Feeding your horse on a budget

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Horses aren't cheap to keep, and one of the big expenses is their feed. But it is possible to have the horse you want and feed it without going into your overdraft.

Does your horse really need feed?

Of course your horse needs to eat, but the diet of domestic horse is made up of various things including grass, hay, sugarbeet mixtures, grain, oats, barley, pellets and mineral and vitamin supplements. Your individual horse's dietary needs depend on the breed of horse, its condition and what you want to do with your horse.

For example, a stocky good doer that is primarily a pleasure family horse used for lessons and hacking might do very well on just grazing and hay with the odd salt lick. But a show, competition or working horse, one that finds it hard to keep on weight, a very young or old horse or a broodmare will need hard feed such as grain.

To decide what diet your horse needs, speak to your vet for advice.

Ways to reduce feed costs

  • Buy in bulk. You can often get feed and hay at a special deal or trade prices if you buy in bulk. With regards to hay, make sure that it is good quality. Ask to see a bale cut open before you hand over any money. It should be free from mould and weeds and preferably be a bit green. Don't overbuy though. Make sure you have the space to store all this food, somewhere dry where the hay will not be affected by extreme temperatures. Hard feed should be stored in rodent proof containers.

  • Don't waste the hay. Watch your horse's eating patterns. Do they tend to waste their hay when fed out in the paddock while competing with their field mates? Try feeding them hay inside their stable or barn. Hay feeders with sturdy bottoms and sides or haynets can also help to reduce wastage.

  • Don't waste hard feed. Try telling your horse this! Many horses like to tip over their food bucket and feed from the ground, it's natural for them but hugely wasteful for you. You can buy special food buckets that won't tip over from equine stores, or you can put your horse's food bucket inside a spare tyre to keep it steady.

Feeding your horse doesn't have to cost the earth, but remember to make any changes slowly; otherwise, you could make your horse ill. When changing feeds, start with 25 percent new feed mixed with 75 percent of the old and gradually increase the new feed each day. Talk with someone from a business Nerang Stockfeed to learn more about different types of feed. 

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31 July 2015

Pet Talk: Best Care For Our Animal Friends

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