3. FEED PLENTY OF FORAGE.
When pasture dies back in winter, hay replaces grass as the foundation of a horse’s diet. A horse on adequate pasture full-time will be continuously digesting water-rich grass, ideal for preventing colic. In winter, however, meals of dry hay are more common and can be associated with colic. Not only is drier forage more likely to create intestinal blockages, but the gut slows in the hours spent waiting for hay to be served twice a day.
Forage also figures in another common wintertime challenge: Horses will burn more calories in cold weather to stay warm and, in some cases, may begin to drop weight as a result. The natural instinct is to increase a horse’s feed to counteract the weight loss. But increasing grain instead of forage is a mistake. Not only are you missing the opportunity to provide more gut-healthy hay, but the additional concentrates can lead to gas colic as the high-calorie feed ferments in the gut.
The best wintertime feeding practices include frequent, primarily haybased meals. Using a slow feeder to