The dreary Winter weather can not only affect our exercise and diet programmes, but those of our horses as well! Reduced light can impact turnout and exercise regimes, and chilly temperatures can impact feed, forage, and water intake resulting in your horse spending more time at maintenance. All less than ideal.
We’ve put together some tips for you to consider whilst we wait for Spring to arrive and wipe away the cold and dark nights:
- It’s natural for some horses to gain condition due to reduced exercise and turnout, whereas some will be stressed leading to a reduced appetite and subsequent weight loss – it’s important to monitor the condition of your horse regularly and we suggest using a weigh tape to measure your horse's bodyweight every fortnight is the most accessible method, however, you can also use body condition scoring. We have more information on how to assess your horse’s body condition here - How To Score Your Horse.
- Spread your horse's meals out as much as possible over the day, including a late evening feed. By doing this it will help to reduce their boredom levels and promote healthy hindgut function as this will mimic the horse's natural trickle feeding requirements
- We all know how boring long periods in the stable can be, especially in the cold and wet climates but ensuring that your horse has plenty of forage to chew can help to prevent boredom and ensure that they are getting the basic levels of nutrition required. Where possible, forage should be provided on an ad-lib basis
- It’s a good idea to get your hay or haylage analysed so you can determine the percentage of daily vitamins and minerals this will provide; any additional preparation recommendations can be made. We provide a hay analysis service which can be arranged by calling our nutritional helpline (link to helpline page)
- To prevent freezing over and your horse not having access to water, try to place your buckets on the interior walls within the stable. It is also a great time to consider introducing a second water bucket with electrolytes to encourage continued hydration if your horse’s water intake has decreased
- You’re not alone - our Nutritional Advisors can help you find the best feed for your horse whilst they are spending more time in the stables. Contact us on our helpline 01832 737 300, option 3 or the Live Chat option on our website. 👍☎️
Here are our top products recommended by our Nutritional Helpline to think about when feeding your horse at maintenance:
- Ultimate Balancer - Ideal for good doers to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals they need. High in essential amino acids, B-vitamins and antioxidants to promote recovery.
- KwikBeet - Fast-soaking, highly palatable, flaked sugar beet which provides a tasty source of highly digestible fibre and calories, an easy way to increase water intake.
- Digestive Support - A combined approach digestive supplement containing Yeast, Pre-biotics and Psyllium for the nutritional maintenance of healthy hindgut function and pH.