To call horses high-maintenance animals would be an understatement. Not only can horses live up to thrice as long as most domesticated animals, they can also cost a small fortune to feed and maintain. Still, if you have the time, energy and financial resources to take care of a horse, horse ownership can be fun and highly rewarding. If you’ve never taken care of a horse, you’re liable to go through an adjustment period – especially when it comes to feeding. As you’ll find, feeding a horse is very different from feeding traditional pets and farm animals. However, provided you take the following pointers to heart, you should have an easy time of the feeding process.
1. Serve Your Horse Multiple Meals throughout the Day
Giving your horse a large serving of food once each day will lead to boredom and restlessness in the animal. After the horse quickly finishes its food, it will be left with nothing to do, resulting in lethargy and, in some cases, destructive behavior. Since horses are grazing animals, it’s important that they consistently have food at their disposal. As such, it’s strongly recommended that you split your horse’s daily meal into two or three smaller meals.
2. Avoid Feeding Immediately Before or After Strenuous Physical Activity
After your horse has finished a meal, you should wait one to three hours before riding it or having it engage in strenuous physical activity. Additionally, you should avoid feeding it immediately after it’s exercised or been ridden. When a horse’s digestive system is full, its lungs have less room to work, which can make physical activity very painful. Coupled with purchasing comprehensive horse insurance, putting this feeding tip to good use can go a long way in ensuring the physical well being of your horse.
3. Enact Changes Gradually
If circumstances dictate that you make changes to your horse’s feeding routine – i.e., the amount of food it’s given or when feedings take place – it’s imperative that you enact these changes gradually. Sudden changes to an established feeding routine can result in colic, founder and general unhappiness in your animal.
As many first-time horse owners quickly discover, caring for these animals requires a tremendous amount of time, energy and patience. This is particularly true when it comes to feeding. To ensure that your horse remains happy, happy and well-fed, remember to serve it multiple meals throughout the day, avoiding feeding it immediately before or after strenuous activity and enact any changes in its established feeding routine gradually.