Why can't we stop eating horses?
Supply and Demand: A really ingenious trick for horse feeding
Mud! Who would have thought that I would enthusiastically pop brash mud into a bowl. Mud is great for horses. Really! If it's the right mud. More precisely, it was bog mud that I poured into my horse's food bowl. But I didn't just secretly mix the mud with the feed, quietly and quietly. And now I'll tell you THE trick for you and your horse feeding.
I got the mud on my horse offered. That is the small but subtle difference.
Why bog and which one?
There are many good minerals in the moor, Vitamins, trace elements, bitter substances, iron and even more good ingredients. All of this promotes digestion, stimulates the intestines and the metabolism, is good against flatulence and is good for the horses.
I took the moor from the Sonnenmoor company. Because they apply biological criteria to their moor and offer moor specifically for animal feeding. The moor comes from Austria from the Salzburg foothills of the Alps from an ancient former glacier area. At the edge of a nature reserve, a small strip of bog is being mined - which was originally intended for agricultural use, so no overexploitation of nature is being pursued. Because moors are important biotopes for CO2 storage and nature. Therefore, one should make sure that they are used sustainably and carefully when using them.
That's why you keep seeing horses that want to nibble away from the forest floor at the edge of the forest, for example. They don't do this because soil is so tasty, but because their instincts tell them that they need the minerals that are in it. So it can be good as a cure in between when the coat is about to change or the horses are grazed in spring so that the stomach can cope better with the fresh grass.
HERE you can buy the moor if you want the natural mineral substances for your horse
There are many herbs and other plants in it that have been converted into moor over the centuries. It's healing moor. It should therefore only be offered as a cure and not as a permanent feed addition.
HERE you can find more information on the horse whispering about herbs in horse feeding
A simple trick when feeding horses
But now we come to the trick in horse feeding: supply and demand. The concept can help you in many ways. I keep trying and it works. Above all, however, one point is important: Your horse needs functioning instincts for this. The way we feed and keep our horses can interfere with instincts. But more on that in a moment. First of all, I want to write you a few things about the horse's stomach and food intake.
Feeding horses is a very complicated matter. The gastrointestinal tract is very functional and works permanently. I was really intrigued when I first looked at it. After that, a lot was clearer to me. Also why it is basically cruelty to animals to give a horse a bale of hay only once a day and otherwise to throw mash or cereal in the trough. Roughage is essential. I'll try to summarize it very simply. I researched this information myself and am not a veterinarian - so I am really happy if you know more and want to add your knowledge in a comment.
Incidentally, this is a great reading tip if you want to find out more about herbs and horse feeding *
Wild horses always had to move around and in the process take in feed. Step by step - small quantities. So you are always on the move, running all the time, then occasionally lowering your head and grazing. Grab leaves from bushes along the way, scrape in the earth and then eat them, nibble on branches, eat fruit from trees and berries, leaves and other things. Everything that they notice on their way from one watering place to the next, from one pasture to the next and what their instinct advises them to eat.
The horse's stomach
The horse's stomach of domesticated horses works no differently. But we have limited pastures with fences, we have grass that has been optimized for decades for beef cows, often not enough trees and bushes and herbs and berries on the pasture. Therefore, it can make sense to offer the horse all of this as a cure.
From the mouth to the horse apple - the path of a straw
The horse chews and grinds the roughage with its teeth while eating. So the haystalk is slowly shredded. Meanwhile, he is nicely salivated. With mash and mueslis it doesn't have to be ground, so it can gulp down the food much faster and it won't salivate it properly. That doesn't mean that all muesli is always bad - but you just have to think carefully about how much of which feed the horse should be given and how often. This also leads us directly back to our haystalk, which should always be ready in the box.
What saliva can do when feeding horses
The chewing creates a nice slimy chyme that surrounds the haystalk with bicarbonates and sodium chloride. The substances are then a kind of buffer in the stomach. This is because it permanently produces gastric juice from hydrochloric acid and enzymes. Scientists assume that between 10 and 30 liters of "digestive juices" are produced daily.
