Hello fellow horse feeders,
SO you know that a horse is a grazer, but guess what - they are actually very specially designed to graze on pasture:
They graze 12 – 16 hours/day, based on their intake rate
They can take over 36 000 bites/day when out on pasture. This chew time is very important for their digestive health and welfare.
Their bite size has an inverse relationship with their bite rate, so as their bite size goes up, the number of bites they have to take in a day goes down
Horses sample to meet their protein needs first, then will browse again to meet their calorie needs.
Research has shown us that horses prefer about 90% of their diet to be made up of grasses and legumes.
They are willing to take 4% of their diet as weeds and 6% as woody material, like parts of shrubs and trees.
Proper pasture management will help ensure that your pasture can provide the grasses and legumes that a horse prefers.
Other species like sheep and goats are willing to/may prefer to eat more weeds and woody material. This is why mixed species grazing can be a beneficial pasture management strategy.
Dr P Sharpe - University of Guelphhttps://ker.com/.../pasture-quality-and-abundance.../