Grass, hay, and grains are the main foods that horses consume as herbivores.
Due to their herbivorous diet and distinct digestive system, which differs greatly from our own, horses have highly specialized dietary requirements. A high-fiber diet that is taken in little doses over an extended period of time is necessary for their lengthy digestive tract. Horses often take numerous little meals throughout the day as opposed to a few large ones, like people usually do. In actuality, horses eat throughout the majority of their lives! Here’s a brief summary of what horses should and shouldn’t consume.
1. Tender Plants and Pasture Grass
The grass in pastures and sensitive plants are what horses naturally eat. The majority of the nutrients needed by a horse to be healthy are found in good pasture. Moreover, it has silica, which is beneficial to tooth health. Primitive horses frequently have to make do with subpar grazing and living circumstances, and they may survive on meager food. This probably explains why issues like laminitis, obesity, and equine metabolic syndrome are uncommon in wild horses but common in contemporary equines. The problem isn’t always pasture grass; rather, it’s the kinds of horses that people create and their lack of activity. Horse owners who have easy keepers should restrict their horses’ access to fresh grass. Serious issues can also arise when a horse that is not accustomed to lush pasture is abruptly introduced to it. Good pasture, however, offers the best nutrition for the hard-charging horse.
The opportunity to let their horses graze on pasture all year round is a luxury that many people do not enjoy. Hay is the next best thing to grass when it’s not available. It can be difficult to find quality horse hay. Having hay tested is beneficial in order to make up for any deficiencies in vitamins and minerals with supplemental intake. Rich pasture grass and rich hay can both cause issues for certain horses. Access to a bale feeder may need to be restricted around-the-clock for easy keepers.
Horses are traditionally fed oats as a grain. Horses may, however, also be given tiny amounts of other grains, such as corn. Certain grains, like wheat, aren’t always beneficial to horses. The closest a wild horse would get to consuming grains in their natural habitat would be the seed head of grasses. Horses are not meant to eat grains that are grown, harvested, and processed in the modern sense. Giving horses too much grain is a simple task. Moreover, grain doesn’t need to be chewed for as long and doesn’t have as much silica as grass. Dental issues and ulcers are among the problems that may arise from this. A horse may develop founder or colic if it consumes too much grain.
4. Concentrate Mixes
Concentrates typically contain a blend of ingredients such as bran, vitamins, minerals, beet pulp, grains, flaxseed, and molasses for flavor and energy. Some feed mills will mix concentrates to your specifications, or commercial mixes may contain several ingredients (though this is only practical if you have a large number of horses to feed). Similar to grains, concentrate mixes serve as a rapid energy source and supplement to help make up for any nutritional deficiencies. Concentrates are frequently fed in addition to grass or hay to mares who are in foal, nursing mares, performance horses, or working horses.
5. Salt and Minerals
Minerals and salt supplements are examples of supplements that can be sold separately or combined with concentrate mixes. Horses can help themselves when they get a craving by using a salt block or loose salt in a pasture or stall. Certain salts might be combined with minerals. Additionally, some people give minerals to horses free-choice or incorporate them into their concentrate or grain meals. A lot of people discover that they eat more salt in the summer than they do in the winter.
A lot of people enjoy giving their horses treats. A handful of grain, sugar cubes, candies, apples, watermelon, carrots, or other favorite fruits or vegetables are examples of these tidbits. Occasionally, strange items like a bite of a hot dog or boiled egg are included. But feeding meat or an excessive amount of sugar-filled treats, like fruit, to horses might not be a good idea. Because they are herbivores, horses may experience discomfort and unusual foods may have an impact on their intestinal flora, even if they do not exhibit obvious symptoms like colic when fed meat. A horse will likely eat anything they like repeatedly because, of course, they won’t draw a connection between the discomfort they’re experiencing right now and the hamburger they ate an hour ago. For this reason, it’s critical to give treats in moderation. If your horse needs to monitor their weight, treats should be limited and part of the overall feeding regimen. When receiving treats, your horse must also be treated with respect.
A horse doesn’t actually “eat” water, of course. Water, however, is a vital component of the diet of horses. Water consumption is likely to be lower in a horse fed pasture grass than in a horse fed hay alone. But clean, fresh water is necessary for both.
Experimentation of Haarlem Oil on horses appetite at Vauptain Stud farm
The experiment was done in February and April 1981 on a number of saddle horses racehorses at Vauptain in Buc (Yvelines)
Of a total of 17-one and two years old-foals treated with Genuine Haarlem Oil for the first time, from the first day 15 of them did not have any difficulty to take 10 cc of Genuine Haarlem Oil in the intake with a mixing of about 6 liters of oats + flat barley. Two of them had started to lick their trough after 48h. The following treatment did not cause any appetite problem.
Of a total of 64 adults of all ages; around fifty of them-who were for the first time treated with Haarlem Oil, – 5 of them took five days to get used to it. The following treatment, only one horse had an appetite problem for a day.