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.
There’s no getting away from it – autumn has struck with cooler nights, shorter days and more rain. This is a good time to get some weight off horses that have become a little bit, er, chubby shall we say, over summer. For many however, it means additional feeding is needed. Older horses may be having trouble chewing enough forage to hold their weight. If your older horse did not gain as much weight as usual over the summer on grass, take this as a warning he may drop weight when you need to feed hay. Old teeth have shallow roots and are just not as strong as younger teeth. They may all be there and your dentist will make sure there are no sharp bits, but the hands of time keep on turning and if your horse is less inclined to chew for as many hours as before, or is not chewing his feed sufficiently to digest it well, he will drop weight. Offer easy to eat feeds such as HayCare to replace his hay. Use this weight for weight as of hay and soak it in 2.5 times its volume of water for 10 – 15 minutes before feeding. As a guide, a rounded Stubbs scoop holds 2 kg which is similar to a slice of hay off a standard bale. Dry pellets or nuts should not be fed to a dentally challenged horse or any horse who for any reason does not chew well (greedy, tired, threatened by others wanting to eat the food, recovering from surgery, etc.). Horses’ natural diet is grazing and this is more water than anything else, so it makes sense to offer hydrated feeds to all horses. HayCare is made from Timothy grass at the hay stage, so is as near hay as you can get – just easy to eat! It is also properly hydrated so the horse is eating water as well. As it is just Timothy Grass it is suitable for horses allergic or sensitive to many other types of grass. It is fed from a tub at floor level – the natural angle for horses to eat – and there is no waste at all. It is also ideal for horses who cannot tolerate dust as it is dust free. For more information on the nutrition of horses in their 20s and beyond, contact our feed line – 01728 604 008 or email@example.com.