The horse is a constant eater in the wild, so there are no breaks in the digestive system. Gastric juice constantly shoots in there. But if there is nothing in the stomach because the horse is in the box and hasn't had any hay for hours - it can also cause stomach ulcers.
The horse's stomach is relatively special. If it is full, it simply closes. Horses cannot throw up. You can only push something in again when the existing food in the stomach has been digested and pushed on. If the horse continues to eat even though the stomach is closed, this can lead to constipation, incorrect fermentation and other problems. That is one more reason why it is not a good thing to throw a large portion of feed into the horse just once a day. It takes several small servings a day.
Horse anatomy and horse feeding
In the back of the stomach, the pH should be around 2-3. Very angry! This is supposed to kill bacteria. Works great too. Unfortunately, it kills the stomach when there isn't always a little something in there. In addition, the feed must also arrive in the appropriate form. Hay, for example, is salivated well when slowly chewed, which can then be processed further in the stomach. Mashed fodder made from too much mash and muesli and grain cannot be acidified as well and because the bacteria continue anyway, fermentation can occur. This is not particularly healthy for your horse.
That is why it is so important to always provide enough roughage. Like our straw. So the longer the horse chews and salivates, the better it is for the horse's stomach. If there is too little saliva formation, the stomach can become acidic and this in turn can cause stomach ulcers.
But the horse has to grind our straw in great detail and it can glide relaxed towards the stomach. The gastric juice and other digestive substances are already formed and the pancreas is stimulated. A few digestive enzymes are already on their way. A pellet, for example, has to be chewed longer than a muesli.
Note: chew longer = better for digestion.
From the horse's mouth into the horse's stomach
Our haystalk is already saliva-covered and slimy and can slide towards the stomach. Such a horse's stomach can hold a lot of hay straws. There is an acidic environment there to kill germs that do not like it that much. The haystalk can now make itself comfortable in the stomach for between 1 and 5 hours. But it will probably slide further faster.
Grain and ready-made feed unfortunately stay there a little longer. This can trigger fermentation processes and this in turn is supposed to promote stomach ulcers. If, however, a fluffy and fluffy chowder made of hay straws and food that has been chewed through for a long time lies around in the stomach, it can be better acidified by gastric juice and this in turn ensures that it can be processed better. Then everything flips during digestion.
From the horse's stomach to the intestines
Next, our stalk of hay travels through the small intestine into the large intestine. It's about 8 meters long. Quite a beater. There the indigestible food components are still processed by hard-working small microorganisms. So straw, hay, bran for example. They get things like B vitamins out of our haystalk, which are necessary for biotin and which in turn the horse needs to form hoof horn. To give just one example.
However, if the small, hard-working microorganisms do not have enough raw fiber, they cannot work and that in turn is bad for your horse's health. If your horse receives a lot of grain and little woodchip, for example, it will have difficulties processing the large amount of starch from the grain in the small intestine - so the rest of the starch is pushed further into the large intestine. However, this disturbs the small, hard-working microorganisms at work and it can trigger metabolic problems, flatulence or over-acidity. The consequences can be colic or laminitis.
Good digestion in the horse
But if the horse regularly receives small portions, a lot of roughage, little grain and concentrated feed, no sugar mueslis and ready-made mash and healthy herbs and other organic additional feed that it would have access to in the wild, then digestion works and our haystalk slides down and relaxes after through the digestive tract, is processed and evaluated and ends up as a pretty little horse apple in the box and on your pitchfork.
So you can see that horse feeding is really a complicated thing. And I definitely haven't even summarized half of the information in these few sentences. I just wanted to give you a brief overview.
Let's get to the concept of supply and demand
Unlike us humans, the horse's instincts work very well. We can make use of this when feeding.
The horses' noses are much finer than ours. Among other things, wild horses owe their life to this sense of smell. So they see very well what is good for them and what is not. Their instincts tell them - to put it very simply - what food to eat and what they shouldn't put in their mouths.
