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If you are a horse owner, one way to keep your horse healthy and performing well is by feeding it properly. If you do not feed your four-legged animal appropriately, the next thing is that they will suffer malnutrition.
So, what are you supposed to feed your horse? Of course, there is plenty of horse feeds available in the market stores. This leaves you with the question of which exactly feed should you get for your equine? With the many GMO feeds in the market, I tend to think that organic feeds are the best for horses.
What are GMO feeds, and how are they different from organic? This article will explain the difference between GMO and organic feeds and the benefits of getting organic feeds for horses. It also gives a highlight on homemade horse feeds and some simple steps to prepare organic feeds at your home.
The use of chemicals in human foods is being highly-discouraged because the chemicals affect the body’s ability to eliminate toxins from the body. This can result in severe health issues. But these conditions not only affect humans but animals as well.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. Crops grown using GMOs tend to be sprayed with some chemicals to enhance yields and help them withstand weeds and insects. These chemicals increase the risks of various complications in the body.
Some equine owners have reported body and health problems in their animals after giving them GMO feeds. As a result, many have opted to go the non-GMO or the organic way.
Organic means that all the ingredients have to comply with NOP (National Organic Program) regulation by USDA. The association forbids the use of irradiation, synthetic substances, chemical fertilizers, or any GMOs.
Organic feeds are regulated by federal law, whereas no law regulates the GMOs. And though the organic feed uses lesser amounts of chemicals, they are considered safe for use in horses.
Benefits of using organic feed for horses:
There are numerous benefits that many horse owners who use organic or homemade horse feeds have reported. Some of these benefits include:
1. Organic feed for horses boosts the overall health of your horse as well as enhances great immune response. This is because of fewer chemicals that could increase health problems.
2. The organic feed has no additives such as coloring, preservatives, or flavorings. Though these additives keep the food fresh for an extended period, consuming them can lead to long-term health problems. Organic feeds ensure that the animal does not consume these harmful chemicals.
3. Equines that feed on homemade feed for horses tend to be very energetic and, at the same time, very calm.
4. With organic feed, the animal consumes fewer minerals. Therefore, it is very hard for the animal to suffer from excessive weight gain or obesity, and it will maintain good performance.
5. Homemade horse feeds improve hoof health as well as hair coat. Your equine will always have that smooth and beautiful hair coat.
And with these benefits, it is clear that getting organic feed for your horse is the best choice you should make.
Common Ingredients for organic feed for horses:
Though you can find such organic feeds in the market, making them by yourself is pretty easy. There are various simple ways that you can use to produce your homemade horse feed. All you need is to know the right ingredients to use.
The main advantage of making your own horse feed is that it is cost-effective. If you are buying horse feeds from the market, of course, you will probably ration the quantities you feed the equine to avoid going back to the market often.
But when you home-make the feeds, you will always have plenty of food on the stable. So, what are these ingredients you require for organic or homemade horse feeds?
• Alfalfa pellets
Many people prefer this as their base when making animal feeds. The reason it is good when used as a base is that it is best when fed in small quantities. Alfalfa contains a protein that lacks in many horses. In most cases, you will find equines with a nice-sized belly but also is very ribby and has no topline. That tells you that the animal does not have sufficient protein in the body. These pellets also have high levels of calcium that is good at balancing phosphorous in other ingredients.
• Rice Bran
The Bran is a great source of fiber, Vitamin B-6, magnesium, energy, potassium, and phosphorous. It also contains a naturally occurring antioxidant, gamma oryzanol, that assists in protecting the damage of the cell membranes that can happen during energetic exercise. Rice bran that is stabilized is highly palatable, and hence, it adds more calories to the feed.
• Whole flax seed
Flaxseed contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and boosts the general health in equines. It is a great reducer of inflammation, and thus, reducing symptoms with skin conditions such as sweet itch.
Also, it assists in regulating thyroid function, alleviating allergies symptoms, and improves the immune system. Flax is a great supplement for equines that are aging as well as metabolic horses.
• Coconut oil
Most horse owners use oils in their feeds because generally, horses do not get sufficient fats in their diets. Though vegetable oil is preferable by many due to its low cost, the important fatty acids in these oils are destroyed or damaged by the free radicals during the processing and the refining process. Coconut oil improves the proficiency of vital fatty acids by up to 100%.
• Apple Cider Vinegar
This vinegar has many benefits from being a detoxifier, promoting healthy joints, and an aide for gastric upset and digestion. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis.
• Whole oats
To get the fat substance of the whole grain, you require the complete kernel. The oat is essential for the digestive and chewing processes. Equines with proper dental care and strong teeth are able to chew the oat and only leave the husks in the dung.
