Every year the market place is filled with new information on how you can get the best out of a feeding program for your horse. For the most part all this does is to create confusion. Every horse lover knows that a horse must be fed properly if it is to achieve its genetic potential. To feed properly means that you must firstly know the requirements of the individual horse. Like we humans each horse is different and must be treated as an individual. What works for one horse will not necessarily work for another. The individual requirements will vary according to each horses breed, age, workload, and availability of GOOD pasture.
It is quite remarkable that horses do so well in spite of well meaning humans. Perhaps the biggest problem for our horses is changing the balance of the feed by adding or subtracting portions of the feed without really understanding what effect it has on the nutritional balance of our horses total diet.
More is not necessarily better and to little is too late for a horse already down in condition. Prior to a more detailed discussion of feed, the horse owner must also come to terms with the fact that for the most part if a horse is well fed it will naturally feel well. Good feed translates to an enhanced state of well-being and or weight gain. Many people get confused between the horse that feels well and needs exercise and the “occasional” horse that becomes “FIZZY” on certain feed rations. Believe it or not, providing that FIBRE, DRY MATTER (DM), and MINERAL/VITAMIN levels are correct it is possible to feed horses a grain based diet that will ensure optimal growth and development and not present with behavioural problems. The “FIZZY” horse is often experiencing hind gut fermentation problems or is being fed a ration which has not been balanced.
Prior to beginning a feed program we need to ascertain how to judge the condition of our horse. A large stomach does not necessarily mean a fat horse. The things to look for when assessing the general health of your horse are:
- Coat condition
- Feet condition
- Top line
- Rib coverage
Mi-Feed produces a range of eleven horse feeds. Each feed is formulated at particular energy and protein levels. This makes it easier to select a feed to meet the work requirements and disposition of your horse. Our feeds are grain based “sweet feeds”. The “MICRONISATION” process used in the manufacture of these feeds has the following benefits:
- Improved digestion
- Improved storage
- Greater feed conversion ( you feed less )
- “COOL” conversion (less heating problems).
In our next article we will explain more on Micronisation and briefly discuss the importance of a correct balance between hard feeding, fibre intake and the role of pasture management.