With the challenge of the cold weather, it could be tough for horse owners to sustain their horses’ digestive health. But by carefully managing his food intake in winter, you can reduce the risk of metabolic problems in your horse.
There’s no single formula in achieving the highest state of your horse’s health, but we offer these seven (7) tips to help you manage his digestive system’s special needs like a pro.
Back Off on Starch and Sugar
Diets with a high content of sugar and starch increase the risk of colic and gastric ulcers to horses. If he needs additional calories to maintain his body temperature, you may look for fiber-based feeds or add a high-fat supplement to his diet.
Don’t Let Him Thirst For Water
Always keep an eye on his water intake. Track how much water he is drinking in a day. Your horse is more prone to impaction colic and other digestive problems if he stays dehydrated for long periods. Based on researches, soaking feed may also increase drinking among horses. Try this out on your horse, too!
Feed Small But Frequent Meals
If you’re used to feeding your riding pal one large meal per day in the summer, you shouldn’t be doing it in the winter months. Why? When your horse is fed too much in one sitting, the food won’t be digested effectively. Serving him small, frequent meals allow him to digest the food effectively. When deciding how much he needs to eat, take note of his size and the amount of work he does.
Find the Right Balance of Grain, Hay, and Pasture
Be sure to adjust his food ratio. You can cut back on hay completely if he feeds on lush and thick pasture. In terms of grain, less is always better. Start with a very minimal amount of grain then adjust when necessary. Balancing his winter diet is one key to a healthy digestive system.
Don’t Feed Immediately After Exercise
Your horse needs an hour or so to cool down before his body is ready for food. When feeding him after exercise, be sure to allow him to rest to prepare his digestive system for some work. Wait until his breathing is back to normal and his skin is no longer sweaty or hot. Give an hour or 3-hour interval before giving him something to eat.
When planning your horse’s dietary needs, be careful not to make any of these common feeding mistakes. Check it out here!
Give Him Enough Protein
If he’s not getting a sufficient amount of protein on his diet, he’ll likely feel hungry a while after he eats—which results in overeating. Protein supplements will do, but make sure to choose the right one for him.
Stick to a Consistent Feeding Routine
Any sudden changes on your horse’s feeding schedule can be an annoyance to them. Irregularities on his meal routine are enough to trigger impaction colic. Be sure to keep a constant feeding schedule to ensure his nutrient requirements are met based on his internal clocks.
Remember these tips and you’ll never go wrong in building your horse’s digestive and overall health. Stay tuned to our blog page for more tips and information on horse care. Or, you may contact our horse experts at Texas Made Cattle & Horse, Co to help you with your needs.