Good doer? Let the winter be your friend!
Q Do good doers need hard feed in winter?
A If you are serious about improving the health of your horse and are keen to use the winter months to aid healthy weight loss, forage (at the recommended levels) and a low calorie feed balancer are likely all they will need
Q I feed a low calorie balancer and 1.5% of forage daily, how else can I help my good doer lose more weight?
A Exercise is key, this needs to be suitable for your horse's abilities, aiming to burn more calories daily than are fed. Turnout is the basis of this, as horses freely roam they will burn calories, aside from this, keep their work varied to maintain interest; hacking, schooling, pole work, jumping, hill work, lunging, long reining and more. Also remember, if your horse is unclipped they can mostly withstand colder weather than we realise, provide shelter but don't rug up to keep them toasty warm too soon as they can burn additional calories to generate warmth.
Top tips for managing good doers in the winter
- Feed forage first - 1.5% of bodyweight daily e.g. a 500kg horse would be fed 7.5kg dry forage/day
- Feeding forage maintains a healthy digestive system and reduces boredom, promoting improved physical and mental health for you pony/horse
- Both the forage itself and the saliva created by chewing help to settle the stomach and reduce feelings of stress, particularly useful if your horse is stabled in winter
- Feeding late cut hay and/or soaking hay is beneficial to reduce calorie intake without the need to limit their intake
- Hay (especially late cut) is usually a preferred option to haylage, due to being lower in calories
- Good doers should not be left without hay for any prolonged period of time as this can increase the risk of colic
- Feeding a low calorie balancer from a treat ball can provide interest for stabled horses
- Feeding a functional feed balancer can mean you save money on unnecessary supplements
- Look for low calorie feed balancers that support healthy weight loss and/or your horse's needs
- Feeding quality ingredients at a lower recommended feeding rate is always better than feeding poorer quality feeds in smaller quantities as this will lead to nutrient deficiencies
Feed a low calorie balancer to ensure your pony/horse continues to receive the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and quality protein they need to maintain long term good health. For example Blue Chip Low Calorie actively supports healthy weight loss through the inclusion of cinnamon and l-carnitine, coupled with the fact it is 4 times lower in non-structural carbohydrates then many other similar products!
Did you know? Horses have evolved to lose weight in the winter
However modern horse care practices can lead to halting this natural regulation. Good doers can enter spring carrying more weight than needed, this should be a huge concern for owners, help us to share top tips on equine obesity. Acting now can positively affect your horse's long term health.
Our feed advisors are here to help!
Call: 0114 266 6200