Many people are investing a large amount of money in their horse or horses for racing or riding. They would like to ensure that their horses are healthy and live for a longer period of time. Like other animals, having the right diet is essential for the horse if it has to remain healthy. Horse owners, especially those who are owning a horse for the first time would like to find out what makes good horse feed . The right horse feed depends to a large extent, on where the horse is being kept, whether it is kept in a rural area with land or in an urban area, and weather conditions
The horse has a large digestive system which is suitable for a high fiber diet. So the horse food should eat small meals regularly. In the wild horses spend more of their waking hours eating. In the wild the horses are eating the pasture grass and the tender plants depending on available. So if the horse owner owns land where grass and plants grow naturally, he can leave his horse free in the property, so that the horse can eat whatever is available. The pasture contains most of the nutrients which the horse will require for remaining healthy especially silica found in grass. The horse should be introduced to pasture gradually to avoid problems.
Often the horse owner does not own land, or the horse is kept in urban/semi-urban areas, where the horse does not have access to pasture. During winter, the grass is also not available. In these cases, the horse can be fed with hay. There are different types of hay which vary in the nutrients, price and availability. Alfafa hay is rich in nutrients but may not be easily available. Grass hay is easily available, but varies in the nutrients. Hence it is advisable to test the grass hay for nutrients, and then supplement it with feed additives, especially if it does not contain minerals and vitamins.
Some grains like oats can be fed to the horse. Corn is also fed in small quantities. In nature, the horses are eating the seeds of grasses, seed heads which are smaller in size. Some grains like wheat should not be fed to the horse since they cause ulcers and dental problems. Meat and sweet items including fruits should not be fed to the horses in larger quantities. Many horse owners prefer to feed their horses concentrate mixes, which combine grains, molasses, beet, flaxseeds and other ingredients, so that the horse gets the minerals, fiber, energy and vitamins.