Ten Common Horse Feeding Errors

The majority of like feeding their animals. It's entertaining to see your horse eat and run to you when it sees you with the feed bucket. When calculating your horse's food requirements, though, it's simple to make a mistake. Avoid making these 10 typical feeding errors.

  • 01 of 10


    Horses eating hay in country field in the winter

    As horse owners, we normally appreciate taking care of our animals, which includes feeding them the best feed available. It's easy, though, to go overboard with the feed. Overfeeding can cause obesity in horses, including equine metabolic syndrome, as well as laminitis. You may be in risk of overfeeding your horse if you find yourself becoming a master chef for a horse that has no exceptional or specific feeding requirements. Most horses require simply a simple diet of adequate pasture or hay, and supplements or concentrates are only required when there is a nutritional deficiency. There's no need to spend time preparing bran mashes, chopping vegetables, or preparing complicated meals. Having your hay analyzed is a smart idea since it may help you figure out what vitamins your horse needs.

    Young horses are especially vulnerable to overfeeding. While it may be appealing to keep your weanling or yearling fat, excessive development can lead to joint deformities. Slow, steady growth, frequent parasite control drugs, and plenty of exercise can help your child stay slim and fit.

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    With elderly horses and horses who work hard, underfeeding can be an issue. While hardworking horses should appear slender, they should not appear haggard. If or pasture alone aren't enough to maintain your working horse in excellent shape, concentrates can help. Keep in mind, though, that grass or should make up the majority of your horse's diet. Colic can be caused by underfeeding or pasture and overfeeding and concentrates.

    Senior horses lose the ability to digest food efficiently and may need a little extra help in the form of supplements and concentrates. Look for feeds specially developed for senior horses.​

  • 03 of 10

    Inadequate Pasture Grass


    It's easy to mistake a field for lush and green when viewed from afar. However, a deeper look may indicate that your pasture is being overrun by unwanted weeds. This means horses will have to work harder to locate enough food, and they may begin to eat weeds, which are less nutritious and occasionally hazardous. Maintain your pasture so that your horses may graze comfortably.

  • 04 of 10

    Poor Hay


    It might be tough to buy hay, but it is well worth the effort since substandard hay can create a variety of issues. Hay might be low in nutrients. Some hays are toxic to horses and can lead to colic. Your horse's lungs and overall health might be harmed by dusty, moldy hay.

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  • 05 of 10

    Calculating by Volume Not Weight


    It's critical to feed hay and by weight rather than volume. Although estimating the weight of hay your horse consumes from a circular bale will be challenging, you may estimate the weight of hay your horse eats from tiny square bales. What is the significance of this? For each meal, owners usually throw a 'few flakes' of hay to their horses. However, not all little squares are created equal.

    It's also crucial to weigh grain concentrations. The scoop approach is used by most caregivers. Horse feed manufacturers, on the other hand, encourage feeding by weight and calculate appropriate quantities based on body weight. You may be under- or over-feeding your horse if you only go by sight. Weigh the portions at least once to determine the recommended quantity for your horse, and then mark your scoop to ensure you're providing the same amount every time.

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    At best, over-supplementing is throwing your money away. At worst, over-supplementing can cause mineral or vitamin imbalances.


    Some vitamins and minerals can be toxic when consumed in large quantities.

    Have your hay tested and the components of your concentrates checked before adding vitamin or mineral supplements.

  • 07 of 10

    Ignoring Parasite Control


    Internal parasites compete with your horse for the same food. A regular deworming treatment can help your horse get rid of parasites that can steal nutrition and injure his internal organs.

  • 08 of 10

    Ignoring Dental Issues


    While aren't strictly a dietary issue, if your horse can't chew correctly, it won't be able to obtain all of the nourishment it requires. This is particularly prevalent in elderly horses with missing or loose teeth. The teeth of mature horses can acquire hooks and sharp edges, making chewing uncomfortable. Dental hygiene is essential.

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  • 09 of 10

    Not Providing Adequate Water


    Your horse's health depends on you providing clean, abundant water. If your horse, especially one who only has access to hay, does not keep sufficiently hydrated, impaction colic can develop. In the winter, extremely cold can deter horses from drinking, which is why impaction colic is so prevalent. A trough warmer or a half bucket of hot mixed with cold is a fantastic technique to keep your horse from drinking extremely cold water.

  • 10 of 10

    Not Providing Salt


    Salt is necessary to keep your horse's electrolyte balance in check. Some horse owners use loose salt in their feed. Make sure not to over-salt. With a salt block in their stall or paddock, most horses can self-regulate.