Here’s a good article (not ours but we think worthy of noting see link below) – no fancy new feeds or supplements will truly matter without first meeting the foundational principles that are true for all horses
, regardless of age, breed, condition or purpose. Here’s a precis of the article:
1. Water – the most important nutrient
Did you know? During cold weather, horses drink less, especially if the water is ice cold. This potentially leads to dehydration – the main cause of colic in the winter. Heating water between 45 and 60 degrees F (7 to 15 degrees C) will promote more water consumption. Be sure the heater has no exposed wires that could electrify the water source.
2. Salt is required daily
, regardless of the season
Did you know? In cold seasons, salt helps promote that all-important water consumption. In warm seasons, supplemented salt replaces what is lost from perspiration.
3. Forage is the foundation of the diet – it must flow through the digestive tract 24/7
Did you know? The horse’s stomach produces acid continuously, even when empty. The acid in an empty stomach can lead to the formation of ulcers anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract. The cecum, where fiber is fermented, has its entrance and exit at the top; therefore, it must be full in order to evacuate digested forage. If not, substances sink to the bottom, potentially leading to impactions and sand colic.
An empty stomach causes incredible stress, creating a hormonal response that raises insulin, an inflammatory hormone that can bring on laminitis. Elevated insulin also tells the body to store fat.
Stress from forage restriction can lead to obesity, a damaged metabolic rate, laminitis relapses, and inflammation of the hypothalamic region of the brain, accelerating the development of leptin resistance and even Cushing’s disease.
4. Replace what hay is missing – especially if you are not feeding a mixed species hay
Did you know? Sunlight exposure is needed for vitamin D production. The precursor to vitamin D is naturally found grass hay, but diminishes the longer hay is stored.
5. Movement, companionship and shelter are vital necessities
Did you know? Horses need to move and have the protection of a buddy. Standing in a small area for hours on end (even if part of it is outdoors) takes its toll on your horse’s mental and physical health. So does being isolated from buddies. The stress can be so great that it dramatically diminishes your horse’s quality and length of life by compromising his immune system and hormonal responses.
We talk about diet, management and nutrition endlessy in the mag, so if you are still not sure, find out more by SEARCHING DIET on the mag website: www.barefoothorsemag.com
Diet and management is key to our horses’s health!
The BHM Team
Link to the original article: https://buff.ly/2RtJTKT