Horse in Winter: Feeding Tips
Tips and guidance on how to provide winter horse feed. To learn more about feeding horses in the winter, read the information in this article.
Wednesday 17 March 2010
Planning equine nutrition during the winter months can be tricky. In this guide, we consider winter horse feed and the best methods of feeding horses living through the challenging wintery conditions. To learn more about feeding a horse in winter, read the information below.
Feeding Horse in the Winter – An Advice Guide
- The key thing to remember during the winter months is that pasture conditions will become challenging – the lower temperatures will slow plant growth and the hay will start to lose many of the rich nutrients and vitamins that are so essential to a horse’s overall health.
- The quality of the hay will begin to decrease as the cold, wet weather begins to settle in for the winter. Key nutrients that will be lost include fatty acids, Vitamins A, C and E, and due to limited hours of sun, the horse will also require an alternative source of Vitamin D. In most cases, the only way to ensure a horse does not lose these essential nutrients from its daily diet is to provide an alternative supplement.
- Protein can also prove hard to come by once the winter weather begins to bite. Keep your horse’s diet balanced and protein levels at an acceptable rate by integrating alfalfa into the horse feed. This helpful foodstuff provides much of the protein a horse will need to stay in top condition during the winter. If externally (the coat, hooves, skin etc) you begin to notice changes in the horse’s conformation, this could indicate a deficiency in protein levels.
- Finally, it’s essential to make regular checks on the horse’s water supply throughout the winter – particularly when temperatures begin to drop below freezing. A horse needs ready access to a water supply throughout the year, and you should ensure that the water is warm enough for the horse to drink without discomfort. A winter horse feed schedule can be a little daunting to plan, but it’s essential to carry out the correct techniques to ensure the horse stays healthy even when the cold snap creates chaos.
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