There are lots of details to consider when choosing the best nutritional path for your horse. Before designing your horse’s diet plan, begin with the basics. We’ll help you understand horse nutrition – starting with everything you need to know about fiber!
Why Fiber Matters
Horses are natural herbivores, so they receive much of their daily energy needs from plant-based fibers (think: hay, stems, leaves, and pasture grass). Horse’s stomachs are built to digest and extract the nutrients from these fibers, unlike humans. Fiber is essential to horse nutrition. In fact, without adequate fiber, your horse can’t properly process food or move water and electrolytes. Without enough fiber, your horse is at risk for dehydration, colic, and more.
How Much Fiber is Enough?
Now that you know how important fiber is to your horse’s nutrition, you need to know how much fiber you need to be providing your horse’s each day. Since it’s so important to your horse’s health and diet, fiber should make up about 50% of their food each day. This amount can be increased in adults – even up to 100% if your horse isn’t doing much work.
What Is Fiber
The next big question in horse nutrition: what counts as fiber for my horse? The obvious options are pasture and hay. It’s important to note that the fiber content of these options can change depending on season and growth. So, an adequate amount in the spring may not be enough in the dry summer season.
There are also other fibrous options to boost your horse’s nutrition. Bran and hay cubes are other sources of fiber, but they do have their pros and cons. Read more on these options before supplementing your horse’s diet. They can impact the horse nutrition requirements.