Are you feeding your horse like a cow!
We agree the cow horse is a funny photograph?
But there is a serious meaning behind those horns........Your horse, and his behaviour is seriously affected by what he or she eats, and just like people are being plagued by illness and obesity etc.... through eating unnatural
products and all to excess, our horses diets are all over the place too....and whilst equine nutrition seems to be an intensely complex subject, my aim within this article is to cover the basics........and the best method of feeding horses that I have experienced for success is to feed our horses a all-round more natural diet, which a basically means to try to copy the diet that our horse would naturally eat if s/he was in the wild .............and not feed him or her like most people do-LIKE A COW!!!!!
In the wild horses graze predominantly on brown-top tussock grasses, as they have evolved to do.....just take a look at those massive grindstone molar teeth and its pretty obvious they weren't
meant to eat delicate green grass all day that's for sure. They were designed to browse on lots of various grasses as well as trees, leaves, herbs and other fauna for most of the time, and not to live off green lush pastures like we confine them to do so within their domestic environment.
So by providing a broad mixture of different grasses (NOT GREEN RYEGRASS), hays and herbage in their domestic foodstuffs, while limited green grass, without the need for grains or sugars, including letting your horse or pony eat their feed from the ground, or from one of our safe SLOW FEEDING HAY NETS either hung low or on the ground as shown here, you are adding years to your horses life as it's better for the horses digestion to trickle feed this way on the right diet rather than pigging out of green-grass lollies all day.
We need to try to remember that Equidae is one of the most successful prey species throughout history and s/he as been eating like this for millions of years so why change that now?
And by feeding our domestic horses very differently to their wild relatives we risk many unnecessary illnesses and ailments including:
Crumbly and poor quality hooves
Toxicosis & Staggers
Mineral deficiencies and excesses
It is a very rare situation for a wild horse to get colic, yet unfortunately thousands of domesticated horses die every year from this, and the facts are that sadly most of these deaths could be prevented if we could offer our herd a more natural lifestyle.
I challenge anyone to just look at how many kilograms of pre-packages food pellets that the manufacturers encourage to give to their horses to see how messed up our domestic horses diets can actually be....these ridiculous packets tell me to feed 8kg per day of pre packaged pellets to my 950 kg draft horse and I actually only give him about 500-750 grams with his chaffs etc so be very careful about not to fall for some of the marketing nonsense...... For Help see the next page in the index for our feeding guide....
Another shocker for horse lovers is that Green Grass Pasture, especially the Ryegrass variety within New Zealand, is full of hard to digest sugars (fructans) and these types of sugars can be lethal for our horses, creating many problems including Behavioural Issues for our Equine friends, as they don't need all those sugars and their bodies can't cope with it so it heightens their behaviour, plus it creates Metabolic Issues like Laminitis, in addition to Toxicosis from eating Mycotoxins from ryegrass, which can all be fatal (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON GRASS TOXINS AND THE EFFECTS ON OUR HORSES).
This is because NZ grass pastures are not native to this climate, and were mostly genetically modified and artificially developed to fatten up cows and sheep, as modern farming needs grew.........and our wet and warm climate is just too good at the production of all that lush green grass. Horses were just never designed to eat lush green sugary, toxic grass ALL DAY, EVERY DAY..........
So in order to achieve the best health for our Equines, we need to reduce grass intake by offering a much more NATURAL DIET. One way to do this is to consider tracked grazing, -see our page on this-complete with a low energy diet for our horses, along with the correct intake of fibres with A BALANCE OF ORGANIC MINERALS (NOT JUST MAGNESIUM OR SELENIUM EITHER) added to supplement the lack of ESSENTIAL MISSING MINERALS that our horses miss due to our depleted soil no longer being able to provide this for them.......and it's this type of diet that will give you a much happier and healthier , and also calmer horse or pony -with a lot longer life. Interestingly the foundation of all SUCCESSFUL BAREFOOT HORSES is also based on the horses diet as horses find it very hard to grow a strong healthy hoof with too much sugar in their diet-so regular exercise and movement,
with no grains and not too much sugary grass is the key for good feet too.
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