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.
In winter it can be hard to strike a balance between horse ownership and day-to-day life; less daylight means many horses spend an increasing amount of time indoors and may also have less interaction with their owners who are dashing back home to thaw out!
Some horse’s enjoy their “home comforts” - a deep bed, a pile of hay and a warm mash of soaked Lucie Nuts, but for others, spending more time stabled can be stressful and take some getting used to. Similar to changing their feed, management changes should also be introduced gradually, so if you know your yard restricts turn out from 1st December for example, start stabling them for short periods now.
If your horse doesn’t cope well with being stabled for longer, there are lots of things you can do to help:
Stressed horses can go off their hay. If this occurs, you can offer an appetising hay replacer. HayCare is a great option as it is highly palatable with the added benefit of aiding fluid intake. Large buckets of soaked HayCare can be left out for your horse to graze upon. One Stubbs scoop of HayCare (dry weight before soaking) is equivalent to one slice of hay from a standard small bale. When soaked this bulks up to around 2.5 times it's original volume!
Simple System Brix can also be used as a partial hay replacer or just to add interest and variety, provided your horse has the appropriate dentition to manage them. Available in 3 forage types (Lucie Brix, MeadowBrix and Sainfoin Brix) they are useful for occupying bored horses, as well as tempting fussy feeders. For a limited time, we also have our Christmas Brix- lucerne blocks with the festive flavour of cinnamon and apple. Prices start at £3.50 for 1kg Christmas Brix.
If your horse is particularly tense or anxious, consider Calm Balance +. This is ideal for long-term use but can also be fed as a 'course' in the build up to a potentially stressful event. For the best feeding protocol for your horse's individual requirements speak with our Feed Line experts. They can be reached on 01728 604 008 or by completing our online form.