With the winter temperatures fluctuating, and the weather causing havoc across the country, getting the right nutrition into our horses at this time of year is no easy job! Whether your horse is living out 24/7 or is being turned out for a few hours a day, their nutritional needs are still as important as ever and some horses can struggle to keep their condition.
Let’s start with some tips on what you can do if you are struggling with turnout this winter:
- Provide ad lib forage to encourage your horse to eat little and often during their time stabled and whilst turned out.
- If when stabled, they are in need of a boredom breaker to keep them mentally stimulated, try adding High Fibre Nuts to a treat ball.
- Exercise where possible, even if you have to walk your horse in-hand, just getting them out of the stable and moving is key.
- Offer a hay replacer if you have a golden oldie who struggles to chew hay – our ‘Hay-in-a-bucket’ consists of Alfalfa, with Kwikbeet and High Fibre Nuts, all fed at 600g/100kg of bodyweight per day.
Feeding for a Healthy Weight Gain
When it comes to a healthy weight gain, it is always important to make any changes or adjustments very gradually. Introducing a new food instantly can compromise their digestive health and potentially cause nutrition related clinical conditions. It is always good to rule out any health issues such as worms or poor dental health before making changes, otherwise the nutrition being provided won’t be efficiently digested and utilised.
A good starting point is to ensure your horse is receiving enough forage when grazing is scarce. If ad lib forage isn’t an option, it is really important to ensure they receive between 1.5% and 2% of their bodyweight in dry matter (forage) per day. This ensures digestive health through encouraging chewing, saliva production and natural trickle feeding behaviour. After considering their forage/ fibre intake as the core of their ration, their concentrate feed should complement this. With a healthy weight gain in mind, products that are high in oil and fibre are ideal. Our Fibre Fusion offers a palatable blend of fibres, high oil content and added digestive support (prebiotic, probiotic + fibre complex). High oil and fibre products provide a steady release of energy, ensuring cool condition.
Horses that are going through a healthy weight gain process, should have their body condition score reassessed every 2 weeks, to ensure a steady progression and maintenance of a healthy body condition.
Our Helpline team are always on hand to answer any queries and help as best they can, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any advice or reassurance with your feeding regime. Please call on 01270 782 223, email via email@example.com or reach out through our LiveChat on the website.