Feed­ing for the colder months

Your Horse (UK) - - Your Horse's Care -

“Au­tumn is a key time to re­ally as­sess your feed­ing regime ahead of the win­ter months,” says equine nu­tri­tion­ist Donna Case. “Through­out the sea­sons, the nutri­tional qual­ity of the grass fluc­tu­ates, and while there may be an au­tumn flush, the grass is now de­clin­ing and changes need to be made to your horse’s diet to com­pen­sate. “The first stop is to eval­u­ate his body con­di­tion to as­sess where he is right now and then do this ev­ery two weeks so changes can be spot­ted quickly. As the coat grows, looks can be de­ceiv­ing, so make sure you phys­i­cally feel too, as this will help you no­tice fluc­tu­a­tions you may not oth­er­wise see.” Donna is also an ad­vo­cate of weigh­tapes. “Al­though they can be slightly in­ac­cu­rate, when used along­side body con­di­tion scor­ing they’re a use­ful tool,” she says. If your horse has put on weight over the sum­mer, use the colder months to get him trim, as you’ll have the nat­u­ral ad­van­tage of re­duced graz­ing. Al­ter­na­tively, if you have a horse who strug­gles to keep weight on, think about pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional calo­ries. “When look­ing at a horse’s regime, I al­ways ad­just the forage lev­els up or down be­fore mak­ing changes to the hard feed,” ex­plains Donna. “If you con­sider that your horse will con­sume be­tween 1.5 % and 2.5% per day in forage. it makes sense to get this right.” Re­mem­ber to in­crease his hay/hay­lage

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