The cornerstone of your horse's health all comes down to their feeding routine. To keep your horse in tip top condition and to help them maintain a good level of health, getting their feed right is key. As well as calculating the right amount of feed for the horse, you need to bear in mind many other factors including when they should be fed, and how they should be fed. To give your horse the best chance of health, it's imperative that the horse owner knows these crucial elements to a horses diet, but to make the learning curve a bit easier we have put together some of the basic rules of feed that can be applied to any horse.
Feed By Weight
The best way to know if you're feeding your horse the right amount is by calculating their body weight. As a general rule of thumb horses should consume about 2.5% of their body weight per day, relevant to their condition and workload. The easiest way to calculate your horse's body weight is by using the below formula:
Bodyweight (kg): Heart girth (cm) ² x body length (cm)/11877
Once you have calculated their body weight it's time to work out how much feed the horse needs each day. This can be worked out by using the following formula:
Horse Weight x 2.5% = total amount of feed needed per day (kg)
Once you've calculated the amount they need daily, the last part is to calculate the ration that they need to keep them energised during the day, bearing in mind their workload and condition. By using this feed advice calculate ration chart it will give you a good idea at what you should be feeding your horse.
Now we've covered the basics of feed, it's time to focus on those fundamental tips that often get forgotten, but in the long run will help to create a much healthier eating routine.
Ensure that there is always a plentiful supply of fresh water for your horse. This should be kept clean at all times in a trough or bucket for easy access.
Don't Exercise Immediately After Feeding
The same rule applies to horses that they shouldn't exercise for 2 hours after eating which gives their food time to properly digest. Also, if your horse has worked hard or had an extremely hard workout don't offer them a feed of concentrates until they have fully recovered. This will allow the feed to filter into the digestive system more effectively.
Feed At The Same Time Each Day
Horses thrive on a regular routine, so ensure that you get them into a good feeding routine by feeding them at the same time each day. This is a simple process that will make big difference to their feeding routine.
Make Diet Changes Gradually
Suddenly changing a horse's diet can cause digestive upsets which will impact your horse in more ways than one. So when you are looking to implement any type of changes in your horse's diet this should be done gradually to reduce the risk of digestive upsets. This applies to both concentrates and roughage, including grass.
Once you've calculated the correct level of feed for your horse it's all about keeping to the routine to make it as effective as possible for the horse. As long as you focus on supplying them with high quality horse feed their health should tick along nicely! For more information on feeding your hoses check out our Guide To Horse Feed. You can view our full range of horse feed here. Keep up to date with our latest blog posts and updates on the Waterman's Facebook page, Twitter and Google+.