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Why are you Feeding Your Horse?

Updated: Mar 13

One of the first questions I ask clients is why are you feeding your horse?


Is your horse doing well just on pasture? (This post is about horses that are a good weight on pasture. If your horse is overweight or underweight on pasture then see other posts about that below).


If your horse is a healthy weight on pasture then what is the reason that you are feeding your horse more? A lot of clients are surprised by the question, and have to think about it.






There are excellent reasons, and some that are more to do with habit and convenience. Here are some common ones:


You are feeding your horse because:


1. It will come to you and you can easily change rugs each day, or more easily catch your horse for riding or other husbandry.

2. You enjoy watching your horse eating food.

3. Everyone else is feeding their horse and your horse becomes anxious when all the other horses are being fed.

4. You have read articles/advertorials promoting a particular feed, and you felt compelled by the article and the pictures.

5. There are important vitamins and minerals missing from your pasture, and without supplementary feeding, your horse will show symptoms of deficiencies, like skin inflammation or infections (itch, greasy heel, rain scald), fatigue, girthiness, spookiness, muscle loss, or failure to build muscle, particularly along the topline, bone density loss, big head etc.


All of these are valid reasons, as long as you are conscious of your purpose. I draw it to your attention because you will make different choices about what to feed your horse depending on what you are trying to achieve.


If your reason is 1, 2 or 3, then a small amount of green chaff is generally sufficient. Green chaff is readily available year round, affordable, palatable, high in protein, high in calcium, which is often deficient in pastures like kikuyu, and low in sugar.


If your reason is 4 - is that feed/supplement achieving what it claims to? If no, why are you feeding it? (You would be surprised how many owners answer with "to finish the bag/bucket before the expiry date") If yes, happy days. Consider though - what are the ingredients? Is there a cheaper way to feed those same ingredients? Can you make it yourself?


If your reason is 5 - have you determined which specific vitamins and minerals are deficient in your pasture? Or are you just buying the cheapest/most expensive general mineral supplement with a scatter gun approach, and hoping it will balance out in the end?


We can help you navigate these choices. Most nutrition clients end up spending less on their feed bill overall when they start to feed their horse according to their own individual circumstances and goals, and stop buying feeds/supplements that double up or counteract each other, or are just unnecessary.


Of course this works best face-to-face, because then we can consider a whole range of environmental considerations, but we can also do this via email. The consult fee is refundable if you buy Sound Advice products.




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