A Guide to Equine Feeding and Maintenance

Roughages & concentrates

Roughage is the main feed of a horse and it must always be of good quality

There are two types of feed:

Roughages, such as meadow grass, hay and silage that are all high in fibre content

Concentrates, such as grains that are high in protein and carbohydrates

. (Read more about complimentary feeds) Variations of the mix in concentrate feed are minimal, while roughages can vary a lot.

The hygiene and nutritiousness impact the quality of the roughages

Roughages with poor hygienic quality can contain various moulds, yeasts, dust, soil and bacteria, which can give the horse bowel diseases, respiratory problems and allergies amongst other issues.

The quality of the nutrients depends on how the feed is farmed and harvested, successful storing, the climate, soil and the raw material used. As the hay gets older the amount of vitamins it contains decrease. Hay that remains on the field long after it has been harvested has lost a lot of vitamins. The poor quality of roughages can cause a deficiency of nutrients, which harms the development of foals, the milk production of mares and the performance of race horses. Feed of poor quality can cause harm the functioning of the intestines and problems with the joints.

Concentrates contain nutrients that roughage cannot provide.

Concentrates such as grains, nuts and seeds are fed to the horse whole or ground either separately or mixed into the roughages as a balanced meal.

Concentrates come as both high in carbohydrates and high in protein.

Concentrates high in carbohydrates include corn, barley, wheat, oats and rye. The grains’ contain a large amount of energy not a lot of protein. Rye is not used in horse feeding as it causes indigestion.

Concentrates high in protein include soy beans, cottonseed, peanuts, linseed, rapeseed, coconut, palm oil, sunflower seeds

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