During the colder winter months, a horse needs extra energy to maintain its body temperature without decreasing its weight or creating stress for extended periods of time. On average a horse has a roughly 25% higher energy level requirements during the colder months than in the warmer months. This figure can vary though on a number of factors. An owner should always consider the following before implementing a higher energy diet during the winter months:
Once a horse has reached its LCT then it means it is time to increase the caloric intake of the horse to meet the higher energy needs. If not then a horse will begin suffering from cold stress (caused by a horse burning energy to warm up) and if cold stress persists for a day or two, then a horse will begin losing weight.
When looking to increase the caloric energy intake of a horse there are numerous things to take into account such as: what sort of forage is best, is feed necessary, are supplements necessary, and how to know if a horse has an inadequate feed intake. Here we have out lined some useful information, to go along with the information above on energy concerns, when it comes to feeding your horse in winter.
Equally important is being able to recognize inadequate feed and or water intake along with being able to accurately recognize weight loss through routine observations. When it comes to inadequate feed/water intake there are clear signs that can give a horse owner or groom an indication that this might be an issue. Feces that is dry and or sparse, a reduced feed intake, increased wood chewing activity, and weight loss are all indicators of an issue with inadequate feed/water intake. An easy way to check for weight loss, if there is no access to a weight tape or a Body Condition Score (BCS), is to feel a horse’s ribs and neck to verify if there is a loss of condition. This is especially useful when a thinker coat of hair or blankets make it harder to notice weight changes at a glance.
Using the points out lined in this article you will be able to properly feed you horse during the colder months and ensure proper energy levels resulting in a horse that is calm, comfy, happy, and ready to perform. Just like the Masters Circle riders of the ETA-Equine riding team who all use the specially developed blends of premium ETA-Equine horse hay.
In concordance with and special thanks too,
Carey A. Williams, Ph.D., Associate Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences
Sarah Ralston, VMD, Ph.D., DACVN, Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences
Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyX
Wellington, Florida (February 3, 2016) – The pristine 100-stall farm boasting two covered arenas, two outdoor all-weather arenas with GGT footing & grass field for flat work, International Dressage Academy (IDA Farm) owned by Harry Knopp is continuing its commitment to excellence for its clients by purchasing only MASTERS CIRCLE hay and supplements for their horses and plans to make the brand available to everyone in the Wellington area by delivering supplements and hay in small or large quantities.
Wellington, Florida (December 07, 2015) – Highly regarded dressage rider and trainer Mary Bahniuk Lauritsen has been selected as a Brand Ambassador to represent Masters Circle, a leader in equine nutrition.