When caring for your horse during winter we all have two main goals, maintaining condition and ensuring their welfare needs are met during the cold weather.
This is the case regardless of whether your horse is stabled or still kept out at grass all year round.
For the grass kept horse the main priority will be to make sure they are provided with adequate forage to replace the grass which will now be non-existent or of poor quality, to enable them to keep warm.
The digestive system works as the horses very own in built central heating system, with fibre as its fuel, thanks to fibre digesting bacteria in the hind gut. Without sufficient fibre a horse will soon lose condition as it has to draw on its reserves to keep warm.
Horses that are stabled during winter either for part of the day or all of it, if there is a lack of access to winter grazing will rely on forage to prevent boredom. A major problem in stabled horses is periods of starvation due to not being provided with ad lib hay.
While a constant supply of hay is not always practical, particularly for those carrying excess weight, this can have a negative effect on the digestive system leading to gut disturbances and is one of the implicating factors in the onset of gastric ulcers.
Forage also enables the stabled horse to fulfil its natural desire to chew, helping to maintain the horse’s mental health.
Not only does the digestive system generate warmth it also plays an essential role in bolstering the immune system. The immune system is the horses very own natural defence mechanism, constantly under attack.
If the immune system is adequately supported by good nutrition it is better placed to fight off infection and help the horse to thrive through the harsh winter months.
By supplementing the diet with yeast cultures, like those found in Lifeforce, you can help reduce hind gut acidity, creating optimum conditions for the beneficial bacteria to flourish, thereby improving digestion, as well as nutrient absorption and buffering against digestive upset.
The Lifeforce Range from Alltech has been designed to optimise the digestive health of horses at every stage of life, from breeding stock to leisure and performance horses.
For further information visit: www.lifeforcehorse.co.uk