Feeding

A horse can’t go to a restaurant or order a pizza. Unless a horse is wild, it depends on its owner for food. This is a big job, because horses love to eat. And eat. And eat. A horse that weighs 1,000 pounds will eat 25 pounds of hay and grain a day. The average kid eats around 2 to 3 pounds of food a day. Of course, he will also need to wash it down. A horse will normally drink 10-15 gallons of water a day.

Jack says:

Every horse needs at least two gallons of water close by at all times.  When horses get thirsty, they can get very thirsty.

Just like humans, horses need a balanced diet. A healthy horse diet includes forage or roughage, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.

Grace says:

Roughage is food that contains fiber. The fiber helps you digest by pushing the rest of the food through your system.  Foods with fiber that you might eat are broccoli, carrots, and apples.

There are many kinds of roughage a horse likes to eat. The three most common are: grass, hay and oats. Alfalfa is another favorite meal of most horses. It is loaded with protein and calcium that help keep their coats shiny. Grain is also an important part of a horse’s diet. But just like people, too much grain can make a horse gain weight.

Saddle Smarts:

Question: When should I feed my horse? 

Answer: Feeding your horse the same time every day helps your horse get the most out of his food.  Most horses are fed two times a day unless they are out in a pasture most of the time.

Don’t forget the salt. Horses need salt in their diet. Since horses can’t use a saltshaker, they need a salt lick. A salt lick is a big block of salt that makes it easy for horses to add this important mineral to their diet.

Anna says:

Should a horse’s stomach regularly make gurgling noises? Yes! That’s how you can tell it is digesting properly.