It is a good idea to feed your horse the same food as he is used to at home, now is not the time to experiment! Just remember that there will be only limited grazing, so you might have to adjust for that with more hay than usual. If you feed chaff or hard feed, remember to bring a feeding bowl and don’t forget a water bowl, also a bucket to fill it up makes for easier carrying, sometimes you might have to get water from across the paddock . Some horses seem reluctant to drink when away from home (mine included) and so I have always a jam jar full of molasses with me and put a dollop of it in her water – that usually motivates her to drink.
During long rides I allow my horse to grab the odd bit of yumminess, as long as I stay in control as to the where and when; I know there are different opinions out there about this, but I reckon if I nibble on a muesli bar while I’m riding along, my horse who is doing most of the work is also entitled to a snack. Whichever way you look at this, I also always carry an apple or carrot with me for his lunch, and I know of people who are quite happy to share their own lunch with the horse (depending on type of lunch and horse). When I am in the mood, I even bake some horse biscuits (recipe below). They are very quick and easy to make, keep well and I haven’t met a horse yet that does not like these – mine will do handstands for them!
Generally it seems very easy to keep your horse happy food-wise, you know best what he eats and needs. Just make sure you have enough of everything for the days you are away, because there rarely are any shops anywhere near us.
I will take a short break over the holidays and will be back with another ‘riveting’ episode in early February. Recently I came across another article with trail riding tips (although from an American perspective) , there is some good stuff in there:
Keep cool and keep riding!
Recipe for Nag’s Nibbles:
Mix 1 cup of grain (whatever mix you have on hand for your horse), 1 large grated carrot, ¼ cup applesauce, ¼ cup of molasses, 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar, ½-¾ cup plain flour and enough water to make a stiff dough. Press this into a lamington pan and cut the dough into 2-3cm squares, bake at 180° C for about 15-20 minutes. The longer they are left, the harder they get! Renew the cuts made before baking and leave to cool. Break them up and keep in a tin or bag in the fridge. They will keep for quite a few days without refrigeration, especially if they’ve been baked a bit longer.