I read “Equine Cuisine Around the World” (EQUUS 482) with great pleasure. I have just returned from a vacation in Spain, during which I took dressage lessons at Hipica San Jose in Almonacid de Toledo. There, as a reward treat, the horses are fed a goodsized piece of hard bread.
The hard bread is left over from the previous day. Bread in Spain does not have preservatives or dough conditioners added, so it becomes hard by the next morning. People buy their bread fresh daily, just enough for the day.
I gave a piece of hard bread to the horse I rode each day as a reward. I have never seen a horse devour his reward so contentedly. John Maieron Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Starting at about age 19, I left the United States and lived in Canada, Holland, Germany and England while working with horses. Back in the 1970s, while caring for 16 horses in Canada, I made my own sweet feed with oats, corn, molasses and I don’t even remember what all, but the horses loved it.
Living with my aunt and uncle in Holland, I noticed that stale bread was fed to the horses as an end-of-day “treat,” and they liked it ever so much! There were no preservatives in any of the bread so it got stale daily. Of course, they also got apples and carrots.
After this I worked at a famous stable in Germany. I was appalled that, for the first and only time in my experience, the horses were not allowed free water, but were “watered” only twice a day. The water was offered in large buckets from which they could drink their fill, but they could not have water at any other times. I did wonder why this was, but as I was a lowly working student, I did not question the practice.
In Sussex, England, I was in charge of a barn of event horses. They were fed primarily oats and hay, with luscious pasture, but once a week, the lady of the house cooked a branlinseed mash, stirring it all day long until it was very gooey and viscous. The horses liked it a lot.
I originally learned to ride at Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, New York. The owners there had a hydroponic operation for raising oats, and many of their horses got sprouted oats in their feed, which they loved. It was a way of giving fresh greens to horses who didn’t get enough turnout.