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.
Horses evolved as grazers for 30 million years and their back, teeth, neck and lungs are all adapted to them eating with their head down. Feeding your horse from the ground carries many benefits. - Back Constant, repetitive tugging at a haynet can cause physical issues. By having his head low to the floor, the horse stretches over his back and keeps his spine aligned. As the horse adopts a more natural head and neck position, there is less strain on the muscles and skeletal system. This is more comfortable and less likely to cause back issues later in life. - Teeth A natural grazing position allows the horse's jaw to come down and forward. This allows the horse to eat without any restriction and enables the teeth to wear down naturally. This will mean a more comfortable mouth for your horse and fewer visits from the dentist. - Neck The repetitive use of haynets can lead to repetitive strain injuries, poll tightness and reduced movement in the neck. Feeding from the ground will encourage your horse to develop the correct muscles, including topline. The natural posture will help keep your horse relaxed physically and mentally. - Lungs There are also respiratory benefits to feeding from ground level. Feeding from the ground allows the horse to keep airways open and allows mucus to drain naturally. This will help prevent respiratory issues, choke and colic. - - - - - Messy horse? If your horse is prone to dragging his hay or haylage into his bed, consider investing in a hay bar or hay manger. You could also fill a big tub with hay, or use a big plastic or wooden box in the stable or field. Overweight horse? If you need to restrict the amount of hay your horse is fed, consider putting hay in separate piles in the field and/or stable. This will encourage your horse to move around and will take him longer to consume the hay. Continue to soak or steam hay to reduce sugar levels and empty the hay onto the ground for your horse to eat. To slow down eating, double net hay and tie the nets behind boards across the corner of the stable so he can be fed at a low level. Tie the nets inside a hay bar as an alternative. - - - - - For personal feeding advice, please contact our Feed Line on 01728 604 008 or email@example.com Photo credit: Heald Town Highland Pony Stud