Horse Feed Across Europe : There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to horse care, with every owner having a different approach to suit their lifestyle. From different feeding styles and activity levels to varying living conditions and the addition of stable rugs, the routine you find yourself in will depend on multiple factors. As well as the differences we have seen in feed across the country, the overarching differences become even more apparent on a global scale, with notable differences in the accessibility of feed and the living conditions affecting dietary requirements. We’ve had a look at the approaches to horse feed in some varying countries across Europe:
Especially during the winter months, the cold climate in Sweden can make it difficult to grow. As September comes around, outdoor grazing stops becoming an option and storing hay also becomes difficult due to the extreme temperatures going well into the minuses, causing quick mould growth due to the cold and damp. To find accessible feed that doesn’t require tough storage conditions which require a lot of time and maintenance, many horse owners purchase commercial feed mixes due to their reliability and convenience. Where needed, additional mineral supplements are available so horses can get the specific nutrients they need.
The dietary standards of horses in Italy have previously been one of discussion, with some concern over limited nutrition which has been analysed by equine professionals. As standard across the country, a diet of meadow hay and basic cereals is a common ground, providing limited goodness to the body and arguably failing to meet their welfare needs. Over more recent years, you could say that more attention has been put on the dietary needs of the horse, but in comparison to other European nations, Italy spends little time preparing their horses feed and offering the necessary nutrition.
Show jumping is a big industry in Italy, with the nation enjoying to watch and participate in the sport. Although active horses require a specialist diet, Italy see little correlation between performance and diet so feed remains fairly basic. There are a limited choice of commercial feeds available to choose from, but demand is low so additional supplements and vitamins are not commonplace.
Across the Netherlands, riding is a particularly popular sport and associated horse care is a large industry. There are a variety of commercial mixes available on the market, but the training regimes of many horses mean that their owners tend to customize their feed to suit their levels of activity.
When it comes to pasture, again the country struggles with grazing due to the wet conditions which lead to a lack of growth over the winter months. With a shortage of pasture for numerous months of the year, it tends to be rationed and not available throughout the day as it is in many other countries. Many horse owners tend to mix grain products with their own choice of supplements so their horse can get the nutrients they need easily.