If horses live in the wild, they will feed on pastures only. Similarly, owners are typically recommended to offer their equine pets only forage including pasture and hay. However, this diet may not give your pet all the energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals which it requires. This is where horse feed comes into play.
There are many products to pick from so shopping can be overwhelming. You will certainly benefit from the following advice. It will help you to make the best choice.
Define your requirements precisely.
There are four major factors which you have to consider when selecting horse feed. The first one is the age of your equine pet. If it is younger than two years of age, you will need a specially formulated product which contains around 15% protein. If you have a senior horse, it will require special feed as well.
You have to take into account the activity level of your pet as well. More active equines require more carbohydrates for energy and extra protein which will keep their muscles, tendons and joints in optimal condition. These animals often require special vitamin and mineral supplementation as well.
If your horse has any medical conditions, you should get recommendations on its diet from your vet. The more precise these are the better. The final factor is the forage which you give to your pet. The feed must complement it nutritionally. Furthermore, if your pet cannot get forage for some reason, you need to look for a product which will replace it completely.
Check the ingredients and make.
You would want to get horse feed which contains only small amounts of sugar and molasses. The amount of oats should be moderate. The same applies to starchy ingredients as well. Some of the healthiest ingredients to look for include soybean meal, beet pulp and alfalfa meal.
It is best to go for a product which has a fixed formula and does not use any ingredients in proprietary amounts. Additionally, you should check the source of the ingredients. This is important because the ingredients sourced from different areas can have slight nutritional differences.
Go over the nutrition table carefully.
You have to check the concentration of crude protein, fibre and fat plus the levels of calcium, phosphorous and salt. Pay attention to the concentrations of any other nutrients listed on the label. You have to ensure that these match the diet requirements which your equine pet has.
You are now ready to go shopping for horse feed.