Forage-only Diet for Horses
Diet fads come and go, and that is true for our equine companions. In the last year, returning to their heritage and providing forage-based and forage-only diets increased in popularity with horse owners.
Horses are natural grazers, so it makes sense that they would gravitate toward forage. However, there are definite nutritional requirements and management scenarios to consider before feeding your horse a forage-only diet.
Considerations of a Forage-only Diet for Horses
1. What Kind of Horse are you Feeding?
A forage-only diet for horses could be ideal for those in maintenance. For instance, if you are not riding your horse aggressively, or if your horse isn’t growing or bred, your horse could be an ideal candidate for this diet.
A horse that is ridden daily or used for competition likely requires some extra energy that might be void in the forage. Senior horses that are losing their teeth might not be the best suited for a forage-only diet. They might not be able to chew enough forage to get the required calories they need in a day.
2. Test Your Forage
No matter how lush your hay or pasture looks, you just can’t tell what its nutritional content is. It is vital to get your hay and pasture tested. And not just one cutting of hay or one time. Make sure you test hay from each cutting, or each source tested to know what the nutrient make-up is.
Hay testing is one of the many services that BioZyme provides its customers.
3. Forage is the Foundation
As the name implies, a forage-only diet for horses involves the horse getting its primary nutrients from forage. When this is the case, a horse should eat 1.5-2% of its weight. Therefore, the average 1,000-pound horse, at maintenance, should eat 15 to 20 pounds per day.
If your pastures are lacking in grass or you prefer to feed hay, consider putting it in a slow feeder. This will help mimic the grazing process by allowing you horse to munch on hay throughout the day, aiding in digestive health. It also helps prevent the chances of colic.
While hay cubes and pellets are another way to get forage into the diet, remember that the primary benefit of a forage-only diet is from the long-stem forages. Chewing pasture grasses and long-stem hay is where the primary benefits come from for the forage-only diet.
4. Supplement with Vitalize
As you provide a forage-only diet for your horses, remember this. Forages do not contain any trace minerals. Adequate vitamins might also become a concern since the vitamin content does degrade once the hay is cut and continues to degrade over time.
That is why Vitalize offers supplements for horses with proven solutions to keep your animal healthy and performing.
Vitalize® Equine Free Choice
Vitalize Equine Free Choice is a highly fortified, free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement for horses of all ages and stages while on pasture. It contains AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility. Free Choice is fortified with organic trace minerals and high levels of vitamin E, biotin and B vitamins, and it contains garlic to deter insects.
Vitalize® Equine Protein Pellet
Vitalize Equine Protein Pellet is a pelleted, natural protein supplement for horses, fortified with vitamins and minerals. It contains Amaferm, is fortified with vitamins, minerals, and organic trace minerals and provides 28% natural protein.
Vitalize® Equine High Performance
Vitalize® Equine High Performance is a pelleted supplement highly fortified with vitamins and minerals designed to support the nutritional needs of performance horses. It contains Amaferm, is fortified with vitamins, minerals, and organic trace minerals and contains high levels of calcium help maintain proper gut pH.
Shop for Vitalize Products Today
If you’ve read our blog and are still interested in turning to a forage-only diet for horses, we can help! Best of all, it is easy to purchase Vitalize products. You can buy them buy them online or at a variety of other retail outlets.
Do you prefer to shop locally? You can find the Vitalize dealer nearest you with our dealer locator.
Not sure which product best suits your horse and its needs? Check out our Vitalize Product Navigator.
Are you looking for Vitalize products, but your local feed store doesn’t carry them? You can refer a dealer.
Perhaps you have been thinking about selling a high-quality equine supplement. We know you are passionate about horses. Learn more about how you can become a BioZyme dealer.
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