Common Horse Feeding Myths
 By Winniefield Park   •   24th Oct 2013   •   2,171 views   •   1 comments
Common Horse Feeding Myths

Horse feeding practices have changed over the years, and some things horse owners believed have been proven wrong now that we've learned more about nutrition and horse digestion. Here are a few persistent myths about feeding your horse.

You Can't You Feed New Hay
This myth is still sticking around and at one time, when the science of hay harvesting and storage wasn't as precise as it is now, it may have been valid. It's really a bad idea to feed partially dried grass to horses ó whether they be lawn clippings or hay. To do so can cause colic and founder. However, once hay is dry enough to safely store in a barn, or bale into a large round bale, it's safe to feed your horse. You just might want to finish the previous years store first, because hay does lose some nutrients the longer it is kept.

You Must Soak Beet Pulp Before You Feed It
Lots of people believe that it's dangerous to feed un-soaked beet pellets to a horse. Beet pulp expands to four times the size when soaked. The theory behind the myth is that if the horse eats dry beet pulp, it will expand in the horse's stomach and cause it to rupture, or will cause impactions in the gut. The truth, however, is that is safe to feed dried beet pulp, as long as the quantity is equal to the amount you would normally feed wet. So if you normally fed one cup of beet pulp to four cups of water, it's okay just to feed the one cup dry. A gut full of any dry feed like oats, or even pellets would cause the same problems. Soaked beet pulp is a good way to get extra moisture in a horse, say during a long-distance ride, or in winter when there's no fresh grass. The greater danger with beet pulp, or any pelleted feed is choke.

Bran Mashes are Good
It's traditional to feed bran to horses. Some people feed it wet in a mash, and others feed it dry. However, in truth, bran doesn't add much to a horse's nutrition and too much can cause mineral imbalances. Many people fed bran mashes once a week to help clear out the digestive system. But, the sudden feeding of a food the horse is not used to daily may upset the digestive system more than help it. Horses don't really need bran, and that special bran mash we make on weekends or holidays may be more harmful than kind.

Hay Before Grain
It's long been thought that you should feed hay before grain, especially in the mornings, when the horse's stomach may be empty. However, the truth is, the only time you must feed hay before grain is if the horse is getting more than half of its daily nutrition in the form of grains or other concentrates. Horses fed in this ratio are likely high-performance horses such as racehorses.

Corn Makes Horses Hot
Corn can carry molds that might be harmful to horses, so it's important that any corn being fed is clean and dry. It's also high in starch, which might not be good for your horse's digestive system. Like many grains, it does not provide complete nutrition, so it should be mixed with other ingredients to make a balanced diet. Too much of any grain or concentrate may make your horse hot, so corn isn't the only culprit.

Image Credit: © Emi Cristea |
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Dark Star  
Too much corn is just bad for horses. Not only can it cause more sugar in their diet, but it can upset their digestive systems and they can colic and/or founder from too much corn in their diet. Most feeds have the recommended amount of corn in them. That's why it's not recommended to feed ears of corn to horses too often.
  Oct 24, 2013  •  3,352 views
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