You want to take the best care of your horse, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to help. Our friends at SmartPak have compiled a list of 26 ways to take your horse’s health from “good” to “great.”
From the SmartPak Blog:
1. Evolve Your Thinking
Horses evolved over millions of years for a very specific way of life. But these days, most horses are living a pretty “unnatural” life. Training, trailering, eating grain and living in a stall all put stress on your horse’s body. Luckily, there are ways to adapt your horse’s feeding program to help him cope.
2. Weigh Your Hay
Your horse was designed to graze all day long, but that’s just not practical or even possible for many barns. No matter your horse’s situation, he should be eating 1-2% of his body weight in forage per day (for a 1000 lbs horse that’s 10-20 pounds!). Unfortunately, a “flake” is not a unit of weight measurement. But you don’t have to step on the scale for every meal. With each new shipment of hay, you can weigh several bales, then divide the average weight by the average number of flakes.
3. What’s in the Bag?
You know your horse gets a scoop of something, but do you know what it actually is? There are three main types of horse feed: ration balancers, fortified grains and complete feeds.
• Ration balancers only provide vitamins, minerals and protein, and they typically come with a serving size of 1-2 lbs.
• Fortified grains include all that, plus a significant source of energy (calories), with an average serving size around 6-9 lbs. Most pelleted grains and sweet feeds fall within the category of “fortified grains.”
• Last but not least, there’s complete feeds, which contain all of the above and a full serving of fiber. Essentially, complete feeds are meant to replace hay in the diet of senior horses who have trouble chewing and digesting efficiently. Since they’re intended to replace the hay in the diet, complete feeds have a serving size of 15-20 lbs per day!
(SENTINEL and GUARDIAN OF EQUINE HEALTH are marks of Blue Seal Feed, which has no affiliation with SmartPak Equine.)
4. Less is More
Concentrated sources of energy, like grain, are not a natural part of horses’ diets, so only feed the minimum amount needed to maintain healthy weight and support performance. For hard keepers and extreme athletes, instead of maxing out the grain ration, consider adding a quality fat supplement for a healthy source of additional calories.
Read the rest of this story on the SmartPak Blog.
Go SmartPak, and Go Riding!