Much like some people you may know, horses spend most of their time eating! Horseback riding requires a lot of energy, so our four legged friends need to keep their strength up with a hearty diet. Did you know that a 990 pound adult horse might eat up to 24 pounds of food a day? That is equal to 2% of the horse’s weight! Before you visit our Gatlinburg horseback riding stables, take a second to learn what types of food horses like to enjoy.
In the wild, horses don’t have access to special feed or bags of Cheetos (just kidding), so they have to make do with what nature has provided. Fortunately, grass makes great horse food! Grazing on grass is how wild horses get most of their vitamins and nutrients, and how they keep their pearly whites in good condition.
As the old saying goes, “hay is for horses.” While grass is great for wild horses, many domesticated horses don’t have the chance to graze year round. Instead, these horses eat hay, which has a lot of the same nutritional value as grass.
By grains, we don’t mean pastries and pasta! These sort of processed grains aren’t natural for horses, so don’t take your trusty steed out to the Olive Garden. However, unprocessed oats and small amounts of corn make good snacks for horses and can help supplement their diet.
Concentrates are made from a mixture of ingredients, such as molasses, grains, bran, vitamins, minerals, beet pulp, and flax seed. These nutritious mixes give horses a lot of energy and are often given to nursing mares and working horses.
Horses are known for having a bit of sweet tooth, so some stable owners like to give out fruits, vegetables, sugar cubes, or candies. Treats are OK once in a while, but they should be kept to a minimum because these sugary items can mess with a horse’s digestion.
With 60 horses on site at our Gatlinburg horseback riding stables, we keep plenty of food around! Our happy and healthy horses are always ready to take you on a scenic tour of the Great Smoky Mountains. Follow the link to learn the top five benefits of riding a horse!