We hope you are enjoying the snow and staying safe and warm. Looking after horses is no easy task in this weather. With the changes in temperature and routine, some horses may be more prone to dehydration, colic and digestive upset. We have included some of our top tips below for keeping your horse healthy and happy in freezing temperatures.
❄ 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 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 hot water to tempt your horse to drink.
Soaked forages, such as our Lucie Nuts or Blue Bag Grass Pellets, are a great way to hydrate your horse as well as giving him a nutritious feed. Soak with warm water if possible.
Check hydration by doing a pinch test – a pinch of loose skin on the shoulder should immediately spring back when you let go.
If your horse is dehydrated, add a dash of apple juice to water to encourage him to drink.
❄ 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 feed 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.
❄ Immune boost
If your horse is prone to digestive upset or needs gut support, feed Eclipse Recovery. This is a natural tonic feed based on wild flower meadow forages to support the immune system. Full of natural vitamins and minerals, it aids those in recovery and optimises fibre digestion.
Article by Simple System Horse Feeds
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