How to Get a Horse to Eat Supplements? A Detailed Guide

After working hard on a farm, pulling a cart, or simply giving the joy of riding, a diet consisting only of hay might not be enough for your equine. He might need doses of supplements to function properly. Below is a compilation of different ways these supplements can be fed.

Guide on How to Get a Horse to Eat Supplements

Horses are used for strenuous tasks and need a properly balanced diet to function at their best. Unlike humans, horses have different personalities. Some of them are easygoing and social, while others can get grumpy. In general, horses can go on foraging endlessly, but their eating habits as domesticated animals depend on several factors, such as their age, upbringing, and environment. Some horses may avoid eating supplement-infused feed as they can detect the slightest change in the food offered to them.

Different methods can be adapted to incorporate supplements into your horse’s diet. These include:

The Slow Method

This is one of the most effective methods to make your picky horse develop their taste. The trick is to slowly add supplements to their diet. Adding supplements in small quantities will maintain the taste of the horse’s food. This will prevent the horse from rejecting the feed. You may gradually increase the quantity of supplements in the feed.

Changing Texture

The horse feed comes in different shapes and textures. There are wet ingredients and some are ground and given in powder form. In case your horse is rejecting a diet, try changing the texture of it. As horses have different personalities, they have different preferences. Some horses may prefer chewing granolas and others find powdered form more convenient to consume. You can change it according to your knowledge of the horse and what he has liked in the past.

Diluting Other Ingredients

Diluting other ingredients to make it more eatable by the horse is another easy method to feed your horses with supplements. If your horse is eating the same diet for years, it gets used to it. Adding a drastic amount of supplement to the regular feed can change the taste and texture, and may make your horse reluctant to consume it. This is normal and can happen to any horse, especially who is already a picky eater. For this, you can mix other ingredients, especially those which are your horse’s favorites, which will complement the flavor and the horse will probably have it with full appetite.

Ways You Can Incorporate Supplements into Your Horse’s Diet

There are some ingredients which when added to the supplementary diet can mask the modified flavor and make it easy to consume, these includes;

Water

To make the powered or granular textured supplements easy to eat, you may add water to them. Some horses also prefer eating the diet soaked and wet as it is easier to chew.

Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup is an excellent way to mask the taste of supplements. This is due to the high sugar content present in it which makes everything sweet.

Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are the most liked diluted ingredient in a horse’s diet. These seeds have a strong flavor and texture which can cover up the flavor of almost every supplement.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a low sugar ingredient to be added in the supplement diet to make it preferred by the horses.

FAQs Related to How to Get a Horse to Eat Supplements

Refer to this comprehensive list of FAQs to further clarify any doubt regarding how to get your horse to eat its supplements

Can you give horse penicillin orally?

Penicillin is given to horses to avoid any sort of streptococcal infections, which lead to fever, strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, etc. Usually, it is given in injection form and pressed against the chest muscles. In case a horse acts agitated against those, an alternate option can be giving penicillin in liquid form orally. Typically, a horse requires one dose of 3 ml penicillin twice a day, for one whole week. Only Penicillin V is suitable enough to be given orally.

What can you give a horse to increase appetite?

Generally, horses exhibit a reduction in appetite when they have a fever, colic, stress, or dental problems. The best solution is to instantly take them to a vet to recognize the underlying cause. However, in case a veterinarian is unavailable, probiotics can also be used. Probiotics play an essential part in boosting your horse’s appetite. Other than that, digestive aids such as yeasts components also help in speeding digestion. There are several supplements available in the market which help stimulate a horse’s digestive system.

Why would a horse not eat hay?

Horses stop eating when they face stress, anxiety, gastric ulcers, colic issues, dental pain, or infections. It can be very depressing for an owner to witness their horse becoming weak day by day due to these reasons. The safest option is to consult with a veterinarian because they are skilled enough to find the root cause, which is necessary in order to treat your horse.
If the horse is completely healthy, a horse might not consume hay because of its smell or moldiness. In this case, try switching to some other form of feed like fresh grass or liquids.

Does my horse really need supplements?

Most people do not recommend the consumption of supplements. They argue that horses previously survived well without them and this generation can also survive the same way. However, these people fail to acknowledge that the environment before was less contaminated and everything fed to horses was fresh. Nowadays, supplements are necessary because horses’ workload is extreme, and in order to function, they need an extra boost. Most supplements are also rich in vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a horse’s diet. Regardless, they should be fed in moderation to avoid any side effects.

Conclusion

Thus, these are the reasons why supplements can be beneficial for horses and there are several ways to feed them. If none of these work for you, a trained horse trainer might also help you incorporate them into your horse’s diet.