Trivia Challenge: Do You Know Your Horse Feeding Facts?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)

Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. Horses are designed by nature to eat

A) a small amount almost constantly.

B) a large amount once or twice a day.

C) a moderate amount three times a day.

2. The largest part of your horse’s diet should be

A) oats, barley, or other high-quality grains.

B) hay, grass, or other forage.

C) high-energy pellets.

3. Which of these is a common horse feed?

A) turnip greens

B) celery tops

C) beet pulp

4. True or false: Fresh, green pasture is healthy for your horse to eat at any time.

T / F

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. A is correct. Horses naturally eat small amounts of food almost constantly. They evolved as “trickle feeders,” meaning they’re meant to be chewing and/or otherwise occupied with seeking and consuming feed for a large portion of their day. (What’s on the menu? Check here for advice on choosing the best hay for your horse.)

2. B is correct. Hay is for horses! Hay or other forage should represent the bulk of your horse’s diet. Why? Equine digestive systems evolved to digest primarily fiber, which is what forage (hay or grass) mostly consists of. (Learn more about how horses digest fiber.)

3. C is correct. Beet pulp is a highly fermentable fiber that horses digest well. It’s now popular in feeds for performance and senior horses, where calories are needed but starch intake must be controlled. (Learn more about what goes into commercial horse feeds.)

4. F is correct. Too much green pasture at any time for a horse not accustomed to it can cause serious problems, including laminitis. (Also, check here for the best times of day to allow springtime grazing.) 

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