Natural Horse Feed
The topic of is one based on two sides. One side you have the naturalist, or homegrown type of person who wants to feed their horse naturally grown foods. On the opposite side you have commercial entities producing feeds and supplements that may not be the best for your horse.
Often times manufactured, pelletized feeds are high in sugars and preservatives that are not healthy for your horse. Much like the foods that we humans eat that are processed these horse feeds are hiring chemicals that cause health issues. Also manufactured feeds at times contains high amounts of corn which is basically sugar.
Back on the first side naturalists who think straight grass or even naturally grown forage such as oats believe that these foods provide your horse with all their nutritional needs. This is not the case. Nowadays a lot of forage grains are grown basic fertilizers such as 10 – 10 – 10 which is nothing more than nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
These fertilizers are salt based, which over, time destroys the soil by removing minerals leaving the earth packed, clay like, and sticky preventing proper aeration. The effect is that forage foods no longer contain all the proper minerals necessary to provide a healthy body.
On top of the salt base fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are also being applied to the plant-based materials. While these pesticides kill unwanted bugs and the herbicides destroy unwanted weeds, these chemicals tend to persist within the soil and often times are absorbed by the plant roots. These absorbed pesticides and herbicides tend to deposit within the cell walls of the food crop and remain within the cellular walls of the food. Horses then eat these foraged foods consume the unwanted pesticides and herbicides, causing further damage to their body.
The most natural food available to horses are mixed warm weather grasses. Cold weather grasses tend to have higher amounts of sugar, as well as, under certain weather conditions toxic amounts of potassium. The goal is to provide a variety of natural grasses as well as weeds and brambles for the horse to graze on.
Often times this is not possible for most horse owners. It can become cost ineffective and too time-consuming. The solution, however, can be to provide a healthy oat along with a granular mineral substitute. The oats provide a tasty food source for your horses that the granular minerals will stick to. While not the best solution, is better than the alternative of feeding your horse pelletized feeds that are high in fat, sugar, and preservatives.
One last thought to remember is that you want to provide warm weather hay to your horses. Alfalfa is not a proper hay. Alfalfa is high in sugars and should only be given to your horses sparingly. Also hay should be free choice and provided throughout the day. Horses are designed to graze on hay around 20 hours a day. Their stomachs are small and they have a constant production of stomach acid the breakdown the hay. Not providing your horses free choice hay throughout the day can cause physical damage to their intestinal system, as well as emotional stress damage.