Don't make risky mistakes when feeding your horse

Don't make risky mistakes when feeding your horse

We all have the best intentions when feeding our horse.
To help you avoid some risky pitfalls and guide you toward some simple Do-instead’s, I’ve put together this easy read.

No.01 Mistake:

Feeding by volume, not by weight of feed
This goes for both your grain and your hay. Too often horse owners feed based on volume, meaning they fill a “scoop” or a coffee can and say “this much”.

When in reality you cannot determine the nutritional content by volume ie. how full your coffee can is. This must be done by weight. All grains have a different weight, as does hay.

The only way you can feed accurately is with a scale and then take that measurement to the recommended feeding directions on your feed bag label. The labels give you nutritional content per pound of feed = weight.

weigh your horses feed

Do This Instead:

Feed by weight
When feeding both your grain and your hay it is essential you weigh everything. A small investment of a scale is needed.

  1. Measure your can/scoop by itself.
  2. Then add the grain feed and measure again until you have 1lb, 2lb etc. (minus the weight of the can/scoop)
  3. Make a mark on the can/scoop where each of those weights is.

IMPORTANT, each grain must have its own can/scoop! Because 2lb of alfalfa pellet is a larger volume (a larger size scoop or more “lines” on the can) than oats for example.

LABEL the can/scoop “feed type” and leave it in that feed storage container.

Hay- no bale is created equal! Weigh each horse’s feeding!

No.02 Mistake:

Overloading on the grain bucket 
What this means is feeding all your horse’s grain in one meal.

If your horse requires more than 0.5% his body weight in grain, it is recommended this be broken into many smaller meals- four or more mini meals per day.

Compound mix grains are dense in energy, carbohydrates, and protein. If your horse takes in a large amount of a high-starch grain all at once, you are putting him at a higher risk of colic and laminitis.

overfilled horse grain bucket

Do This Instead:

Feed according to HOW the horse digests
If it’s up to the horse, he’ll eat tiny bits of food over a long period of time (grazing) and digests in a “trickle drip” way.

I understand, life is busy and it is more convenient to feed all of the grain in one meal. However, this is not ideal for the horse.

If possible spread out the meals into many mini meals. Ideally, feed 3-4 times a day.

To increase the absorption of grain, feed hay first allowing 3 hours to consume, then grain meal #1, allow 3 hours, hay again, grain meal #2…you get the idea!

It is also recommended to allow the horse access to pasture grazing or a slow feeder system for hay as much as possible. There are many excellent slow feeder systems available to chose from.

Mimicking natural digestion drastically helps reduce the risk of feed related disorders.

Share with all your Horsey-friends!

Happy Horsey-days

xo, Erica