What to Feed Horses for a Healthy New Year
Happy New Year! If you’re making resolutions to ensure your horse enjoys a healthy 2020, we’ve got some suggestions for you to consider.
Start with BCS
A crucial first step is to assess your horses’ body condition. Body condition scoring gives you an overall picture of body fat, which can help you determine an appropriate nutrition plan.
Similar to humans, a horse at a healthy weight reaps multiple benefits. For horses, these benefits can include a decreased risk for developing hormonal imbalances that can lead to insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome, and laminitis.
A healthy BCS is not set in stone; it will vary based on your horse’s breed and even the type of work they do. For example, racehorses tend to have a lower “ideal” BCS than reining horses or broodmares. Also, a horse’s body condition will fluctuate throughout the year. When they have access to green, lush pasture, their body condition will likely increase. When they are eating mostly hay, their body condition may decrease. We recommend that you regularly monitor your horse’s condition so that you can determine whether or not you need to adjust your feeding program.
What to feed horses if they’re underweight
Since we’re in the middle of winter, your horse’s body condition may dip below a recommended average score of a 5 as the weather turns colder meaning you may need to increase his total number of calories. Start by beefing up his access to a good quality legume hay, which is more calorie-dense than grass hays. In addition, offer a concentrate like Prep 14 or Fibrenergy; these feeds both have significantly more calories than conventional sweet feeds.
What to feed horses if they’re overweight
As spring approaches and your horse can eat plenty of fresh pasture, his body condition may naturally increase. Be sure to monitor him regularly so that you can ensure his body condition score stays in the healthy range. If it creeps up above 7, you’ll want to limit his total calories. As always, forage should be the foundation of his diet. However, he may not need the additional calories of a concentrate. Instead, try supplementing his forage with Stamm 30 to ensure he’s getting the nutrients he needs without adding extra calories.
What to feed horses at a healthy weight
If your horse is in good condition, there’s no need to change their diet. As long as their exercise regimen remains steady, they’re likely getting the appropriate amount of calories and nutrients through their forage and concentrate.
A good quality nutrition plan can serve as a foundation for a healthy 2020. You can contact our team; we’re always happy to help you find just the right feed to maximize your horse’s health and wellness.