Horses are herbivores, and grain is not a suitable feed for them, warns a horse enthusiast with over 20 years of experience. Feeding horses with grain can lead to colic, laminitis, obesity, metabolic disorders, and behavioural issues. Grain is low in fibre and high in starch, which can disrupt the balance of good bacteria in the horse’s gut. Better alternatives include hay and grass, beet pulp, and oil and fat. So, if you want to keep your horse healthy and happy, steer clear of grain and opt for healthier options.
Why Horses Should Not Be Fed Grain: Horse Health and Nutrition
As a horse enthusiast with over 20 years of experience in horse riding, I have seen many horse owners make the mistake of feeding their horses grain. Grain has become a common feed for horses, but it is not the best choice for their health and nutrition. In this article, we will discuss why horses should not be fed grain and what are the better alternatives.
The Downside of Feeding Horses Grain
Grain is a high-carbohydrate feed that is not suitable for horses. Horses are herbivores and their digestive system is designed to break down fibrous material such as hay and grass. When horses consume grain, it can cause a range of health problems such as:
- Metabolic disorders
- Behavioral issues
Grain is also low in fiber and high in starch, which can lead to digestive upset and disrupt the balance of good bacteria in the horse’s gut. This can result in colic, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
Alternatives to Feeding Horses Grain
There are better alternatives to feeding horses grain that can provide them with the nutrition they need without the negative side effects. Here are some of the best options:
Hay and Grass
Hay and grass are the most natural and healthy feed for horses. They are high in fiber and low in starch, which makes them ideal for the horse’s digestive system. Horses should have access to hay or grass at all times, and the type of hay or grass should be chosen based on the horse’s age, weight, and activity level.
Beet pulp is a byproduct of sugar beet processing and is an excellent source of fiber for horses. It is low in starch and high in digestible fiber, which makes it a great alternative to grain. Beet pulp can be fed as a supplement to hay or grass, and it is also a good source of energy for horses that need extra calories.
Oil and Fat
Oil and fat are a great source of energy for horses and can be used as a supplement to hay or grass. Vegetable oil, flaxseed oil, and rice bran oil are all good options. Fat is also important for the horse’s coat and skin health.
Feeding horses grain is a common mistake that can lead to a range of health problems. Grain is not suitable for horses, and there are better alternatives that can provide them with the nutrition they need without the negative side effects. Hay and grass, beet pulp, and oil and fat are all great options that can help keep your horse healthy and happy.
As a horse enthusiast, I urge all horse owners to reconsider feeding their horses grain and to choose healthier alternatives that will promote their horse’s health and well-being.
References for “Why Horses Should Not Be Fed Grain”
- The Horse: Grain-Free Diets for Horses
- Equisearch: Grain-Free Diets for Horses
- Horse Journals: Grain-Free Diets for Horses
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effects of a high-grain diet on the horse’s gastrointestinal tract and microbiota
- Purina Horse Feed Blog: Grain-Free Diets for Horses
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