In our May blog 11 Common Feeding Mistakes tips by Aloeride aloe vera, we look at a few of the most common feeding mistakes that horse and pony owners can make.
Feeding too much
‘Feed for the work your horse does.’ Just like humans, horses will naturally put on weight if the ratio between calories being consumed is greater than the calories being burned off. However, like some humans, some horses will burn calories more quickly than others but as a general rule, feed for your horses’ weight, age and workload.
Not feeding correctly for age
Whether you are feeding a young or older horse, your horse’s nutritional needs will differ. Young horses need a good balanced diet filled with vitamins, minerals and protein. Likewise, your golden oldie veteran may need more calories and a special diet due to, not infrequently hidden, dental issues (consider review by centre of excellence for equine dentistry) and digestion issues.
Not feeding correctly for the breed
Different breeds require different approaches to feeding. What you may feed a thoroughbred specifically because of hooves issues would generally be very different to a Native breed.
Guess the weight
If you haven’t had your horse weighed on a weighbridge, then now is the time to look to do this. Once you have a correct weight for your horse, you can calculate what they should be fed, whether they are a good weight and then regularly use a weigh tape after that to keep an eye on weight loss or gain, rather than guessing.
Not weighing food or hay
If you simply throw food in his bowl or feed ad lib hay or haylage without any idea of how much or little, you should review this area of your stable management. Using measuring scoops and weighing haynets will help you manage your horse’s weight.
Feeding too much hard feed
Gastric ulcers, colic and laminitis, amongst others, are linked to high starch diets, so focus on fibre when reviewing your horses’ diet. As a general rule of thumb, if your horse is in light work, you should be feeding 75% forage and 25% hard feed. This is a common feeding mistake.
Back to basics
If your horse starts to present behavioural or physical issues, it is always worth reviewing diet as part of your exploratory process. It may be that your horses’ dietary needs have changed or need to be changed.
Too many supplements
Horse owners love supplements; ask any livery yard manager doing the evening feeds! Reviewing your horse feed supplements regularly is essential. Aloeride is an all-around supplement. Aloeride offers support for healthy skin, hair, hooves and digestion, making it a very cost-effective supplement in the long term.
Feeding for the job
Whether you own a competition horse or happy hacker, you need to feed for the job that your horse does. A horse that is undertaking endurance competitions will have different dietary needs to a horse that enjoys leisurely short hacks.
Feeding for the season
Another common feeding mistake is not feeding for the season. Each season brings different challenges, and you should be reviewing your feeding accordingly. Rich, lush spring and summer grass is full of sugar and calories, so you may need to reduce your horse’s hard feed to keep the balance. Suppose you are worried about cutting back on your horse’s hard feed due to nutritional requirements. In that case, you can always substitute it with a quality balancer or all-around vitamin and mineral supplement. If your horse has sensitive skin and gets ‘sunburnt’ easily, then -think what people do on Barbados beaches- feed you horse Aloeride! That creates a very useful buffer against sunburn.
Not getting expert advice
There are so many excellent feed companies with qualified nutritionists out there that offer free advice. It is worth taking advantage of these services rather than making feeding mistakes.
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