Equine Nutrition

WHY ARE WE SO CONFUSED ABOUT FEEDING OUR HORSES WHEN IT SHOULD JUST BE A SIMPLE NON COMPLICATED PROCESS?

WHY ARE WE SO CONFUSED ABOUT FEEDING OUR HORSES WHEN IT SHOULD JUST BE A SIMPLE NON COMPLICATED PROCESS?
Grinding, Popping, Rolling, Cracking, Crushing, Steamed, Micronizing, Roasting, so many choices, all seem to be just a continual cause of frustration for horse owners. So let’s look at the common sense approach. Has the anatomy and physiology of the horse changed? The answer of course is no, horses have evolved to eat only one way. Feeding a natural diet such as Johnsons Natural Formula feeds, Hays and your favourite Hi Form daily will ensure long term health and wellbeing.

How do horses chew?

Horses use their upper lip to take hold of blades of grass, hay or hard feed; the horses tongue is used adjust the sharp edges of the feed as they enter into the mouth; and his incisor teeth to nip them off.

The horse then uses his tongue to grasp the clump of food against the cheek teeth on one side. The horse's chewing action is normally not up-and-down, but outside-to-inside on a slant determined by the slant of the matching surfaces of the upper and lower cheek teeth.

Continual chews work the mass into a spiralling, tube-shaped clump. The feed is chopped more finely as they work their way down the cheek battery from front to rear, and are then swallowed.

Chewing action thoroughly mixes the feed with saliva, and begins the enzymatic action, which is the first digestive juice. (It's important not to forget that the oral cavity is the first point of contact with the feed and of the horse's digestive system). After chewing and swallowing a segment of one "tube-shape," the horse lowers its head to bite off another group of blades of grass, hay etc. The next mouthful may be chewed on either the right or left side, but horses can chew on only one side of the mouth at a time. A normal horse distributes the effort evenly.



Should you feed a wet feed?

Feeding a wet feed is not recommended as this does not encourage normal chewing and grinding of the feed, hence when it reaches the hind gut for fermentation it is not fully digested. Undigested feed will create digestive upsets, such as Diarrhea, ulcers and even gassiness in horses. Horses not fed sufficient roughage will also be prone to these types of digestive issues and even colic. Make sure you avoid turning your horses feed into soup, always ensure your horse’s feed is dry if no supplements are added and only damp when adding supplements. This way you will encourage your horse to chew correctly, he or she will then digest the feed in the normal way and he or she will thank you for it, because in the long run the health and well being will improve dramatically.

REMEMBER NUTRITION IS THE KEY TO A HEALTHY BODY.