Wondering where to start when it comes to nutrition? Stateline Tack has an introductory guide on their website with some good basic advice . . . and many links to other resources: Guide to Proper Horse Nutrition.
From my perspective, the most important elements of any feeding program are:
- Make forage the core of your horse’s diet. Long stem forage (hay, hay cubes, beet pulp, chopped hay) provides the roughage your horse needs to keep its digestive tract working properly.
- If your horse needs more calories, consider adding grain. Most horses do better on a low starch diet (low in sugar) and that means avoiding sweet feeds.
- Make sure your horse’s nutritional needs are met. If you are feeding only hay (and some horses get enough calories from hay), make sure you do a nutritional analysis so you know that your horse’s vitamin and mineral needs are covered. In many parts of the country, hay is deficient in some vitamins and you need to provide them using a vitamin mineral supplement, a ration balancer, or a complete grain.
- Provide plenty of fresh, clean water.