Did you know that the average 150 lb. human needs approximately 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day and an average 1,000 lb. horse needs approximately 16,000 calories per day? So in calculation, a horse still needs approximately the same amount of calories per pound of body weight as we do. However, the big difference between horse and human is in the digestive tract. A horse has a cecum (carnivores do not) in which the microbes in the cecum can break down the fiber in the vegetables/hay to Volatile Fatty Acids and use them as an energy source. Dried hay has around 800-1,000 calories per pound, and fresh grass has around 400-500 calories per pound because of the higher water content in it. With dried hay, your average horse needs around 1-2% of their body weight in hay. If you take the middle amount, that would be 15 1bs. of dried hay per day! (15 lbs. of Alfalfa per day = approx.15,000 calories). So, a horse can maintain his weight on this amount. For fresh pasture, a horse has to eat about twice that amount (30 lbs.) because of the higher water content. This is why a horse on pasture grazes all day because they have to take in a higher volume of feed to meet their calorie needs. In addition, horses on pasture will walk around 5 to 10 miles per day because they have to search out their food. So, they also burn more calories per day. Horses in Arizona on dried hay only need about half of that plus, they don't burn the extra calories because they can just stand in one place and eat their whole meal. If we let them eat all day on the dried hay as they would in pasture, they would intake more calories than they need and would become overweight.
The information contained in this article was gathered from the Holistic Horse Magazine.
Is your horse's coat losing its shine in the winter cold and you're running out to buy skin products with unrecognizable ingredients? Well its important to know that what you put on your horse's skin can and usually will be absorbed into the body so you need to be careful! We've listed some herbs that are commonly used for skin care and wound management. And remember, you can use these herbs on you and your horse!
Did you know the total amount of water within a horse's body is approximately 60% of their body weight? This means they need to drink an average of 10 to 15 gallons of water during the hot summer days in Arizona. This equals approximately 1-2 liters of water consumed per hour. Unfortunately, automatic watering systems just don't provide this type of flow rate for your horse to stay adequately hydrated. So be sure to provide a large bucket of water along with your watering system and your horse will stay hydrated and healthy!