What horse feed is best?
Author: Pet Station Date Posted: 23 March 2022
A Guide to Buying Feeds for Different Types of Horses
Horses, like us, need a wide range of nutrients to maintain proper health and wellbeing. Although foraging for grass and hay make up most of a horse's diet, they may not give the complete nutrition your horse needs. Feeds are essential to ensure your horse gets all the nutrients they need to keep them in tip-top health, particularly if you are exercising them often. Remember, a bad diet leads to malnutrition, resulting in weight loss, weakness, behavioural issues and more. So make sure your horse feed bins are filled up with a proper and well-balanced diet to keep your horses healthier and happier!
What Do I Need to Know Before Buying My First Horse?
Before we jump on to your horse's feeding requirements, it's important to first know how ready you are to own a horse. Adopting a horse when you're not prepared to is not only costly but also heartbreaking. So, to save you a few tears, here are a few questions to ask yourself before buying a horse.
Do You Know How to Take Care of a Horse?
Buying a horse is a huge responsibility and is a serious commitment. That's why you should consider how much energy, time and money you'll be spending on horse necessities, such as food and water, care kits, shelter, vet visits and more. It will also be a lifelong learning adventure to learn how to best take care of your horse as they age. However, despite the hard work, the rewards can be incredibly satisfying. For example, getting the hang of riding, or understanding if a horse can eat with a bridle on (we don't recommend it, it can get in the way of eating and food gets stuck on the bit) can be a source of pride. The best reward, though? For most horse owners, it's the bond they form with their horse through sincere commitment and devotion.
What Do You Want to Do With Your Horse?
Do you want quiet, scenic trail rides or to be competitive in Western equitation? Make sure your horse matches your riding goals. You don't want to get a racing horse that's never set their hoof out of the arena for a pleasure ride on a forest trail. That will be just too much for you both to handle! At the same time, a trail riding horse would have a difficult time keeping up with your competitive goals.
How Much Does Your Horse Need to Eat & What Sort of Feed?
A happy and healthy horse requires a balanced diet. Essentially, what you want to do with your horse correlates to your feeding habits. Keep reading to learn about the types of food to feed your horses.
A Wide Range of High-Quality Horse Feed
We're sure you want to feed your horse correctly, but we understand how tricky it can be to choose the proper horse feed. Horses at different life stages and workloads have varying nutritional requirements; hence, their diet should be based on these needs. In this blog, we'll help you specify what your horse's needs are, so you can pick the best type of feed for their optimal health. Finding the proper feed based on their needs takes the guesswork out of supplying them with the appropriate nutrients.
Maintenance Horse Feeds for Easy, Low-Maintenance Feeding
Adult horses that only do a little work, such as companion horses, are considered maintenance horses. Since these horses experience very few physical demands, they mostly have basic nutrient needs. Low-intake feeds are ideal for these horses because they do not need extra energy to maintain weight, while still requiring a source of nutrients not found in typical forage. They do not have to be specialised, highly fortified, or high-protein products since they do not need to gain weight; your regular feed is enough to maintain their well-being.
But when your horse has a problem keeping its weight, it may require more than a kilo of feed daily and you may have to adjust their feed to encourage weight gain for a period. Weight loss or difficulty maintaining weight can also be a sign to speak with your vet as there may be underlying conditions.
Enhanced Nutrition Feeds for Broodmares
Of course, proper nutrition has never been more critical for a horse than it is for broodmares. After all, they'll be eating for two! Hence, when you're feeding them, you should not only be thinking of your broodmare's wellbeing but also of the foal she'll be carrying. Plus, many nutrients support your mare's reproductive health. That's why it's essential to keep your mare in optimum health, so her body is in tip-top condition to bear a foal. A broodmare that is losing weight is less likely to conceive than a mare gaining weight. Thus, sufficient nutrition is an integral part of broodmare feeding management. Pet Station offers horse feeds explicitly formulated for broodmares, breeding stallions, weanlings and yearlings. These feeds support your mares and their foals from conception and gestation to birth and their first few years.
Growth Horse Feeds for Growing Foals
Did you know that a young growing horse will reach 90% of its adult size within the first year of life? During this rapid growth, the foal's body produces new tissues that build bone, tendons, ligaments, muscle and other support structures. That's why it's vital for their diet to supply sufficient nutrients for building all these parts. Thankfully, a mare's milk is a good source of nutrition for the young foal; however, it's essential to feed your broodmare a well-balanced diet to ensure the best milk from your mare.
However, when the foal turns three months old, it will require an increasing amount of solid food. By this time, it may even snatch some food from other horses’ feed bins, including their mother’s. Hence, this is the best time for creep feeding, especially when you want rapid development in your foal. Creep feeding means separating the colt from the mare during feeding time. You will then feed your foal its own specially formulated feed and then return it to its mother after they're done eating.
You can choose from our line of growth horse feeds specially designed for your young, growing foal. These feeds are power-packed as foals have high nutritional needs yet cannot consume large amounts of feed. Growth feeds typically have a higher protein content (16–18%) than adult horse feeds. Some high-quality products even offer a higher protein content with essential amino acids, though the amounts vary.
High-Energy Feeds for Working Horses
Working horses need a special kind of attention to their diet, whether they have a light, moderate or heavy load. This is because the performance demands from your working horse put stress on its body that it wouldn't typically experience if it were out in the field all day. Nevertheless, their energy requirements are heavily influenced by external factors, such as the kind of work, the environment, their condition and the training of the horse, and the rider’s skill. Luckily, we stock a wide range of feeds for different working horses. From easy work and pleasure horses to racing horses that require a large amount of stamina, you'll indeed find the best feed for your horse at Pet Station.
Geriatric Support Feeds for Senior Horses
Ageing takes a toll on your horse's body, just as it does on ours. Naturally, senior horses may stiffen as they grow older, developing arthritis or muscle issues. But what we cannot see so easily is the wear and tear going on inside their digestive tracts. For example, prolonged exposure to parasites can permanently scar the delicate absorptive tissues of their intestines. Apart from that, your horse's digestive tract degenerates as it ages. As a result? Your senior horse's digestive tract gradually loses its ability to absorb nutrients.
Moreover, there's dental deterioration amongst older horses too. Horses' teeth slowly wear down as they eat, and, after a lifetime of eating, your horse may lose the ability to chew food as well as they once did. This will result in food that is not broken down enough for enzymes and microbes to digest, leading to nutrient deficiencies. Hence, older horses should consume feeds that are specially designed according to their nutritional needs and digestive limitations. Good thing, you can find these products at Pet Station! We carry a selection of senior horse feeds that address common geriatric problems to keep your older horses well-nourished and living well into their golden years.
Which Horse Feed Suits Your Horse Best?
Discover a wide range of horse feeds to suit different types of horses. Just remember, not all feeds are the same, just like no two horses are the same. Every kind of feed provides a different degree of nutrition. The right type of feed will improve the health and wellbeing of your horse. But you’re sure to find the perfect feed or combination of feeds at Pet Station. And don’t forget to grab a horse feed bin or two so they can’t eat their food comfortably!