Caring for horses entails far more time, effort and money than keeping traditional pets. Not only do horses need to be groomed and examined by vets more often than other animals, they require a much greater degree of personal attention. This is particularly true when it comes to feeding. As any seasoned equestrian can attest, providing a horse with its daily nourishment is nothing like feeding a dog or cat. New horse owners who want their animals to remain happy, healthy and well-fed would be wise to heed the following tips.
Don’t Skimp on Roughage
It’s important for first-time horse owners to realize that horses are natural grazers. As such, your horse should have access to a steady supply of roughage throughout the day. Access to roughage is particularly important for horses that spend most of their time in stalls. In addition to keeping them nourished, roughage helps prevent stall-bound horses from succumbing to boredom and lethargy. In fact, most horses should eat between one and two percent of their bodyweight in roughage per day. Investing in horse insurance can ensure that your horse is able to receive the treatment it needs if it shows signs of boredom and/or loses interest in roughage.
Be Mindful of When You Administer Food
You’ll also need to be mindful of when you feed your horse. This means not administering food immediately before riding the animal. When a horse’s digestive system is full, its lungs have less room to work, which makes exercise incredibly strenuous. For best results, wait at least an hour after your horse has eaten before taking it for a ride. If you intend to embark on a long ride, you should wait about three hours.
Adhere to a Schedule
Like many animals, horses are creatures of habit. This is helped by the fact that their internal clocks are incredibly accurate. Feeding your horse at the same time – or times – each day is a great way to keep it on a schedule and ensure a healthy metabolism.
Horses require far more care and maintenance than most animals – and this is particularly apparent with feeding. If this is your first time owning a horse, becoming acclimated to the animal’s feeding schedule can be a bit of an adjustment. However, as long as you put the previously discussed pointers to good use, feeding time should prove a stress-free experience for both you and your horse.