Equine nutrition is not only the most important section in the overall expenses in the breeding process in horses, but the success of the breeder also depends on the food he gives to the horse. This is especially expressed at horses that are bred for achieving high goals. The expenses for this food are much higher, as well in relative and in absolute exports, than in other livestock. However, we can say that equine nutrition which is relatively expensive can be poor, or unbalanced food is even more expensive, because it doesn’t lead to the wanted results.
Breeding horses is based on plant nutrients which these animals, just as the other ruminants, use successfully. Digesting that kind of food, which is in big part inadequate, will place this animal out of the competitive relationship with humans. Thus we get useful job from horses, as well as many products which are essential for humans (meat, bones, livestock manure etc). During the development of the human civilization, the horse had a very important role. Till recently it presented an irreplaceable bond for humans in all segments of life. The products that were obtained by horses had a big role in everyday life. Due to the development of effective mechanization, during the last few decades, the importance of the horse is way smaller than it used to be. That is exactly why the total horse population has significantly decreased. This on the other hand led to changes in the horse’s structure and the goal why they were bred for. Instead for work today horses are mostly used for recreation and as sport horses. Despite all this, horse is still irreplaceable at some terrains and locations.
Recently there was a significant improvement in the area of equine nutrition science. Till recently there were huge procedures for assessment of the nutritive values and norms especially intended for horses. Generally norms were expressed by analogy with cattle. During the last 20 years there are created specific systems for evaluation and norms for the needs of the horses, which indicates the difference between the horses and the ruminants. These systems allow assembling a meal that will be correct and balanced for certain horse breed.
Will the horse achieve its maximum potential depends on the correct nutrition. This includes reproduction, physical development, as well as the ability to perform the work. If the horse doesn’t get a correct meal it will negatively affect its performances. Insufficiently fed horse will consume body reserves and will weaken. On the other hand, if the horse is fed too much, it will increase its body weight, harder works and becomes sluggish.
When fed must be borne in mind that horses are very individual in terms of their needs in nutrients, so all of the above mentioned systems can be considered as basic guidelines for the meal preparation. In practice, each horse deviates more of less from the standards, so a good breeder must take that into account. Horses are very sensitive to changes of certain nutrients in the diet, which can go so far to a point when the horse reacts on same food, which is reared on different location and different conditions.
Proper diet of horses, as with all other domestic animals, means meeting all needs in nutrient substances. Well balanced meal means not only providing certain amount of nutrients, but also a corresponding relationship between them. This ensures that the animal maximize nutrients which it has consumed. In order to achieve this must be taken into account all the specifics of the horse as the breed, and in particular their digestive organs. The efficiency of the nutrients depends on many other factors, such as the breed, conformation and training.
The basics for proper meal for horses must consist the following:
- The meal must be sufficient with dry matter and energy.
- In the frames of the overall nutritional value of the meal there should be enough proteins according to the horse breed and category it belongs.
- The proteins in the meal have to be in accordance with the amino acids, of which we should especially make an accent on the lysine.
- In the meal should be present enough mineral substance, especially Ca, P, Na and Cl as well as all the others.
- The meal should have enough vitamins.
- The meal should be full of flavor, in order to be consumed completely.
- The meal should be varied, containing multiple nutrients (at least 3).
- The meal should be as simple as possible to serve.
- The meal must not contain any harmful or toxic substances.
- Within the limits set by the said conditions, the price for the meal should be the lowest possible.
The quality of the nutrients they eat is very important at horses, perhaps more than in other domestic animals. They are particularly vulnerable to bad and spoiled food. The consequences of that food sometimes can be very serious and sometimes even fatal for the animal. Partially spoiled or contaminated food, which ruminants could consume, must not be given to horses. The necessity for providing good and quality food for the horses makes it even more expensive, but the end justifies the means, knowing the value the animal and the result it achieves. Finally, people that are nowadays breeding horses are definitely doing it out of love for this truly remarkable breed of domestic animal, so it is not hard to provide the best food for their companions.
Oh, and horses can be best friends with your other pets too you know and this video is a proof.
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