Developing an individual, nutritious diet for your horse is not always an easy task. Horses, like people are unique unto themselves and require a well-thought out diet to ensure they receive the necessary vitamins and nutrients for their specific dietary needs. though every horse's diet will look somewhat different, there are some feeding practices that benefit all horses regardless of breed or body type. A regular feeding schedule and special attention to parasitic control should be a part of every horse's diet. Just as there are common practices, there are also common mistakes.
Forage is one the most important building blocks for your horse's diet. The majority of a healthy horse's diet should consist of forage, such as pasture and hay. A common misconception is that all forage is created the same. As with any food product, certain types of forage will provide more nutritional value than others. Also, forage products like alfalfa have higher caloric value. Higher quality forage products such as chopped timothy hay or alfalfa hay will have a much nigher nutritional value for your horse.
Don't go overboard on supplements. Depending on medical history and individual dietary needs, it could be beneficial to introduce additional supplements to their diet. In doing this, you can ensure that your horse receives all their daily vitamins and minerals. However, it is possible to feed more supplements than your horse needs. Consuming certain vitamins or minerals in extreme quantities may actually harm your horse's health. Providing unnecessary supplements to your horse can also cause a vitamin or mineral imbalance in your horse's body, as well. Familiarize yourself with the basics of dietary supplements and always consult your vet before introducing additional supplements into your horse's diet.
One of the most common horse feeding mistakes is feed a generic diet to your whole barn. All horses are different and require a specialized diet to meet their individual needs. You have to account for medical needs and/or dietary restrictions, as well as body condition and physical needs. Depending on your horse's body condition and workload, they may need heftier meals on a more regular basis or could benefit from a diet lower in calories. Using the same diet for all horses will cause some horses to be underfed, while others may be overfed. Be sure to look at each horse as an individual and feed each one accordingly to what they require to be healthy.