Carrots and carrot greens.

11 Casuarina St


South Australia, 5481


Mobile: +61 477 945 006

Food as Medicine

Horses will seek out salts, minerals and specific nutrients from naturally occurring sources like tree bark, roots, flowers, water plants, seaweed, clay, limestone and termite mounds.


A natural diet includes access to a varied range of foods including pasture, hay, grains, seeds and minerals to suit the nutritional and physiological requirements of each horse.


Seasonal vegetables such as carrots and carrot tops, beets and beet leaves, sweet potatoes, broccoli and parsley are well tolerated. Seasonal fruits can include watermelon, apples, tamarind and carob pods.



A Sample of Natural Horse Foods

  • Pasture.
  • Hay. Provides roughage, fibre, some protein, complex carbohydrates and some minerals.
  • Grain: Oats and Barley. Provides protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
  • Seeds: Millet, Linseed and Sunflower seeds. Provides protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
  • Oils: Linseeds/Flax and Sunflower seeds. Provides essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals.                                                                                                                                                        Cold Pressed Flax seed oil and Rice Bran oil. Provides essential fatty acids, protein and anti-oxidants.
  • Seaweed Meal: Mineral rich.
  • Calcium and Magnesium supplement.
  • Herb: Rose hips, Garlic and Calendula flowers.
  • Seasonal green vegetables, root vegetable and sprouts: Broccoli, beet leaves, carrot tops, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and beetroots. Alfalfa sprouts and chickpea sprouts.               Provides vitamin, minerals, antioxidants and small amounts of protein.
  • Seasonal fruits.
  • Natural running water.

A Holistic Approach to Nutrition

The modern horse Equus caballus evolved on the North American continent. Over the millennia horses migrated across the much of the globe. A number of subspecies developed, two of which are commonly known and referred to as the forest horse, the 'coldblood' and the desert horse, the 'hotblood'.


Horses as herbivores having evolved to meet their nutritional needs by grazing on easily digestible, low energy, low protein plant material. The horse evolved to graze and browse, to live in small bands, roaming over considerable distances each day to meet their nutritional requirements.


Digestive System

The equine digestive system has a single small stomach, requiring horses to eat small amounts frequently, throughout the day and night. A healthy horse on average will graze up to 18-20 hours a day and move approximately 15km to 30km each day. Daily routines are habitat dependent.


The fermentation system of the hind gut is designed to process a large percentage of the horses diet, processing and releasing an array of nutrients from the plant material eaten. The small intestine and the hind gut are the sites where the majority of the nutrients are absorbed.


Gut transit time in the horse ranges from 72 to 84 hours. Transit time refers to the time it takes to digest food, from eating an item to passing the undigested remnants in the stool.


Holistic Feeding Practices

A holistic approach to feeding your horse builds optimal health and enables sustainable, quality physical and mental performance.


Domesticated horses need a balanced diet which meets their nutritional needs based on their age, size, weight, gender, level of activity, herd activity, reproductive activity, climatic and seasonal environment.


Access to continuous movement and grazing

For optimal health, horses need access to continuous grazing, browsing and movement. Horses need access to pasture, natural grasses and herbage, roughage, fibre, minerals and clean water.


The diet needs to contain a moderate amount of complete protein, essential fatty acids, complex carbohydrates and a balance of vitamins and minerals.


A variety of seasonal hay, seeds and grains with seasonally appropriate herbs, vegetables, fruits and mineral supplementation will support natural, healthy feeding practices and pasture management.


The social environment

As herd animals, horses need access to a stimulating herd and social life, access to a sense of safety and a form of shelter, to achieve and maintain optimal health.


Domesticated horses rely on their people to provide for their nutritional, physical needs and often social needs.


Horses require a safe and sustainable living environment to maintain a quality of life in their domesticated environment. This is contingent upon people taking responsibility for all of the horses in their care.


Caution regarding the use of Nutritional supplementation: If symptoms get worse discontinue the supplementation. If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a qualified health practitioner or Veterinarian. Depending upon the severity of the problem, prompt conventional first aid may need to be applied and professional help may be required eg fractures, severe and persistent bleeding or diarrhoea, shock, head trauma, poisoning and poisonous bites.

Disclaimer: Information in this page is intended to be an introduction to the concepts of Nutrition and its broad application to natural horse keeping. The information is intended as a guide and not intended to replace the advice of a qualified Veterinarian or health practitioner. Any application of the information included in this web page is done so at the reader’s own discretion and sole risk.

To schedule an appointment contact:

EPR Institute

11 Casuarina St


South Australia, 5481



Mobile: +61 477 945 006