Winter Feeding Tips

18 January 2017

Our Director of Nutrition, Jane van Lennep BSc., MSc., BHSI(SM Cert)., NPSD., shares advice on how to feed your horse this winter.

Forage first
Make sure your horse always has forage available to eat. Horses generate their heat through fermenting forages in the hindgut. By ensuring your horse has enough hay to eat, you will keep him warm in the coldest weather. Split hay rations into two or three piles spread evenly apart. Encouraging movement will keep your horse exercised, healthier and will help keep his joints in good condition.

Split feeding times
Instead of feeding your horse once a day, try to split feeding times to two or even three times a day (if possible!). Horses are used to eating pretty much constantly.

Check water levels
Monitor your horse’s water daily to ensure he is drinking enough and staying hydrated. Break ice on frozen water troughs (use a cheap colander to sift out chunks of ice) and add in a little hot water to tempt your horse to drink. Soaked forages, such as our Blue Bag Grass Pellets, are a great way to hydrate your horse as well as giving him a nutritious feed. Check hydration by doing a pinch test – a pinch of loose skin on the shoulder should immediately spring back when you let go.

Environmental Enrichment
Enrich your horse’s environment to keep him occupied, particularly if he is stabled for long periods of time in the winter. MeadowBrix are great boredom busters – these are 1kg blocks of compressed grass and the horse has to gnaw and chew on them, mimicking natural grazing. You can feed them in the stable or the field.

You can also give your horse a nut ball with our Organic Lucie Pellets in, this will keep him occupied and encourage trickle feeding.

As a treat, cut up pieces of carrot or apple into batons and hide them in your horse’s hay. Be sure to always feed your horse at or at least near, ground level. 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.

Vitamin boost
Grass has less nutritional value in the winter and so your horse may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals he needs. Feed a balancer to top up any deficiencies. Total Eclipse is a blend of top quality ingredients for our ultimate forage balancer. It provides all the essential vitamins, minerals, trace elements and prebiotic needed - and as we don't use any bulkers or fillers, you only need to feed a small amount.

For more advice on winter feeding, call our Feed Line on 01728 604 008 or email info@simplesystem.co.uk

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