If you have a fussy feeder, finding something they fancy can be a challenge often resulting in wasted time and money. Horses can have a limited appetite for many reasons and it’s important to check that there is no under lying health issues by consulting your vet if your horse really goes off their food. However, if you are confident that their up turned nose is down to having distinguished taste buds then we have a few tips to motivate them to munch again…
- Whilst presentation is a key criteria on MasterChef, your horse will be less critical than Gregg Wallace on how their dinner is presented! Many owners will opt to feed their horse a mix as they generally look more appealing than a cube, however, they are not necessarily the best choice. Firstly, as cubes are more densely packed, the volume of feed in the bucket can be reduced compared to when feeding a mix which will help avoid over facing your horse. In addition, a mix may encourage selective eating, with skilled horses being able to pick out only the tasty tiny bits!
- Another tip to avoid over facing your horse is to feed little and often. If possible, serving up a breakfast, lunch and dinner will be less daunting for your horse than having to get through one epic meal. Remember, to optimise your horse’s digestion never feed more than 2kg in one meal.
- Make changes gradually. So not to raise your horse’s suspicions, switch their feed by no more than 0.5kg every other day and if you have a pony reduce this further.
Spice up their life
If you’ve tried the basics, but your horse still isn’t impressed with your culinary offer then the addition of various ‘flavourings’ including spices, herbs and essences may help to tempt. Although apple, carrot or mint may seem like the most obvious choices, your horse’s palate may be more exotic than you think.
In one study, 15 flavours were tested amongst eight stabled horses. All horses accepted 12 flavours, with the top eight ranked as follows in terms of preference;
- Cherry (cherry flavouring not fresh cherries which are poisonous to horses)
Many of these flavours can be found as a supplement or already pre-mixed in feeds, however, remember, if you are competing under FEI or BHA rules only use feeds and supplements approved by BETA NOPS.
Our final top tip is to try before you buy! We offer free samples across our entire range of horse feeds so that you can check if you get the thumbs up from your horse before you head to your feed store to buy a 20kg bag! If you have a fussy horse and would like a sample of one of our feeds please either contact the Care-Line on 01908 22 66 26, email us or private message us on facebook and we will be happy to arrange.
Fenugreek, Fussy horses, Palatable horse feeds, What to feed a fussy horse