There are a wide variety of concentrated food sources. These include commercial mixes, which can be
loose or processed into pellets, and grains. Commercial mixes provide a balance
of nutrients which your own mixture is unlikely to do. All concentrates are
unnatural to the horse, but provide energy as well as variety. You should never
“eyeball” or guess how much feed to give your horse. Don’t go “by the scoop”,
because different feeds weigh different amounts. Many also vary in terms of volume
per unit weight from batch to batch.
- Alfalfa pellets – Even in its dried form, alfalfa contains sufficient concentrations of the vitamins and minerals found in grass. It is especially valuable for its calcium and fiber content.
- Barley – This is often underrated, but has high energy content. Always be aware when feeding this to your horse(s), because even a small change in the amount fed can have significant nutritional consequences.
- Beet pulp – Beet pulp is a valuable feed, rich in energy and protein. It is dried and must be soaked before feeding. Soak the beet pulp for about 12 hours in sufficient cold water so that at the end of the time lapse, there is still some water that has not been absorbed.
- Beet cubes – Like beet pulp, cubes expand rapidly on contact with moisture, such as saliva. It is necessary that it is soaked because the expansion can cause choking and colic.
- Bran – Use bran as a bulk food, not as a source of nutrition. It is not good for growing horses because it contains too much phosphorus and not enough calcium.
- Coarse mix – This looks more appetizing than pellets; it also helps digestion because it takes longer to eat. It comes in different grades.
- Flaked corn – Corn is often processed further by food companies to make it “non-heating” (not responsible for making a horse excitable). The nutritional concentration is intentionally lowered so that it provides less energy.
- Linseed – Uncooked linseed is poisonous; it must be boiled for many hours until the seeds have split. It is a laxative, and will help produce a shiny coat.
- Oats – The popularity of oats is mostly due to the fact that careless changes to the quantity fed make little nutritional difference because it has a low energy content and is not a natural food for horses.
- Pellets – There are different pellets to suit different horses, such as “horse and pony” or “racehorse.” Be sure that you buy the correct kind for your horse.
Supplements act as additives to a horse’s normal diet and
Roots and Fruits – Carrots and apples are among the top-ranking healthy treats for horses. Carrots may be fed in large quantities, but do not have great nutritional value. They should be cut lengthwise. Square or round pieces can get stuck in the throat and cause choking.
- Cod-liver oil – This is a vitamin-rich source that can be mixed with food to help condition the coat.
- Molasses – A palatable supplement, this is a useful binding agent that can be added to dry or dusty food. It can also be mixed with medicines and put directly into the horse’s mouth.
- Corn oil – Oils are a rich source of energy. They can be added to the diet of competition horses that might be unable to eat enough food to facilitate their energy needs.
- Salt – A salt lick is the bet way to incorporate salt into a horse’s diet. It provides convenience and availability.
Foods should be kept in a metal or plastic bin to protect
them from insects and rodents, as well as your horse. For the sake of quality,
never buy more than two to three week’s supply at a time because it will deteriorate,
especially if the weather is hot or humid. Empty the bin completely before
adding more food or you will just mix stale food with the new food.