REBECCA WHALLEY,YOUNGS ANIMAL FEEDS-
Manufactures of the Super Molichop range-top quality bagged fibre feeds and the Sweet Meadow Range-a comprehensive,cost effective range of premier coarse mixes.
The horse has evolved to eat fibre as a trickle feeder selectively eating little and often whilst roaming large expanses of scrubland.
However, in order to fit a horse into the busy lifestyle of the modern horse owner it is necessery to stable them often for long periods and only allow restricted grazing.
The basic rules of feeding have envolved to try and encourage pracetices sympathetic to the horse's digestive stystem and as a result keep the risk of potentially fatal digestive disturbances to a minimum.
1.FEED PLENTY OF FORAGE.
Long fibre encouages chewing and lengthens rhe overall eating time.
When chaff is added to the concentrate feed intake of feed is slower reducing the risk of problems caused as a result of your horse bolting his feed. Super Molichop Original (top quality molassed chaff.)and Super Molichop Herbi (with added herbs and spearmint foe exceptional palatability)can be safely added to your horses concentrate diet. For horses where a low sugar diet is desirable Supper Molichop Lite can be safely added.
High fibre diets go a long way in helping to maintain a healthy microbial population in the horse's hindgut vastly reducing the likelihood of digestive disturbances.
Hay,haylage,grass or a commercial hay replacer such as Super Molichop should make up as a bare minimum 50% of the domestic horse's diet. For the majority of horses in light to medium work a diet made up of 70-80% fibre is more beneficial.
An important point to remember when feeding forage is that haylage contains a higher water content than hay. It is usually necessery to feed more haylage thn hay,to ensure your horse is getting enough fibre.However,if the nutritional value of the haylage is greater than the hay it may be possibleto reduce your concentrate feed.
Providing your horse is not a calorie controlled diet forage should be fed as lib.
Obviously all forage fed should be good quality,dust and mould free.
All raw materials used to manufacture the Super Molichop range must pass stringent quality
tests and are dust extracted as part of the manufacturing process.
Where a forage only diet is being fed i.e. for horses at rest or in very light work a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement should be fed.
2.Hard feed/concentrate should be fed LITTLE AND OFTEN.
The horse's stomach is only the size of a rugby ball as it has naturally evolved to trickle feed ensuring a steady passage of food through the stomach and small intestine. As a result each concentrate meal should not be larger than about a third of a normal feed bucket.
Feeding to much at once reduces the efficiency of the digestive system.
Some horses even lose weight if fed a lot of concentrates per meal and have shown improvement once the same ration has been divided into smaller amounts. In an ideal world the stabled horse should be fed 3 to 4 times per day.
Feeding large amounts of concentrates also increases the risk of the small intestine becoming overwhelmed by a large quantity of cereal starch,
which can then reach the hindgut undigested. As the starch ferments in the hind gut acid is produced often resulting in the death of large numbers of valuable hind gut bacteria which in turn can effect the caecum and colon lining. Outward signs/symptoms can include loose droppings, colic and laminitis.For leisure horses in light to medium work it is often beneficial to feed concentrate diets low in starch and high in fibre such as Sweet Meadow Horse and Pony Nuts,Sweet Meadow Herbal Mix or Sweet Meadow Lo- Sugar Mix.
3.FEED ACCORDING TO BODYWEIGHT.
As a rough guide a horse be fed about 2% of its bodyweight each day. A weight tape is available at most feed atores and tack shops and is about the most practical way to weigh a horse. As a very rough guide an average 15.2hh middleweight horse weighs approximately 500kg.
4.FEED BY WEIGHT RATHER THAN VOLUME.
A scoop of nuts is much heavier than a scoop of chaff!
Always weigh different feeds initially so you know exactly how much a scoop contains.
5.FEED ACCORDING TO WORK DONE.
Dont increase quantity of food in anticipation of extra work wait until it is needed. Try and always be realistic about the amount of work your horse is actually doing.As a rough guide
*LIGHT WORK is 1 hour hack or 1 hour schooling 3 times a week
*MEDIUM WORK is 2 hours active hacking,2 hours schooling daily.
*HARD WORK is hunting twice a week/racing or eventing regulary.
8.ENSURE THAT ALL FEED IS CAREFULLY STORED.
All concentrate and fibre feeds should be stored in a cool and dry place in pest proof bins.
9.KEEP TO A ROUTINE
Horses are creatures of habit to keep stress levels to a minimum feed at the same time each day. All horses, which are stabled together, should be fed at the same time.
10.ALWAYS ENSURE THAT THERE IS A SUPPLY OF CLEAN,FRESH WATER AVAILABLE.
The appliance of these rules into your day to daymanagement is a substantial and positive step towards acheiving a happy and healthy horse,performing at his best.