Feeding for light to moderate work in the winter months

Winter is a tricky season that brings many nutritional challenges. Pasture will have little nutritional value, water buckets will freeze and forage intake will decline as less time is spent grazing. With the colder temperatures putting extra demands on the horse’s metabolism, it is time to start thinking about how your horse’s nutritional requirement will change and how to maintain their condition through the winter months.

More energy will be required when it’s colder for maintenance, condition, work and simply to keep warm. Forage is the foundation of all horse’s diets and it is a very important factor to consider during winter. Horses should consume a minimum of 1.5% of their bodyweight as forage per day, for a 500kg horse, this would equate to 7.5kg. Fibre undergoes fermentation in the hindgut, this process produces heat which keeps horses warm and Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs) - which is an important energy source for the horse. However for some horses, particularly working horses and poor doers, they may struggle to maintain condition on forage alone and additional feeding may be required to maintain condition through winter.

Dodson & Horrell’s Pasture Mix is a great step up from a lower calorie fibre cube providing additional calories/energy through the winter months for those in light to medium work. It is a non-heating formulation providing quality protein and digestible fibre sources such as wheatfeed & oatfeed.

Another common problem during the winter is reduced water intake which can increase the risk of dehydration. This is due to colder temperatures (less sweating), frozen/cold drinking water and supplementary feeding of hay (10% water) rather than grass (80% water). Horses need to stay well hydrated for general organ function. Dodson & Horrell’s Pasture Mix can be soaked into a nice warm mash to help increase water intake on those cold winter days. Additionally, this feed contains a herbal blend of mint, basil, garlic and oregano, when soaked it gives a delicious aroma that your horse will love, ensuring your horse receives all their essential nutrients and are kept well hydrated through winter.

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