What do horses eat? A guide to feeding and watering

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what do horses eat

What do horses eat – We all love horses; some of you might even have these magnificent animals at home or on your farm. We assume those of you who own horses are having a wonderful time playing with them and enjoying horseback riding. However, it’s important to remember that besides the fun activities, you must also provide them with a nutritious diet.

This is essential to ensure their health and keep them in great shape. Today, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of foods horses eat, which you should include in their diet plan. Let’s explore what do horses eat in more detail.

Grass in the Field

I’m sure you know horses and other plant-eating animals enjoy munching on grass. Fresh, soft plants and the grass in the field are the usual foods that horses enjoy. Grass provides all the essential nutrients that horses need, and they often eat it to stay healthy.

Remember, if your horse isn’t used to eating grass, don’t give them a lot at once. Start with a small amount each day and slowly give them more. Giving them too much grass all at once isn’t good for their health. But for horses that need more food, like the ones who have trouble keeping weight on, you can give them a lot of grass.

Hay

Hay is another great and healthy food choice for horses. Hay is dried grass. If you can’t find fresh green grass near your home or farm, that’s alright – you can still feed your horses hay, which is just as nutritious.

Hay is packed with more fibre, and that’s really good for your horse’s health. Fresh grass has water and little fibre, which isn’t as healthy or nutritious for your horse. If you have a new horse, give them a small amount of hay and then increase it slowly in their diet.

Treats

Treats for horses include fruits, veggies, candies, grains, eggs, or similar stuff. Sometimes, people like to share what they eat with their horses, especially kids. It makes both the horse and the kids happy. It’s okay to give them treats occasionally, but it’s best not to do it too often.

Candies with lots of sugar aren’t good for horses because too much sugar can make them gain too much weight. Some folks even give them meat, but that’s not a good idea. It’s okay to give them a little meat now and then, but don’t give it too much because they’re supposed to eat plants. 

Eating too much meat can upset their stomachs since it’s not their usual food.

Horse Treats: What do horses eat?

If you want to give your horse treats like fruits or candies, ensure it’s just a small amount. And remind your kids not to give treats too often. It’s also important to keep an eye on how your horse eats and check its weight regularly so it doesn’t become overweight.

Grains

Grains are good for horses; you can give them things like corn, barley, oats,  wheat, milo, beet pulp, molasses, and soybeans. You don’t need to do anything special to feed them these grains; just keep some in your hand on the ground, and the horse will eat them. 

Grains even have something called silica, which is good for their teeth. But be careful not to give them too much because too much of anything isn’t good.

Concentrate Mixes

You can mix different things with lots of minerals and vitamins, which is really good for your horse’s health. For example, you can mix flaxseed, molasses, grains, bran,  beet pulp, and other things with minerals and vitamins and feed them to your horse. 

You can find helpful information about this on some Horse Boards.

Mixes and Pellets

Horses also have another kind of concentrated food called mixes and pellets. These are made by putting grains and other good stuff together in one package, like a premade mix. They’re made to be easy and show exactly what’s inside, so you know what your horse is eating.

Some products sell their horse food in pellets, where everything is squished together in tiny bits. Others mix the grains and supplements but keep them in their regular form. 

These concentrated foods can be a bit more expensive, and even if they say they’re complete, your horse usually needs some regular hay or grass too.

You can find these special mixes in stores, which are already blended. This saves you the trouble of buying all the ingredients separately and mixing them yourself. 

These mixes have everything your horse needs to stay healthy, so we strongly recommend using them for your horse’s diet.

Water

Water is really important, so we don’t need to include it on this list. But it’s crucial to make sure your horse always has clean, fresh water available. Drinking dirty or polluted water can make them sick, so only let them drink water at your place.

If your horse eats hay, it will need more water than one that eats fresh green grass because the grass already has water.

Supplements

Supplements are like special additions to a horse’s food. They give the horse extra things it might need, like more vitamins, minerals, protein, or fat. Most horses that eat hay or grass and don’t do very hard work don’t really need these extra things. 

But some horses, like older ones, those with certain health issues, ones that are having babies, or those doing a lot of athletic stuff, might need them.

You can find lots of different products for this, like soybean meals for extra protein or salt licks for sodium and other important minerals. There’s also a balancer, a special product that gives horses the important stuff they need without giving them extra calories in their food.

Some FAQs

What do horses eat?

Forage, such as hay or grass.

How much hay does a horse need to eat each day?

About 2% of their body weight.

What are some good concentrates for horses?

Grains, such as oats and corn, and pellets.

What fruits and vegetables can horses eat?

Apples, carrots, bananas, and celery are all good choices.

Can horses eat meat?

No, horses are herbivores and should not eat meat.

How long do horses live 

The average lifespan of a domesticated horse is 25- 30 years. Wild horses typically live for fewer years due to lack of veterinary care and a balanced diet.