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February 14, 2012

A Horse’s Winter Diet

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Winter diets usually include supplements for two reasons: nutrients and energy. Hay and dormant grasses don’t have the same nutritional value as fresh pasture. Vitamin & mineral supplements supply the horse with what they are lacking from those sources.  A good comprehensive vitamin and mineral supplement such as Platinum Performance or Horse Guard will provide the necessary nutrients to help keep your horse healthy in the cold winter months.

 

Also, a supplement like Excel® keeps the digestive tract healthy and able to absorb the nutrients to enhance warmth. In addition, A.B.C.’s Energy, which provides additional calories to the body, can be tremendously helpful in meeting the increased demands from the body to maintain warmth and proper weight. It is recommended to feed these supplements over low glycemic index feeds such as rice bran.

Shelter

Horses should have access to shelter from extreme weather. Consider horse instincts and herd pecking orders when deciding shelter design. An enclosed, multi-sided structure may increase horse injury to horses on the low end of the herd dominance order. In this type of structure dominant horses will keep others from having access. The more submissive horses generally will need more shelter because they are the ones that are usually in the least favorable body condition.

Other Fundamentals

  • Proper dental care
  • Proper digestive health
  • Proper deworming program
  • Daily inspection to check for injuries

Please also read our other article on hay and water for your horse during the cold winter months.

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