The cold snap has finally arrived!
As if the dark mornings and evenings couldn’t be made much worse, we now have to face frozen taps, frozen schools and frozen toes!
The cold weather brings a lot of challenges with it for people with horses, including changes which you might need to make to your horse’s routine and diet. With very little grass in the fields for the majority of us, we need to make sure that our horses are still getting everything they need. For most horses, their time in the stable has also increased, which can cause them to become a bit bored! Presenting food in interesting ways is a great way to keep them entertained and enriched as well as increasing their chew time and forage intake.
Try a few of our ideas with your horse:
- Vegetable Kebabs- really simple to make and horses love them! Simply gather a few of your horse’s favourite vegetables e.g. carrots, apples, suedes etc. and create a hole in the centre. Thread some baler twine through the holes of each vegetable and secure. For best results, hang somewhere in your horse’s stable where he can’t press it up against a wall, this makes getting the vegetables off even harder and keeps them entertained for longer!
- Create a “hot mash”- another really simple but effective way of increasing fibre intake. For this, you will need Saracen Super Fibre Cubes, a kettle and water. Boil the kettle and simply add the hot water to a bucket of Super Fibre Cubes, allow to cool for a few minutes, then give to your horse. Mashes are often thought to be for horses who suffer with poor teeth, but all horses can enjoy a delicious mash! Introduce feeding mashes slowly to avoid digestive upset and avoid feeding as a ‘one off’, e.g. feeding a warm mash on a cold evening. Due to the sensitivity of the horse’s digestive system, you could be doing more harm than good. If you want to help your horse stay warm, it is better to feed them their normal ration and give some addition hay to help them warm up from the inside out.
- Fibre First, Cafeteria Style! – Horse’s natural “browsing” behaviour favours a cafeteria style approach. If you’re having to feed a lot of hay to compensate for a lack of grass, sometimes presenting the horse with a large haynet can be overwhelming for them. Also remember that hay and grass are not the only fibre sources. Saracen Super Fibre Cubes, short chop chaffs and soaked sugarbeet are also good sources of fibre for horses. By giving a treat ball (Drip Feeder) and a bucket of chaff, as well as hanging a few haynets around the stable, your horse is more likely to get all the fibre he needs. For reference, the minimum recommended amount of forage for a horse is 1.5kg of forage per 100kg of bodyweight.
- Drip Feeders- Red Gorilla Drip Feeders are currently on offer this month in store! Pick up some Saracen Super Fibre Cubes, pour some into the Drip Feeder and let your horse enjoy the fun! These are suitable for both the field and the stable and now just £13.49.
- Keep Reviewing Your Feed – over January and February, the chances are that your horse isn’t in as much work and their daily routine has changed somewhat due to the extremely cold temperatures. It’s often forgotten that even over the winter, issues such as Laminitis and EMS can still occur, despite being more frequently associated with summer and spring. By body condition scoring, you can monitor your horse’s weight more effectively and look for increases and decreases in weight. This can be followed by phoning the Saracen Feed Advice Line with any questions about how you can manage your horse’s weight, whether they struggle to keep weight on or you still can’t seem to shift those extra pounds after Christmas!
For feed advice, please contact the Saracen Feed Advice line on 01622 718 487. Or alternatively, fill out the Feed Advice Form.