Winter is a tricky season for horse owners as it can bring fluctuations in a horse’s weight. For this to not happen, it is important to have your horse maintain an optimal condition. If your horse struggles at this time of year to maintain an optimal condition, it is important to review their feeding routine to ensure they are carrying adequate condition to allow their body to better thermoregulate against the cold.
If your horse is underweight, consider checking with your vet to see whether there are any underlying disorders or health concerns causing unexpected weight loss. Alongside that, have your equine dentist come and check whether your horse’s teeth might be contributing to the loss in their condition, especially if they are older.
Once the vet and/or dentist has visited, consider secondly the horses’ diet. Forage, forage, and forage! The most crucial part of the horses’ diet is forage. Your horse must be consuming at least 1.5% (ideally 2%) of their total body weight in forage dry matter weight, whether that be hay, haylage, and/or pasture grass. Some horses can do well with balanced forage only diets, depending on their age, breed, sex, discipline, etc.
However, if your horse needs a little extra help, then consider adding a concentrate feed or adjusting the one you are using as part of their diet. Here are some options from Dodson & Horrell that would complement a horse needing extra condition during the winter, Build & Glow, Barley Rings and Build Up Conditioning Mix.
When you have adjusted your diet to include the recommended additions, make sure to monitor the condition of your horse over the winter for their progress. If there is no change, then make sure to consider all aspects of their feeding, management, and health. Our nutrition team would be happy to help, and are available on our website Livechat service at www.dodsonandhorrell.com, over email through HelplineEnquiries@dodsonandhorrell.com, or over the phone by ringing +44(0)1270 782223.