This week, we are focusing on the changing nutritional needs that Native Ponies have throughout the winter months and how you can easily adapt to them by altering your current feeding regime to suit these hardy equines during the cold snap ahead.
Horses have evolved to eat a fibre based diet, which in the wild would be supplemented with herbs, flowers and plants that supplied the essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals they required on a daily basis. However, due to modern feeding practices that include an increase in the feeding of concentrated, hard feeds and a reduction in the length spent grazing and also the diversity of the forage available, it can often mean our horses and ponies are left deficient in these vital dietary components.
Throughout the winter, when grazing is sparse and grass quality is poor, it would be an ideal time to reconsider how you feed your Native Pony to ensure that they are receiving the nutrition that the grazing provided is lacking. An easy way to do this is to provide a good quality feed balancer that is specifically formulated for Native ponies, alongside a constant supply of forage and fibre in the form of either hay, haylage or a chopped chaff. Fibre is the most ‘warming’ dietary component and its breakdown during digestion, helped by a feed balancer, can provide your Native with those vital extra calories that they need this winter to maintain their weight and condition. By doing this, you are also increasing gut fill and motility, which will help to reduce the incidence of common colic symptoms, as the gut is active and healthy and therefore lowers the risk of an impaction developing. Also, feeding a feed balancer will help to provide those missing nutrients that the grazing is lacking throughout the winter, helping to promote health and well-being as a result of a constant supply of the vitamins and minerals that they need to thrive on a daily basis.
Traditionally, Native ponies were built to withstand cold winters and adverse weather conditions, and their skin and coat must act as a tough barrier to provide vital insulation to keep them warm and protect them from harm. In order to sustain the quality of their coat, including a higher level of zinc in the diet will promote the formation of keratin, which improves the strength of each hair at a structural level, ensuring hair quality is at its optimum. Also, oils in the diet will help to nourish the hair follicles and strengthen each hair, helping the coat to lie flat against the skin, providing that much needed insulation your Native pony needs to keep warm this winter and conveniently, all these ingredients can be found in a high quality feed balancer.
Finally, as Native Ponies are well known for typically being ‘good-doers’ it is important to keep a close eye that you are not providing them with too a high a level of nutrition as a result of trying to provide them with enough. To easily monitor this, it would be wise to have your forage analysed to ensure that it is not too rich in sugars and starches that can lead to weight gain and when choosing a variety of hay to feed, look for something like Timothy Hay, which is mature and fibrous and likely to be lower in calories. The aim with winter feeding for a Native Pony is to provide a good, constant level of fibre, vitamins and minerals
without overloading them with high levels of quick release sugars and energy which do not lend themselves to helping you maintain condition all season long.
Blue Chip Original Native is the only feed balancer that has been specifically formulated to meet the different nutritional needs of Native Ponies. Original Native contains tailored levels of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your pony needs to maintain optimum health and well-being, alongside increased levels of zinc and soya and linseed oils which nourish the hair follicles and aid the formation of keratin, ensuring the hair and coat are strong on a structural level, promoting a glossy, gleaming coat all year round.
As with all Blue Chip balancers a high quality, EU approved probiotic is included to increase fibre digestibility and improve the efficiency of nutrient absorption via the promotion of a healthy gut bacterial balance. Also, it contains a complete hoof and respiratory formula, along with the revolutionary ingredient Nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA and RNA which can further aid digestion, reduce recovery rates and improve stamina.
Priced at £31.95 for a 15kg sack, Blue Chip Original Native is the perfect option to feed your Native this winter.
The post Feeding Your Native Pony This Winter appeared first on Blue Chip Feed | Horse Supplements & Horse Feed Balancers.