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Feeding horses in cold weather

Feeding horses in cold weather

08 February 2024

The MET office has weather warnings in place for much of the UK. Please ensure your horses have sufficient intake of forage and water to minimise the risk of gastric issues, impaction colic and dehydration.

Here are our Feed Line's top tips for feeding in winter weather.

  • Provide additional forage. Keeping warm in cold weather requires calories. Simple System pelleted forages can all be used in greater quantities to give extra nutrition. As they are digested in the same way as hay or grazing, they can be fed as generously as needed. There's no limit to meal size with Simple System forage feeds so the horses can be left with large feeds to see them through.
  • Take the food to the horses - don't expect them to brave extreme weather to come for food. When putting out feed and hay, notice where the horses are happy to stand. In severe conditions, they will find the most sheltered spot to keep out of the worst of the weather and will be reluctant to move away to graze, drink or eat a feed.
  • Offer variety to tempt reluctant eaters. If your horse has hay, which is typically made from grass, try soaked Sainfoin Pellets (100% sainfoin) or Lucie Nuts (100% lucerne) for their feed. A varied diet is beneficial for all horses so this is a good idea in all weathers!

Cold weather can make horses reluctant to drink. Here's a few things you can try to help...

  • Offer feeds as a warm mash. We always recommend soaking our Simple System feeds to increase hydration and reduce the risk of choke. Using warm water instead of cold not only speeds up soaking times, it will also be much appreciated by your horse. PuraBeet is a great choice for adding hydration as it soaks up to 5 times it's volume in water, double that of our other pellets.
  • Provide a bucket of warm (not hot) water. Horses typically do not enjoy drinking very cold water, so take the chill off by adding a kettle of hot water to their buckets.
  • Consider offering a 'water bar'. Give your horse a choice of different water options. Offer plain water, warm water, salted water and flavoured options - a handful of Veteran Balance + , MetaSlim or TopGain added to a bucket of water can work a treat.

If you'd like to discuss cold weather feeding with our nutrition team, they are available on 01728 604 008. You can also request a Feed Plan using our advice request form. The image used was kindly sent in by Simple System customer, Jane McDonough. Shanti is fed a diet of Lucie Nuts, Timothy Chop and Eclipse Recovery. She also enjoys Sainfoin Pellets, fed in a treat ball, for enrichment and variety.

Featured Products

Premium 12mm lucerne nuts, naturally high in calcium & protein to support muscles & bones.


A balancing feed, specifically designed for those challenged by weight or metabolic issues including those affecting their feet.


Unmolassed beetpulp pellets - a source of high quality digestible fibre, with no added sugar.


Premium forage alternative to lucerne and grass, rich in natural minerals and trace elements.


A blend of highly nutritious, natural ingredients for a convenient, nutrient rich, top up feed.


A comprehensive forage balancer with natural joint care. Designed to support older or harder working horses, aiding comfort, flexibility and range of motion.


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