What Should I Feed My Horse?

We all know that horses are very beautiful animals, but have you ever wondered what do they eat to stay so healthy? The answer might surprise you. Horses are herbivores and their diet consists mainly of hay or pasture grasses. It is important to understand the nutritional needs of your horse in order to ensure that it remains healthy and happy.

Types of Food That Horses Enjoy Eating

The primary type of food that horses enjoy eating is grass. This can be fresh grass from a pasture or dried grass in the form of hay. Hay should make up at least 70% of a horse’s diet as it provides necessary fiber and other essential nutrients. Other types of food that horses enjoy eating include oats, barley, corn, alfalfa pellets, bran mash, apples, carrots, potatoes, and molasses.

Horse Nutrition Basics

It is important to remember that a horse’s nutritional requirements change with age and activity level. Young horses require more protein than adults and pregnant mares need additional calcium and vitamins. Active horses may need extra calories to maintain energy levels during exercise. Therefore, it is important to consult an equine nutritionist or veterinarian when planning meals for your horse.

Recommended Diet For Horses

A balanced diet for horses includes hay (or pasture grass), grain, minerals, vitamins, and water. Hay should comprise the majority of a horse’s diet as it provides dietary fiber which helps promote digestion. Grains such as oats and barley provide carbohydrates which give horses energy. Vitamins and minerals help maintain strong bones, muscles, skin, and coat. Water is also critical for proper hydration and digestive health.

what do horses eat

Foods To Avoid Feeding Horses

While there are many foods that horses enjoy eating, there are some that should be avoided due to potential health risks. These include chocolate, avocados, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, alcohol, and sugary treats. In addition, owners should avoid feeding horses moldy hay or spoiled grains as these can cause serious health problems.

Commercial Horse Foods & Supplements

For those who prefer not to prepare home-made meals for their horse, commercial feed products are available. These often contain high-quality ingredients and offer convenient portion control. However, it is important to read labels carefully as some of these feeds may contain fillers and unnecessary additives.

Additionally, certain supplements may be recommended by veterinarians or nutritionists to address specific nutritional needs or deficiencies in individual horses. Some common supplements include joint support formulas, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, electrolytes, probiotics, and vitamin/mineral supplements.

Creating Balanced Meals For Your Horse

In order to ensure that your horse receives all of the essential nutrients needed for optimal health and wellbeing, create meals that consist of two parts: one part hay and one part concentrated feed (grain or supplement). Additionally, fruits and vegetables may be added in small amounts as treats. You can also offer your horse carrots or apples on occasion as special rewards.

Treats For Your Horse

Horses love treats! If you would like to give your horse something special now and then, consider providing them with homemade treats such as molasses cubes or oat cakes. Commercial treats can also be purchased; however, be sure to read labels carefully as some may contain unhealthy ingredients such as sugar or preservatives.

Keeping Track Of What Your Horse Eats

To ensure that your horse is getting the right amount of food each day, keep track of how much hay, grain, and other food items they consume over time. Make sure that hay is always accessible and that fresh water is provided daily. Additionally, if you notice any changes in your horse’s appetite or behavior it could indicate an underlying medical issue; contact your veterinarian immediately if this occurs.


As you can see, understanding what do horses eat is key to keeping them healthy and happy. While hay should make up the bulk of their diet, adding grain, vitamins/minerals, water, and occasional treats will help ensure that your horse gets all the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and active. By following these guidelines you can rest assured that your horse will receive the best possible nutrition.

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