Being wild horses, newly adopted mustangs would have very different feeding requirements than domesticated horses. The volunteers at International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros or ISPMB mention that these horses are ideally used to roaming across large distances over varied terrain, and eating native plants and grasses that have low nutritional value. Hence, a good part of their digestive tract volume is dedicated to forage fermentation, due to which they constantly secrete stomach acid and bile, no matter whether they are eating or not. This factor has to be taken into consideration when feeding newly adopted mustangs.
ISPMB is the oldest wild horse and burro organization in the United States of America. They have been focused on protecting and preserving the wild horses and burros of the nation for more than six decades now. The volunteers at International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros advice that newly adopted mustangs should ideally be fed alfalfa. This is readily available and more affordable in comparison to grass hay in the Western states. It would be a good idea to keep feeding the mustang alfalfa till they are perfectly settled into the new environment. As per certain research, feeding alfalfa to horses helps in buffering stomach acids and can reduce the risk of developing an ulcer. With time, one may transition to grass hay and some alfalfa or all grass hay. This will make sure that the horse can be fed more total pounds of hay, which is pretty good for their digestive health. One should try to keep hay in front of their newly adopted mustang as much as possible, and consider training them to eat from a slow feeder with time, which helps in mimicking natural grazing. It is important to see to it that the mustang is consuming enough salt, no matter in block or lose form. In many cases, newly adopted mustang refuses to feed from a bucket. Hence, using a wide shallow pan for feeding salt to them might work better.
The volunteers at International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros mention that at some point, the mustangs must be given an added source of minerals, vitamins, and even quality protein to support their diet. Owing to their low-calorie content, a commercially available ration balancing feed can be a good choice for this purpose. The horse owners can even opt for a lower-calorie supplement fed in some hay pellets. However, it is crucial to note that the mustang would need extra calories when they get into more active work. In this situation, increasing their forage intake shall be the best solution. Conversely, usage of low-starch feeds found in the market can be a good choice for the horses. However, one must feed at the full level set by the manufacturer of these feeds; otherwise, the mustang won’t be able to get the maximum benefit of the mineral and vitamins present in it.