Wild horses forage over miles of territory for different plants and grasses to satisfy their nutritional needs. Our domestic horses require the exact same groceries! They rely on the diet we provide them to mirror their wild cousins'.
Good quality hay is the cornerstone of equine nutrition. Grass blends that are lower in sugar such as Brome, Timothy, Orchard Grass, and other breeds that are truly native to your area are suitable for most horses. Hay testing for nutrient content each season is more insightful than looking for hay that is green and smells clean. Agri Analyse is a source for testing your hay prior to developing a custom supplement program. 24/7 access to good quality hay supports a healthy digestive system that is designed to have small amounts of forage passing through constantly.
Pasture provides a variety of nutrients to horses who can safely metabolize the ever-changing sugar levels of live grass. Healthy, mature grass will have lower sugar content than grass that is overgrazed or fighting drought. Avoid turning horses out on pasture during drought and temperatures less than 5 C, when sugars are typically high. Similar to hay crops, the best pastures have been seeded with blends of grasses, with few legumes (ie. 8%-10% alfalfa) only to add protein to the diet.
Supplements are offered to balance the nutrient content of forage whether hay or pasture. Nutrients such as Selenium, Zinc, Biotin, Sulfur, and Silica are just a few of the important building blocks for a good hoof supplement. Specific herbs and nutrients can also contribute to optimal digestive health, inflammation reduction, and healing. Adding supplemental fibre such as soaked non GMO beet pulp and hay cubes to the diet can help regulate weight. Check out my nutrition page OnTotalWellness