With all of this in mind, there is a four-step ap­proach to feed­ing older horses in the win­ter.

NZ Horse & Pony - - Our Month -

1. Try to put weight on your older horse in the au­tumn, so he goes into win­ter with a body con­di­tion score of at least 5; ribs not vis­i­ble, fat around his tail head slightly spongy, and his shoul­der blend­ing smoothly into his body. But don’t overdo it; older joints don’t need to be car­ry­ing an obese body around. 2. In­crease a horse’s feed in­take dur­ing the win­ter months. An ideal is free-choice hay all day and all night. Older horses with den­tal is­sues may find it hard to chew hay prop­erly, so you can try a chopped hay/chaff prod­uct, or hay­lage. Soaked sug­ar­beet is another easily di­gested source of fi­bre. 3. Feed only good qual­ity hay. Stemmy, stalky hay is not di­gested well by horses of any age, mak­ing it use­less in help­ing a horse gain body con­di­tion or stay warm. 4. Mon­i­tor your older horse’s weight dur­ing the sea­son, in­creas­ing feed if nec­es­sary. Dave sug­gests adding calo­ries as “lovely, energy-dense oil” (in­tro­duced grad­u­ally to the diet), and also swears by Gum­nuts. Lucy says that many older horses do best on soaked or moist feeds, or pro­cessed/steam-con­di­tioned feeds. “And highly di­gestible sources of pro­tein, such as milk-based prod­ucts, heat-pro­cessed pro­tein grains or pro­cessed (en­siled or pel­leted) lucerne can be good at pre­vent­ing mus­cle loss.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.