10 Tips for Introducing New Feed & Supplements to a Fussy Horse

Mar 16, 2023Sebastian Feuster

10 Tips for Getting Your Fussy Eater Horse to Accept Supplements

Having a shy feeder or fussy eater can be a challenge, especially when it comes to introducing new feed or supplements. However, ensuring that your horse receives the necessary nutrients is crucial for their overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore ten effective tips to help you overcome the challenge of getting your horse to eat different supplements, even if they are picky eaters or shy feeders. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure your horse's nutritional needs are met without the struggle and heartache.

  1. Start with Small Amounts:
    If your horse is hesitant about trying new supplements, start by offering them a small amount mixed with their regular feed. Gradually increase the amount you are introducing over time, allowing them to adjust to the taste and texture.

  2. Mask the Supplement:
    Consider masking the taste and smell of the supplement by mixing it with a small amount of tasty feed or treats that your horse enjoys. This will help to disguise the supplement and make it more appealing to your fussy eater. Maybe add a little mint, apple sauce or a polo to the feed bowl as these are often favourites!

  3. Mix with Wet Feed:
    Mixing the supplement with wet feed, such as soaked hay cubes or beet pulp, can help make it less obvious and more palatable. The moist texture can enhance the flavor and make it easier for your horse to consume.

  4. Try Different Forms:
    If your horse refuses to eat powdered supplements, consider trying different forms such as pellets, liquids, or pastes. Some horses may have a preference for a particular texture, so experimenting with different forms can increase their acceptance.

  5. Introduce Gradually:
    Introducing new supplements gradually is important, especially for horses with sensitive palates. Begin by offering a small amount and gradually increase the dosage over several days or weeks until your horse becomes accustomed to the supplement.

  6. Use Syringe or Applicator:
    For particularly resistant horses, using a syringe or an applicator can be an effective method. Administering the supplement directly into their mouth bypasses their taste buds, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients.

  7. Offer Variety in Feeding Methods:
    If your horse is bored with their current feeding routine, try incorporating variety. Offer supplements in different feeding methods, such as treat balls, lickable blocks, or interactive feeders, to stimulate their interest and make the process more enjoyable.

  8. Seek Professional Guidance:
    Consulting with an equine nutritionist or veterinarian is essential, especially if your horse has specific dietary requirements or underlying health issues. They can provide valuable guidance on selecting suitable supplements and adjusting the feeding regime to meet your horse's needs.

  9. Establish a Consistent Routine:
    Creating a consistent feeding routine can help encourage your horse to accept supplements more readily. Horses are creatures of habit, so having a regular feeding schedule and offering supplements at the same time each day can make them more receptive to new additions.

  10. Patience and Persistence:
    Above all, be calm, patient and persistent when introducing new supplements. Often hores pick up on your change of body language or see that you are 'fussing' around differently when introducing a new supplement or feed. Relax and it will relax your horse too. It may take time for your fussy eater to adjust to the changes, but with a consistent and positive approach, they will eventually accept the supplements as part of their daily routine.

Encouraging a fussy eater horse to accept a new feef or supplement can be a challenging task. However, by implementing these ten tips, you can increase the chances of success and reduce the time it takes.

Remember to start small, be patient, and offer a variety of methods to entice your horse's interest. If needed, seek guidance from professionals to ensure that your horse's nutritional needs are adequately met. With time and persistence, you'll find a strategy that works best for your horse, allowing them to receive the essential supplements they need for optimal health and well-being.

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