Lack of fibre during the Winter months
The seasons colder temperatures will put extra demands on your horse’s metabolism, pasture will have little nutritional value, water buckets will freeze and forage intake will decline as less time is spent grazing in the cold and wet weather. Feeding alternative forage sources such as hay or haylage will be required during this time to maintain body condition. However some horses, particularly poor doers, may struggle to maintain condition on forage alone and will need an additional feed to help maintain weight.
Dodson & Horrell’s Classic Fibre Cubes is an ideal supplementary feed during the winter months aimed at increasing your horses fibre intake. It’s low in starch and sugar and provides digestible fibre sources such as Wheatfeed, Oatfeed, Soya Hulls and unmolassed Beet Pulp, commonly referred to as “super-fibres”. Providing a supplementary feed like Classic Fibre Cubes will also help your horse maintain its body temperature through the fermentation of digestible fibres in the hindgut, as well as keeping the digestive system healthy.
Adequate fibre intake is a very important factor to consider during winter. Horses should consume a minimum of 1.5% of their bodyweight as fibre per day, for a 500kg horse, this would equate to 7.5kg. During colder months reduced forage intake is common, however a significant amount of energy is used to maintain body temperature. If forage intake isn’t adequate they will start to use their own fat stores, which over time can lead to weight loss.
Reduced water intake is very common in the winter due to colder temperatures, frozen drinking water and supplementary feeding of hay (10% water) rather than grass (80% water) which may increase the risk of dehydration. Horses need to stay well hydrated for optimal organ and metabolic function, as well as to maintaining healthy gut motility. Soaking Dodson & Horrell’s Classic Fibre Cubes into a nice warm mash when the weather is a bit chilly will help increase water intake to maintain health and hydration.
If your horse has a history of dropping weight in winter, start preparing at the end of summer before they start to lose the weight. Monitor their weight every week or two at the end of summer, this will allow you plenty of time to adjust their diet if needed. Dodson & Horrell’s Classic Fibre Cubes is a fully balanced feed that will provide your horse with all the vitamins and minerals they require.
Stay ahead of the game – Winter is better with us!