So what can Horses Eat? Well horses will eat just about anything that you put in front of them and will continue to eat until all their available food is gone. However, because they are herbivores, they have specific dietary requirements to keep their digestive systems working smoothly. So, what can horses eat? First, they need a diet rich in fiber. Also, because of their willingness to continue eating, they should be fed smaller portions of food at a time that should be eaten over a long duration. The following is a list of the recommended items that should be included in a horse’s basic diet.
The most important component of a horse’s diet should be fresh grass. This would comprise most of the horse’s diet in the wild and is therefore the best choice for a domestic horse’s diet. It contains the majority of a horse’s required nutrition and also contains silica, which is healthy for their teeth. It is best to give them small amounts of fresh grass over time or be sure to limit their time in a lush pasture.
If you do not have access to fresh grass, hay should be the largest component of your horse’s diet. Make sure that the hay is fresh and that it has not molded or gone stale. You should also have the hay tested to be sure that it is providing your horse with the right vitamins and minerals necessary for their health. As with grass, small amounts of hay over time rather than constant access to hay is better for your horse.
Oats, in limited quantities, are also a good addition to your horse’s diet. Oats are the best grains for your horse. You can also feed them corn in small quantities, but wheat should be avoided entirely. You should not feed them processed grains. Cooked, rolled, or crushed oats are much easier for your horse to digest. Grains, such as oats, should be given to your horse in limited quantities because they have less nutritional value than grass and can lead to problems such as colic if eaten too much.
These mixes usually consist of items such as grains, molasses, flax seed, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes other ingredients. Do not feed them mixes with brans, including wheat and rice bran. Such concentrate mixes provide your horse with good energy and are good vitamin and mineral supplements for their diet. However, an excess of vitamins and minerals may be detrimental to your horse. Therefore, before adding these mixes to your horse’s diet, you should first be sure that your horse is not getting the proper nutrition from other sources. If they are already receiving the proper amount of vitamins and minerals, these supplemental mixes may not even be needed at all. However, concentrate mixes are particularly good for working horses, nursing mares, and pregnant mares, which may require extra vitamins and minerals.
Salt and Minerals
Sodium is a vital part of a horse’s diet. Some concentrate mixes already include salt, or you can provide a salt block so that horses can access it anytime of day. Also, be aware that some horses will consume less salt in the winter than they will in the summer.
You can also supplement their diet with treats. Treats can include fruits, vegetables, grains, and even sugar cubes. However, treats should be given sparingly and in small quantities, especially if they are high in sugar like fruits. Treats such as meat, eggs, and other dairy products should not be given because horses cannot process them as well as they can process plant foods. So, what fruits and vegetables can horses eat? Please see the other articles on this website for a list of recommended fruits and vegetables that can be included as treats in your horse’s diet.