General Notes on Feeding
To be able to provide the horse an optimum diet it is necessary to look at its original feeding habits. Horses are generalist browsers. The bulk of the diet comprised of roughage ie a variety of pasture grasses, weeds and pickings from shrubs and trees. Concentrates were eaten only when available as seed heads formed. They browsed in herds with one horse keeping sentry duty in turns when the others had REM sleep which lasts around 30 minutes at a time. Changes to diet were gradual and dictated by how far they moved per day and seasonal changes. Horses eat for most of the twenty four hour period.
To provide your horse with the ideal grazing conditions you need to look at redesigning you paddocks to emulate to some degree the natural grazing patterns and further to that look at modifying the pasture mix to include low sugar grasses, bitter and aromatic herbs.Notes on pasture mixes can be found on our ‘Articles page’
How Horses Grazed in the Wild
- Horses are generalist browsers.
- Diet comprised of roughage ie a variety of plants.
- Concentrates only available as seed heads formed.
- Changes to diet were gradual and dictated by how far they moved per day
- Horses eat for most of the twenty four hour period.
- They had access to a range of trees and shrubs from which they nibbled at bark, leaves and branchlets.
- They had access to natural plant vermifuges that controlled parasites.
- They did not graze over parasite infested pastures or areas that contained fresh droppings.
It is suggested that you take your horse off all proprietary feeds while your horse is being treated for degenerative conditions, allergies, cancer, arthritis
It is essential that you eliminate all refined oils from the diet as they are pro-inflammatory. Omega Oils should be stored in glass in a cool dark place and used within 2 months of opening.
That you take care not to over load the system with too many concentrates or protein.
Note: Quantities will need to be adjusted to suit individual horse.
- Unlimited access to Meadow Hay,
- Either boiled or freshly crushed barley. One ice cream container
- Oaten chaff half a bucket.
- Oats if your horse does not heat up. 2-3 cups
- 100-200grams of Meadow Muesli
- Unlimited access to Rock salt
- Kelp half to one cup.
- 3-4 tea bags of Green Tea.
- 15ml of an Omega Oil Complex.
- Tablespoon of Rosehip granules
- Half a cup of millet.
- One cup each of stinging nettle, cleavers and dandelion cover with boiling water and add to feed .
- Freshly sprouted legumes and wheat which act as natural chelators.
Notes in this table have been taken from a number of sources to include seminars, forums and personal research
|Basic Dietary Requirements||Percentage||Description|
|Cellulose/ fibre||50% to 60%||This includes soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre increases bulk and water absorption in the colon. Forage as dry matter, hay oaten chaff etc|
|Carbohydrates/||Grains. High in starch and sugars linked with hot excitable behaviour. Muscle problems in susceptible horses. Development of OCD in youngsters|
|Protein||10% by weight||Excessive intake: potential problems ie increased water requirements, urea in blood and gut increase, ammonia, heat production. Pastures with clover and legumes provide protein as does soya meal.|
|Supplements||Less than 5% of total ration||Check that you are not double dosing with premixed feeds ie selenium, more oil in the diet needs more vitamin e, B vitmins needed when the hind gut doesn’t work (brewers yeast good for this. Minimum levels not always known, safety not always established. Some are prohibited substances|
|Vitamins and minerals||We can over supplement with minerals. If your horse had poor hooves then biotin is needed|
|Supplements to alter behaviour||Thiamine /B1( only if the hind gut doesn’t work , Tryptophan (can make some horses more excitable) Magnesium Important in spring and autumn when magnesium levels are low in pasture. Omega oils only to be given separatately at the time of feeding, added omega oils at time of manufacture create trans fats.|
|Alternative Energry Sources||
|Fat in the Diet||
|High fat high Fibre diet||25% dietary energy||
Herbal Remedies These are effective and should not be given in conjunction with veterinary medication
- Many have drug-like actions and contain prohibited substances ie valerian, white willow bark, meadowsweet, ephedrine
- May interact with other medications and/ dietary compounds