Giving your horse the proper diet with all the essential nutrients they need is key to having a healthy, happy equine companion. But diet isn’t the only factor to keep in mind when striving for a healthy horse. A great way to make sure your horse is getting everything they need is to take a holistic approach!
In this blog, you will learn how to think holistically when it comes to not only your horse’s diet, but their lifestyle to improve their life!
What does Holistic mean?
Holism is when you look at the whole picture and see every part of your horse’s health and life as interconnected. When embarking on a holistic approach, keep in mind your horse’s anatomy, physiology, exercise and mental health when coming up with a holistic nutrition and lifestyle plan that is right for your horse. When you focus on the bigger picture and work towards improving every area of your horse’s life is when you will see results.
A Horses Digestive System
Before going over the best holistic diet plan for your horse, it’s important to understand their digestive system. Horses have small stomachs for their size because they have evolved to eat small meals continuously throughout the day. Their systems are designed to graze and travel. When turned out to paddock or in the wild, horses can graze for 17 hours a day!
This is why you should look at your horse’s lifestyle when it comes to their health. You could be physically and mentally stressing out your horse if they are kept in a stall or dry pen and don’t have access to forage for extended periods of time.
Forage or Grain? And how much?
When deciding how much forage or grain to give your horse, take into consideration your horse’s anatomy. Based on their digestive systems, horses ideally should be turned out on grass 24/7. If this isn’t possible for you, a good rule of thumb is to have your horse’s diet be 80% high-quality hay (forage) and 20% grain.
Since horses have small stomachs, ensure that they don’t eat too much too fast by getting a hay net or slow feeder. When feeding grain, you should break their meals up into three or more smaller feedings in a day because their stomachs can’t handle more than 4lbs of grain at a time.
Some horses do better on a grain-free diet because grain feed can be inflammatory to a horse’s system. So, if you’re doing everything you can and your horse’s health isn’t improving, going grain-free could be the answer.
Want to learn more about how holistic nutrition can improve your horse’s health? Take Holistic Animal Studies’ Equine Holistic Nutrition certification course! In this course, you will dive deeper into the right nutrition plan, supplements and lifestyle changes you need to make to have a healthy, happy horse! Sign-up for our Equine Holistic Nutrition certification course today!