For your horse to grow and achieve an optimal performance, it needs a healthy and balanced food. The right balanced food is classified in different categories like energy, fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins. The energetic needs of the horse vary depending not only on its weight, temper and efforts done but also on its life conditions.
The main food source of the horse is the starch from the cereals and the cellulose from the fodder that contains sugars as well as fat.
The fibers, the horse takes from the fodder, are responsible for its intestinal transit, stimulate the cell growth and optimize mastication so the horse’s teeth remain healthy.
Minerals are indispensable to the body. Calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine and selenium are responsible for setting the pace for the horse’s basic functions. This is why you must pay attention to the intake of these elements which must cover 1,5 to 2% from the daily food ration.
Horse is very picky so far water is concerned. The water must be fresh, clear and odorless. The ideal temperature is between 8 and 14 Celsius degrees, this being very important because if water is too cold the horse can get cramps. On an average scale the horse can drink 20 to 40 liters of water daily; and in case of effort or during heat the quantity can rise to 50 liters/day.
The competition horse needs a fodder rich in fat, fibers and energy. The food must be carefully monitored in the periods of training because the quantity of food must be compliant with the amount of effort.
Horse has favorites as food goes and whey, maize, soy, corn, alfalfa and beetroot are a common presence. The carrots are a bonus any horse loves but the quantity must not go over 2 kg/day because a higher quantity can have a laxative effect.
A horse’s stomach is rather small compared with its size; so it cannot take more than 15 liters. This is why the feeding must be divided in rations. Also it is better for the horse to drink water before eating, else the fodder can cause bloating and cramps.
The feeding can be separated in two stages – morning and evening. If an exercise or competition follows, the feeding must take place two hours before it.
As a conclusion, you must know that the horse always uses the food you gave it the day before, not the one that it just ate.