Have you ever wondered what wild horses eat, and how that stacks up to the hay and bags of feed stored in your feed room right now? A wild horse not only has a different diet than your pampered pasture pet, they also go about it much differently. Keep reading to learn a little more about what, when, and how a wild horse eats, and how you can apply that to how you feed your own horse.
Wild horses eat a little differently than domesticated horses. Instead of carefully cultivated pasture, hay, or pelleted feed, wild horses eat what they can find, when and where they can find it. That means sometimes grass, but also sometimes a variety of weeds and even shrubs. Since wild horses scavenge whatever they can find, they aren’t always meeting their nutritional needs, particularly in the winter.
The wild horse has a tough life, to be sure, but don’t forget that wild horses spend a lot more time eating and in search of forage than their domestic counterparts. The wild horse grazes on average 16 hours out of every 24, so they’re using quantity to make up for the poorer nutritional content of the forage they find. It also means they almost constantly have forage moving through their digestive system.
Because wild horses live almost entirely on forage, they spend most of their time with their heads down, eating. It turns out that’s the best way for a horse to eat, physically speaking. Dirt, dust, and food is less likely to be inhaled with their heads down, plus they’re less likely to colic, since they take smaller bites and chew their food better. In addition, the amount of time they spend traveling to find food keeps them fit, keeps their hooves worn down, and helps to keep their digestive system moving.
The way wild horses live and eat can teach us a lot about how to best care for our horses. Here are a few ideas for how you can replicate the way horses evolved to live.
Pelleted feed offers a way to mimic the wild horse’s forage-heavy diet while benefiting from easy feeding, easy cleanup, guaranteed nutrition, and less waste. For more information about our feed, or to help determine which pellet will best meet your horse’s needs, contact Sacate Pellet Mills today.