Horses are meant to roam free. They are social animals and would prefer to be with fellow horses. This is the reason horse owners will need to have a large open space if they want to keep horses. Now, horses tend to be excitable. That being the case, it can be quite challenging when it comes to feeding time. So how should you handle this?
Roughage Is Important
The bulk of a horse’s diet should be made up of roughage. Horses are generally herbivores and have the capacity to break down fiber and turn it into energy. Although they can be given grains, roughage is more recommended since it contains most of the essential nutrients needed by your equine friend: water, protein, fat, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Roughage can generally be categorized into two forms: legumes and grasses. Legumes are a good source of protein and mineral compared to grasses. If the roughage is composed of both legumes and grasses, this is what is considered as pasture, the most common form of forage. If the roughage is made up of grass only, this is what more people refer to as hay. If you are to feed your horses with hay, a cost-effective way to do this will be to use bale feeders that farming companies in New Zealand can provide. This will allow you to save as much as 20% to 30% on waste.
One thing to keep in mind, though, if you need to change the amount of food that you are giving your horses, you need to make sure that you decrease and increase the meal by 25% every two days.
Be Careful of the Order
As with any social animal, herds of horses also have some sort of order. You will have a leader and a low man. This order will be more visible during feeding time. The problem here is that the leader would eat more food than the lower members of the herd.
The best way to handle this and ensure that everyone gets the same amount of food is to have a fence-line feeder. This would allow each of the horse to have their own space. You can then fill each feeder with the same amount of hay.
While you’re at it, you can also train the lead horse to keep to feeders that are meant for the horse. Just make sure that you keep away the lowest member of the herd from the leader horse. The leader horse might bully your lowest-ranking horse, keeping the latter from being able to eat properly.
Stick to a Routine
Horses are good with keeping to a routine so much so that if you suddenly change their schedule, they can develop colic. That being the case, you need to make sure that you feed your horses on a fixed schedule. As much as possible, your schedule should not be immediately before or after an exercise to prevent them from developing colic. Now, in some cases, you might need to change the schedule of your feeding. When this happens, you need to make slight changes every single day to allow the horses to ease into the new schedule.