Can horses cope with sudden cold weather?
Horses can survive and even thrive in what we consider to be very inhospitable conditions, but they do need plenty of feed to fuel them and keep them warm.
PuraBeet may not be strictly a forage but by heck it is a useful feed this time of year! Like forage most of its calories come from fibre and the fibre in beet pulp is the most easily fermented of all. Our PuraBeet has had as much of its sugar removed as is possible at the factory, then dried and pelleted – no additives, no further processing. It is an amazing soaker-up of water, absorbing around 5 times its volume of water. Not only does this make the feed larger but the horse is eating water – vital at any time but even more important in winter. With no grass to speak of, most of what the horse eats is dry, not naturally moist as is grazing, so water is more important, especially when it is freezing cold and the water turns to ice!
Research has shown that horses prefer the chill off their water in winter, so take a flask of boiling water to the stables and top up a cold bucket of water with a good slosh of boiling water and your horse will be happier and more likely to drink well. Similarly with food – soak your feeds at home and they will not freeze! And they will be warmer. The foot well of your car is another nice warm place! Cold water and cold feed rob the horse of calories to warm them up to body heat, so bringing feed or water nearer to body heat saves vital calories at a time of year when horses need them more than ever.
Make PuraBeet part of your winter routine and help keep your horse fit and healthy. Make it warm and he will not only enjoy it more but benefit as well! Allow 12 hours to soak from cold but if you use hot water (need not be boiling, from the hot tap is fine) it should be lump-free and ready to feed as soon as it is cool enough for the horse to eat safely. You can feed anything up to 0.5% of the horse’s body weight in PuraBeet – that’s the dry weight, before soaking. A small native of 300kg can have up to 1.5 kg per day, an average riding horse of 500 kg, 2.5 kg and a modern Warmblood of 600 kg, 3 kg per day. It is non-heating and can be fed to resting horses as well as those in work. Make all changes of diet gradual.
Hydration only works if the horse has enough salt, so make sure he has free access to a plain salt lick such as our Salt Lick Tub – economical, practical and when it is used up, a really useful feed skip!