Feeding and Maintenance

Horses are browsers and may nibble away for up to 12 hours per day. A horse’s digestion set up is not like a cow that has 2 stomachs. Put simply: neddy has a very long tube which leads to a small stomach pouch and this makes horses vulnerable to blockages (that is colic) and other problems. When changing horses’ feed it should be done gradually. Particular care is needed in choosing a diet for your animal. The feed ration should be a balance of roughage or fiber, and proteins or concentrates. The roughage is pasture, hay, chaff and bran. The proteins of the feed ration are the grains, meals, fats, pellets, molasses etc.

A good general rule is that for every “dipper “ of grain or pellets add 3 to 4 dippers of chaff. If you’re looking to put condition on the horse increase the amount of feed given don’t change the blend. Because of the way the gut is set up neddy will benefit more from frequent small feeds than a huge bucketful in one hit. Don’t forget that conditioning a horse comes from both feed & work and that exercising your horse is a vital part of building him up.

If neddy is totally dependent on you for food; that is no food in the paddock…. then you will probably need to feed twice per day. Generally grass hay will do the trick with an occasional hard feed depending on work requirements & condition.

Lucerne and clover are not grasses but legumes; they are high in proteins and overfeeding of these can lead to goiter stringhalt, skin conditions and excessive nervousness just to name a few.

Other things to bear in mind are:

  • Give adequate time and peace to eat.
  • Feed bins should be well sealed and kept in a dry place
  • Avoid dusty, moldy or contaminated feed.
  • Never give lawn clippings or plant trimmings.
  • Horses must have access to clean cool drinking water at all times which should be checked daily in hot weather.
  • The feed should be dampened to avoid inhaling dust, this also helps your horse to chew and swallow, and your horse will be less likely to waste the feed.

With all the fancy stuff available in store you would be surprised to see the feed rooms of some of our top competitors. Not many flash products here…. just basic rations of chaff & hay with grain and pellets very much a minor component. Without adequate trace elements in the body a horse is unable to absorb nutrients in the feed properly. Additives in the feed such as Kelp and dolomite will help keep your horse minerally balanced. Horses that are lacking trace minerals are often fed upto 4 times as much food for the same result.

Time & time again we see people spending heaps of $ on bags of feed\pellets in order to condition their animal. Most of the time this tucker is going straight through & neddy gets very little value for all that expense. If you have one of these horses (thoroughbreds are particular bad for this) then slow down a minute; don’t worry what others are telling you, & lets start at the start.

Nutritional requirements are influenced by: body size, weight, age and the amount of exercise your horse gets. Each horse is an individual and his or her ability to utilize the ration of feed may vary.

Teeth and worms should always be considered if your horse is losing condition.