An abundance of choices
and when How the it much comes United could to States feeding the have Netherlands horses? in common It’s a valid question: After all, the western European country is 237 times smaller than America, with limited, low-lying pastures and a climate that is famously wet and mild. It’s a far cry from the expansive, dry plains of Texas or the snowy mountains of Vermont. But the Dutch culture is as “horsey” as any, with approximately 500,000 regular riders out of a population of only 17 million caring for 450,000 horses. Riding is the second most popular sport in the country, after soccer. Not surprisingly, then, there is a huge industry to support the Dutch equestrian pursuits, ground between and this horse creates owners common in the United States and the Netherlands: Both groups have a huge variety of choice when it comes to feeding. “There are at least 50 to 60 different pelleted concentrates and mixtures from 10 to 20 different companies [available in the The Netherlands],” says Marianne Sloet van OldruitenborghOosterbaan, DVM, PhD, of Utrecht University. Like their American counterparts, many Dutch horse owners make the most of this variety by mixing different grain products and adding supplements to customize meals for each horse “Many owners will buy commercial concentrates,” says Sloet van Oldruitenborgh- Oosterbaan. “But there
Like their American counterparts, many Dutch horse owners mix different grain products and add supplements to customize meals for each horse.
are Horses get products sometimes also from a over lot individual of the 10 people week.” or more that horse different make owners mixes. horse Even owners with these do face choices, feeding Dutch challenges. One of the biggest, says Sloet van Oldruitenborgh- Oosterbaan, is lack of access to pasture in winter. “Most horses get no pasture [during that time] as it is too wet,” she says. To compensate, silage and/or hay is fed. She recommends to her clients that rations be broken up into at least three to four feedings a day, with the first meal at 7 a.m. and the last at 11 p.m.