You may also know that after a chocolate orgy you really long for a bit of salad or fresh fruit. This is what your body and your instincts tell you. But you probably also know that foods seem less sweet to you if you eat sweet things often. So the more you load unhealthy things on your plate, the worse your body recognizes what is really good for it. A simple and simple equation for healthy and good nutrition.
The same goes for movement. Perhaps you also know the feeling that you always have to overcome an inner weaker self in order to get up from the sofa and do sport. But if you do sport regularly, you will gradually experience the phenomenon that you are really looking forward to the next round of sports - you will become more and more active. Why? Because your body knows what's good for you when you act so naturally. Lying on the sofa and eating gummy bears is comfortable, but it does not correspond to our natural disposition.
You have to imagine this in a similar way with your horse. Put simply: If your horse is on the move all day with his herd, if he has hay and mixed grass, if he gets exercise and natural feed - then his body knows what is good for the horse.
The basic rules for feeding horses with herbs and natural substances
- So if you want to give your horse additional feed such as herbs and minerals, moor, individual plants such as blackberry leaves or chestnuts and walnuts, berries such as rose hips with vitamin C, then simply offer it to him.
- Your horse's instincts will then tell him if it needs the minerals or vitamins that are in the herbs or berries.
- But always make sure that you use good ingredients, untreated and unsprayed. Herbicides and other pesticides can harm your horse.
Personally, I always like to buy organic products for horse feeding so that I can at least guarantee thatno chemical additives or pesticides have been used *
TIPS for healthy treats
A little tip for healthy treats - without sugar and other additives - You can find them HERE, for example
A few examples of herbs and nature in horse feeding
- I particularly like to feed, for example Rose hips as a treat. The exciting thing is that my horse has phases in which it likes to eat the treats and phases in which it spits out the rose hips again *
- Just like Blackberry leaves. There is a bush next to the willow. I stop and wait to see if she wants to grab it. She does that for a few weeks, after a few weeks she stands there and looks at me until we move on.
- Our cleaning area is under one Walnut tree. There are always nuts there in autumn. Recently while cleaning, she cracked the walnut with her hoof and grabbed the nut. At first I was amazed, but then I read how walnuts can work on horses. This is a double-edged sword, by the way. The branches are poisonous - so please don't give them to your horse to nibble.
HERE at Tash Horseexperience you can find more information about the effects of walnut leaves
The first steps towards offering horse feeding
Let's take the moor. I used the organic moor from the Sonnenmoor company. It comes from the untreated and natural depths in Austria and is thoroughly tested forage bog.
You may also know that your horse always eats the earth with it. Perhaps it needs minerals, they are in the bog. The moor is available in liquid and powdered form. Personally, I prefer the liquid because then I can really check whether my horse needs it. The powder is tasteless and would not make a difference in taste if mixed with the feed. From my point of view, however, it is important that the horse can decide for itself what it needs.
- So take a bowl of food, fill the bowl with the required amount of bog mud and offer it to your horse. You can try this for a few days.
- If it licks the bog, it has obviously used the minerals. If it leaves the moor, it has no need at the moment.
Carey first enthusiastically licked the moor from my fingers and licked it out of the bowl for a few weeks. Then she left the moor. So I stopped and will be offering a cure again in the spring and see if she needs the minerals.
That is the principle of supply and demand. You can use it again and again with natural food supplements. If your horse is grazing, living naturally, getting hay and oats, no sugar cereals and other industrial products, then chances are that his instincts are working so well that he will eat what he needs right now. Because his body usually tells him whether the herbs or minerals are good for the horse or not.
You can also plant a small herb garden on the edge of the pasture for your horse to feed. Then it will most likely get the herbs it needs right now. Herbs are not used in medicine for nothing. They have an effect and in the wild the horses have the opportunity to grab the food that their body needs, adapted to the season and weather. Fresh herbs in spring for the change of coat. Berries in autumn with a lot of vitamin C for the immune system to survive the winter. To give you just two examples.
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