International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros Sheds Light On The Feeding Requirements of a Wild Horse

In many ways, nutrition is the cornerstone of a thriving, healthy horse. The ideal feed for a horse is meant to optimize its natural digestive system, so as to get the most nutrients to match its current needs. The volunteers of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros mention that people adopting wild horses should especially pay heed to what these incredible beasts eat. Their feeding requirements might be a bit different from other horses, at least in the initial few months.

Horses are grazing animals, and they are meant to almost constantly throughout the day. Grasses are their natural feed, and they have other edible shrubs and plants as well. All horses must consume a lot of fiber to keep their long and sensitive digestive tract working. Typically, they have to eat little and often, almost all day long. Their consistent chewing produces acid-neutralizing saliva, which prevents ulcers.

Most farm horses eat grass and hay, as well as certain fruits or vegetables. The volunteers of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros point out that wild horses are, however, not used to feeding in a manner like the ones growing up on a farm. Hence, their feeding requirements will need a bit of extra care and effort.

Subsequent to adopting a wild horse, one needs to prepare them for the transition to a new feeding program. They firstly should be given a half-barrel or trough for water rather than an automatic waterer. A ground feeder should additionally be used for providing them with hay. Being bought up in the wild, these horses may have never seen a waterer or feeder in their life. Hence, to make their transition process smoother, items they are more likely to not find too strange should be used.

People should acquire a proper knowledge of the feeding program the wild horse previously was on, and try to match that. In case they desire to change the diet, it must be done slowly to avoid colic. Horses in the wild hardly suffer colic. One of the key reasons they end up doing so in the domesticated situation is due to the rapid change from one feed to another, which gives the bacterial population little time to adjust. These microbes have to be protected as they are responsible for digesting the fiber found in hay or pasture.  Ideally, one should give free choice grass hay to their wild horse with the use of a slow feeder. The volunteers of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros suggest supplementing the forage of the horse with nutrients to effectively match the rich nutrition of the wild environment. Vitamin and mineral supplements, along with chia seeds and ground flaxseeds as a source of omega-3 fatty acids can be used to fill up the nutrient gap.