You’ve heard that, when used as a regular part of your horse’s care program or routine, some of the products from hemp may alleviate pain and inflammation, keep skin and coat healthy, and even strengthen your horse’s hooves.
It’s true! The products made from the hemp seed are an all-natural superfood because of the wonderful balance of a complete protein, fatty acids, and fiber.
So, you’re on board to start incorporating hemp into your horse’s diet, but how do you know the best way to do it?
Since we’re talking about your horse’s nutrition and diet, we’ll focus on ingestible hemp products for this particular article.
Rather than leaving you to trial and error to see what works and possibly even create a makeshift science lab in your feed room, The Sturdy Horse is here to help.
We’ll guide you through the sometimes murky waters of hemp and share what we have learned in our years of producing, testing and selling hemp based products for horses, pets and their people. But first a quick background on us.
We started by importing hemp products from Canada because back then it was still illegal in the US. In other words we could import it but not grow or process Hemp in the USA. Once bill 7606 became law we started feeding trials in our own horse’s feed and diets.
Before we ever started The Sturdy Horse, we fed our horse's hemp for years! In other words, when it comes to hemp and horses, we (and our horses) have been around the block a few times.
It Starts With What’s Inside
At The Sturdy Horse, we believe it should be easy for you to understand what you’re feeding your horse. Real feed to get real results naturally is not just our motto—it’s the driving force behind our company.
Our goal is to simplify horse feeding and get horses back to eating real feed. Why? Because horses’ digestive systems are very sensitive and need consistent balance.
Your horse was designed to eat minimally processed real feed that’s free from additives, fillers, artificial flavorings, preservatives, petroleum and synthetics found in many of today’s feeds and supplements. Our baseline rule when it comes to ingredients is simply this; if you can’t pronounce it and know it comes from nature, chances are the horse’s body does not know what to do with it either.
That’s why you should pay close attention to the list of ingredients for the products you are considering as you look for ways to include hemp in your horse’s diet. If you are feeding hemp products that include fillers and “fortified” synthetic ingredients, then it’s possible that your horse won’t experience the full measure of benefits associated with hemp.
This is why our hemp feed and supplements are 100% real feed—no fillers or synthetics. You can use them with confidence.
There are essentially 3 ways we help you include hemp in your horse’s diet at The Sturdy Horse. Let’s dig further into each one so you can determine what fits best with your horse and his or her needs.
3 Ways to Include Hemp In Your Horse’s Diet
1. Top Dressing
A top dressing means that you will literally top your horse’s feed or hay with our hemp seed oil-based dressing.
Because it is produced from the oil from the hemp seed, top dressing is higher in fat and therefore provides the necessary fat energy for your horse. Fat is a more efficient energy source than carbohydrates and protein which means fat molecules literally provide more energy.
Why does this matter? Consider a horse that is only being fed dry hay. As part of their naturally occurring green grazing habits, horses can consume their necessary portion of fatty acids. However, there is no fat in hay, and horses need it to be a consistent portion of their diet because that’s how their systems are designed.
That’s why the top dressing as a supplement to hay is a great way to incorporate the highly beneficial fats from hemp into your horse’s diet.
In addition to being a supplement to hay, we recommend our Head to Hoof™ Omega + Balance Top Dressing for hard-working horses, performance horses, and hard keepers. When you add our top dressing to your horse’s diet, they get the fat as an energy source which is better for him or her in the long run than adding even more carbohydrates to their diet.
Ready to include top dressing in your horse’s diet? Check out our Head to Hoof™ Omega + Balance here.
2. Ground Feed - Large Pellets
You have two options when it comes to real feed supplements to incorporate hemp into your horse’s diet. They both provide a complete protein (all 20 amino acids), fiber, and even some Omega oils. It’s mostly a matter of how you’d like to feed it and what format your horse likes the best.
Your first option is large pellets.
Why large pellets? Because the smaller pellets in your typical horse feed (1/4”) are made under high temperature and pressure—that’s why they are so hard and owners often have to soak the pellets before their horses can even digest them. Why take that extra step? Simplify your feeding!
The high temperatures used to produce most typical horse feed supplements also cook the nutrients right out of the food so they end up having to add “fortified with” ingredients.
That’s why we’re committed to true cold processing techniques for our larger pellets. Our exclusive manufacturer processes our feed with colder temperatures than small pellet and extrusion processes. This way we can retain as many of the nutrients as possible that are naturally provided through the hemp seed.
We recommend feeding ½ to 1.5 lbs per day for maintenance depending on your horse's activity level.
Ready to include large hemp feed pellets in your horse’s diet? Check out our Head to Hoof™ - Hemp Feed Pellets here.
3. Coarse Ground Feed
The second feed supplement option is literally ground up feed so it is in a granular form which makes it easy for mixing in with your usual feed. We recommend starting with the coarse ground feed for the transition period. Once horses are used to the taste of our hemp feed they love it!
One palliative study showed the horses preferred our hemp feed over beet pulp and soy meal. The nice thing about our real feed supplements is that a little goes a long way. We recommend feeding ½ to 1.5 lbs per day for maintenance.
We can even mix this with the hay we grow ourselves. Hay from the San Luis Valley is well known to be some of the world's best quality hay.
The coarse ground hemp feed supplement is essentially the same as the pellets; it is simply ground up for many reasons. It is a great option to help with your horse’s chewing and digestion. We even have had horses with no and minimal teeth consume this product to help them in their twilight years.
Ready to include large hemp feed pellets in your horse’s diet? Check out our Head to Hoof™ - Coarse Ground Hemp Feed.