Top Tips for Feeding Your Horse
Have a plan for transitioning your horse’s feeding program from winter to spring?
Feeding your horse during the longer days and warmer temperatures of the spring season can often be different than your chosen winter-feeding program. Here are some things to keep in mind to help your horse make a smooth transition:
Tip Number 1: Monitor Your Horse’s Body Condition
- Before even thinking of altering your horse’s spring-feeding regimen, first evaluate his body condition. With the help of your veterinarian or a knowledgeable equine professional, determine if your horse is too skinny, too fat or carrying just the right amount of weight.
- Once you have estimated the level of fat cover, you will be able to more accurately determine whether you should increase or decrease your horse’s caloric intake.
- It is important to note that each horse will require a different body condition level that is dependent on a number of factors, including: age, level of work, breed, current or past injuries, etc.
Tip 2: Don’t Forget About Concentrates (Grain)
- Many horses are fed grain on a daily basis. Adjusting the type and amount of concentrate or grain your horse consumes should be done slowly and carefully. A horse’s internal digestive system is built for slow changes.
- With this in mind, monitor his level of work and body condition. If your horse’s work level is increased, he might need to receive more grain. Conversely, if his work level remains the same, and he is able to safely consume spring grasses, then your horse might need to receive fewer concentrates.
Tip 3: Horses Tend to Eat A lot of Forage
- Forage is only as good as the fiber that it contains.
- Pastures often lay dormant during winter, which can reduce a horse’s natural intake of grass forage. As a result, many equestrians will feed their horses extra forage via hay or beet pulp. This feeding tactic can be great for the cold months, but it should be re-evaluated in spring.
- When spring arrives, most pasture paddocks will be filled with new grasses rich in sugar. Monitor your horse’s body condition score as it begins to consume the rich green grasses.
Lastly, Tip #4: Lots of Fresh Water
- This last suggestion holds true in any season: Horses need to have access to plenty of fresh water 24 hours a day.
- Warmer temperatures and an increase in body sweat can result in dehydration.
- Some equestrians also add electrolyte supplements to their horse’s feed. These supplements can help replenish essential nutrients during particularly warm or hot weather.
Spring is a fantastic time of year for horses and equestrians, as you consider making any changes to your horse’s spring feeding regime, be sure to make the changes slowly and consult a nutritionist or your veterinarian for advice or guidance.
You’ll find more helpful tips for bringing your making a smooth transition from winter to spring feeding for your horse at Nutrenaworld.com.
Make sure to visit your local Runnings for nutritional, quality Nutrena equine food and products.