Horse Health Tips for Winter and Cold Weather Care
When the seasons change and the temperature drops, equine nutrition and care needs change as well. We wanted to share some winter feeding and care tips. Because the horse's energy requirements change as the temperature drops it is important to accommodate their needs and equine nutrition requirements appropriately. On average for every degree below 18°F the horse requires an additional 1% energy in their diet.
Equine Nutrition Options for Additional Energy for Winter Feeding
The best option is to increase your horse's fiber intake. The volatile fatty acids produced in the hind gut of the horse during microbial fermentation is a great energy source for the horse. For horses that do not have access to turn out you can provide a slow feeder to help spread the intake of the increased forage amount out to make it last longer. Which will benefit the horse's entire GI tract.
Of course adding forage and fiber to the diet also increases the need to be certain the horse has adequate water to prevent blockage and impaction. Utilizing a tank heater will encourage the horse to drink. When providing dry forage this is imperative to ensure the proper flow of the digestive system.
Soaked beet pulp shreds or pellets are another option to add to your horse's diet to increase fiber intake. Soaking at room temperature or even with warm water can be additional ways to pamper your horse during cold weather months.
Additional Equine Nutrition Tips
- Utilize Ginger – This warming herb has long been used for the circulatory and digestive systems. It can improve circulation to all parts of the body. Ginger can be used topically via a therapeutic grade essential oil or as a dietary supplement via herb or essential oil.
- Trace minerals– be sure to be offering or feeding an organic trace mineral option during the winter months.
- Additional Joint Care– Some horses really struggle with mobility in the cold, offering them a joint supplement that has ingredients like MSM, curcumin, collagen, and other organic ingredients will foster health of the joints through the cold weather months. My mare gets extra care in the winter, because the cold is hard on her. I utilize additional therapy products and essential oils to give her the boost she needs to stay comfortable and thriving through the winter.
If you are looking for guidance on what products or options would best fit your horse contact us today, we are happy to help you design care that is unique and individualized for your horse's specific needs.
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