horse? I own different types of animals and clearly not one animal has the same needs as the next (different species I mean). The main reason I ask here is when searching for the right dog food diet there was so much controversy between sources and I found personal experience and knowledge from dog owners helped me make a decision. Thanks for any input :)
Absolutely ideal diet? Grass! lol. If you have good quality pasture, you generally don't need anything else (except for maybe a salt/mineral block). Mine are on pasture plus hay (coastal, horse quality- very important that you get HORSE quality haha) in the winter.
We have a bunch of local feed stores by our house, 1 in particular only sells hay, I am assuming that is horse quality hay?
Thanks Cali :wink: nice to see a familiar name :D
The perfect diet would be having your hay and pasture tested and having a feed designed to balance it...
barring that the best you can do is feed free choice hay or pasture and a ration balancer designed to balance that type of forage
The Pefect Diet...
To create the perfect diet for you horse, or horse to be lol, you need to take lots of things into consideration. Like how much excercise he receives, his size, age, and what is availible for you in your area etc. Some horses need supplements along with their diet to ensure they get what they need, or they may be prescribed by a vet or farrier. So, you can't really determine the perfect diet, until you know what horse you are preparing the diet for. You can also always ask a vet or experienced horseman etc for help when you do know what horse you are dealing with.
As Peggysue said your pasture and hay should be tested as well as your soil. THEN you can take into account your horses' individual needs and balance accordingly IF NEEDED with a "hard" feed.
IMO it helps to have a mixture of grass species and legumes in both your pasture and your hay.
What is a perfect diet for one horse might not be the perfect diet for another horse living in the same field or one living a mile down the road.
A perfect diet is animal specific.
Some horses have to have limited grass, etc.
Very good point. Even with pastures/hays. What's appropriate for a foundered pony or a Cushings horse is not appropriate for a hard keeper TB or a show horse.
in reality a diet low in sugars and starches and higher in fats and of course based off of forage is best for ANY horse. Very few horses need the added sugars and starches from grains like Corn, Oats and barley.
So ideal diet for ANY horse is hay in approriate amount to keep horse at good weight
Vitamin/minerals to balance that hay
Fats as needed for energy and weight gain
Here's the argument I've heard from show/race people.
Hay (no matter the quality) is unable to provide the shear amount of calories needed for these horses. They also have greater demands for other nutrients that hay is unable to provide. That is why they need hard feed.
Now I've wondered in the past if a high quality alfalfa fed in high quanities is capable of meeting these energy needs.
Granted most of the horses around the world are more than capable of meeting their needs on a good grass hay or pasture, but what about the extreme atheletes?
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