How to Make Sure You’re Feeding Your Horse a Healthy Horse Feed

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Horse feeds are not all made the same, and some horse feeds may be healthier for your horse than others. Let’s take a look at how to tell whether the horse feed you’re using is healthy for your horse, or not.

Read the Ingredients

Determining whether a horse feed is healthy for your horse requires that you get used to reading the list of ingredients. Look for a feed which clearly lists the ingredients it contains. Look for “pure” ingredients, rather than the middlings, hulls, or flavorings, which have little nutritional value. You’ll also want a feed which is easily digestible – generally a feed with less than 10% fiber is easiest for a horse to digest.

Look for Fillers

While you read the ingredients, keep an eye out for materials which are “fillers.” Fillers are cheap ingredients used to create bulk in a feed, but which don’t offer your horse much nutritional value. Soy and rice bran are common fillers that you should try to avoid. Soy can actually cause allergic reactions in some feeds, so look for a horse feed which doesn’t include these filler ingredients.

Check the Sugar Content

Keep a careful eye on the sugar content of any feed that you’re considering. Many feeds include molasses to increase the feed’s flavor and palatability, but molasses also adds significant amounts of sugar to a feed. A feed which is high in sugar can cause your horse’s glucose levels to wildly fluctuate, especially when he’s fed high quantities in two or three bulk meals per day. Try to avoid feeds with significant sugars, especially if your horse has Cushing’s or is prone to laminitis.

Consider the Manufacturer’s Reputation

Before you buy a feed, spend a few minutes online and do some research into the manufacturer. Search for the manufacturer’s name and the term “recall” to see if recent recalls have been issued for horse (or other animal) feeds produced by that manufacturer. Recalls for contaminated or bad batches of feed are becoming all too common, so look for a manufacturer who has little to no history of recalling their feeds.

If you’re unsure whether a horse feed is healthy for your horse, consult with your vet or an equine nutritionist. With a little practice you can learn to read feed labels and understand which ingredients are best for your horse. Don’t trust the advertisements put out by feed companies; do your own research to decide which horse feed is best.

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