Why is it important for a horse to be at an ideal condition?
Winter is a tricky season for horse owners as it can bring fluctuations in a horse’s weight. To avoid this happening, it is important your horse maintains optimal condition. Holding a slight excess of weight during winter can be a good thing in the absence of heavy rugging, as it provides insulation from the cold. However, if your horse is naturally a good doer, being consistently overweight may lead to nutritional disorders that cause serious health implications for your horse, such as laminitis, EMS, etc.
What should you do next?
If your horse is over conditioned (more adipose tissue covering the ribs, rump, and neck), have your vet visit to check whether your horse already has a nutritional disorder to be able to then take the necessary steps in terms of treatment and your horse’s diet. Once a check has been done, consider what you are feeding your horse and whether any changes can be made to help.
Firstly, check whether your horse has enough forage in their diet. They should be consuming at least 1.5% (ideally 2%) of their bodyweight in hay, haylage, and/or pasture. A good doer might get enough calories to maintain their weight just from forage alone, especially if they’re not in work.
Secondly, ensure your horse is getting the vitamins and minerals they need to balance the forage in their diet, and provide the nutrients that a forage only diet will lack. Kilogram per kilogram, balancers are lower in calories, sugar, and starch than a normal feed. Despite being lower in these fields, all the essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are still included to meet your horse’s needs. Our Go Lite Balancer and Senior Support Balancer provide supplementary benefits for joint care, hoof, and digestive support.
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 nutritional 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.