Unlike corn, whose starch digestibility is about 30-35%, oats have about 90%. This means that if you feed your horse with the proper quantity of oats, the small intestines easily break them down without disturbing the enzymic processes. The whole oats also enhance the hoof growth in the equines.
• Minerals and vitamins
Of course, horses require appropriate minerals and vitamins to boost good growth and great performances. A block of Purina Free Balance 12:12 is a good source of the necessary minerals and vitamins.
You will realize that all the organic feeds you will find in the market have these ingredients. So, why should you spend so much on buying manufactured feeds whereas you can easily access these ingredients and make your own feed? The process is quite simple.
DIY steps to follow to make the horse feed:
1. Take about ½ to 1 lb of Alfalfa pellets as your base coat.
2. Add about ¼ to ½ of whole oats. If you are a hard keeper, you can increase the amounts to 1-2 lbs.
3. Measure approximately 1/8 of cold-pressed coconut oil. But you can increase this to ½ for hard keeping.
4. Alternatively, you can use a 1/8 of black oil sunflower seeds.
5. Add ¼ lbs of fresh flax seed.
6. Add ½ tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt. In case you have none of these salts, you can use a full tablespoon of regular salt.
7. Then add ¼ to ½ cup of raw or organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
8. Finally, add some non-synthetic mineral and vitamin supplements.
With these simple steps, you will have your homemade horse feed. Alternatively, if you do not want to do it yourself, you can buy organically manufactured horse feeds from livestock feeds stores.
Best organic feed for horses:
There is a variety of organic horse feeds, and getting the best can be quite challenging. Here is a list of some of the organic feed for horses
1. Easy feed organic no corn no soy horse mix
This is a fortified mix that does not contain any soy or corn. It is intended to be fed to horses combined with pasture or hay. The feed is for mares, stallions, as well as pleasure horses. It contains:
- Flaxseed that provides Omega-6 and Omega-3.
- Contains oats and peas that provide proteins.
- Sel-Plex that provides selenium to assist in fighting diseases and infections.
- B-Vitamin (Biotin) enhances immune function as well as skin and hoof health.
- Minerals such as manganese, zinc, and copper that are bound to peptides and amino acids to protect the animal from mineral antagonism, boost immune function, and enhance mineral absorption.
The appropriate amount to give to your horse is 1% of the animal’s body weight.
2. Organic Horse Plus
Organic Horse Plus is a balanced feed formulated for equines that require more calories than what other pellets provide. When fed using the recommended rates, it allows optimal performances. The feed combines ingredients such as alfalfa pellets, sunflower, barley, oats, and peas. It is suitable for several kinds of horses like:
- Pleasure horses
- Performance horses
- Lactating mares
- Young growing horses
- Pregnant mares
- Senior horses with good molars as well as those with teeth challenges
To avoid overwhelming the digestive tract of your horse, do not feed it more than 5 lbs in one feeding. Also, ensure that you provide clean and fresh water always.
3. Genesis Performance Plus
This product is excellent for jumpers, racehorses, as well as other athletes. It is also suitable for young growing equines and lactating mares.
It contains oats, barley that is easily digestible, peas that are rich in proteins, and flax seed that enhances great performances and digestibility.
When these flax seeds are digested, they produce low heat that causes high performance due to low heat stress.
The feed has natural supplements for minerals and vitamins from the peas and the alfalfa pellets. Also, the feed does not contain soy, corn, animal products, pesticides, chemicals, molasses, or any GMOs.
You should feed your horse following the guidelines and individually. For instance, if your horse is underweight, use larger amounts, and if it is overweight, use lesser quantities.
4. RCR Organic feeds
If you are looking for a horse feed that does not contain soy, then these feeds from the RCR store are your best priority. It is 14% complete organic feed, and you will find it packed in bags of 40 pounds.
The feed does not contain any crumbles or pellets, and therefore, it is appropriate for senior horses with teeth challenges or young horses with no teeth.
They contain shell corn, molasses, oats, vitamins, and minerals essential for the growth and development of your four-legged buddy. When feeding, give 1% of the horse’s total body weight.
In conclusion, though the United Nation’s Food and the Agriculture Organization said in 2016 that GMO feeds are safe, long-term use can lead to severe complications.
So, when it comes to feeding your four-legged friend, you should consider going the organic way. This will ensure reduced chemical intakes by the animal, which, in return, will reduce risks of health problems.
From the article, I am sure you can now choose the organic feeds or make your own following the procedure explained in the article. And when your horse is healthy, you benefit too because it will reduce your bills of getting a vet to treat the animal.
The same way you have probably adopted organic way of eating, adopt the same for your equine. As you stay healthy, ensure your horse is healthy as well.