The question is often asked of me, should I wet my feed?
Did you know that it is very likely that a high percentage of horse owners are actually contributing to poor digestion by giving their horses a wet feed!
So let’s consider the anatomy and physiology of your horse, has it changed at all, well we all know the answer, of course not!
Horses have evolved to eat a high roughage diet; after all if they were in the wild they would not have access to a wet, soggy feed.
The digestive process starts in the mouth. As the food passes through the system it is broken down into a form which can be absorbed and utilised by the body. The horse's sensitive lips with their attendant whiskers are very well adapted to locate, assess, and handle the feed he wishes to eat. The sensitivity, mobility, and power of the lips are extraordinary. The front teeth, together with the lips and tongue, are used to get hold of the food and bring it into the mouth for grinding by the molars, or back teeth. The horse's powerful teeth are a reflection of the coarse grasses he has evolved to eat, which require considerable mastication in order to break down the tough siliceous fibres.
Feeding a wet feed simply does not encourage normal chewing and grinding of feed, in fact it reduces the desire to do so, this is not normal for a horse. Granted, if you own an old horse with poor teeth there is an advantage to feeding a damp feed, but it also needs to be the right type of feed.
Feeding a wet feed can increase the risk of digestive conditions such as Diarrhoea, Ulcers and Colic. Make sure when you feed you horse that you remember these important facts:
- Provide your horse with plenty of roughage in the diet; this can be in the form of hays, which may include legume hay, such as Lucerne.
- Make sure your horse has access to clean fresh water and take note of the quantity your horse is consuming on a daily basis
- If you are feeding a hard feed consider what you are putting in your feed bin? It may be a great time to re-access. Horses require a feed that will encourage a healthy digestive system.
- Make sure you are feeding a feed that is either dry or only slightly damp, bordering on dry.
- The feed I recommend is Johnsons Natural Formula Feeds, these are long stem fibre based feeds that have been steamed and compressed. They are also extremely high quality with none of those by products we see in other feeds. All natural, safe and extremely healthy, these feeds also encourage normal chewing and grinding.
- Using one of Hi Form’s Dailies is a great idea this will support the immune system, healthy skin, coat and hooves and improve health and well being visibly.
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