Feeding Horses in Summer

Summer is well and truly here, remember it's important to feed for the season and climate

Late Summer brings long days, and hot sun beaming down on grass that's slowly losing it's nutritional value. Many owners also find that pastures are slowly becoming over-grazed, meaning both the quantity and quality of grass is decreasing. This time of year it might be worth looking into supplying your horse (good doer or otherwise) with additional forage, such as hay or haylage, to increase their forage uptake.

Good preparation is key

If you find your pastures becoming over-grazed by mid summer, consider grassland management for next year. Strip grazing, track systems, or rotating pastures are great ways of ensuring your horse or pony has continual access to good quality and quantity of forage. 

Mid to late summer is arguably one of the most important times to feed a balancer - this ensures your horse or pony still gets all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need to maintain overall long term health. Consider using a feed balancer which includes a targeted supplement if your horse has any particular health issues.

Grass and it’s nutritional value

As grass loses nutritional value, it tries to leech nutrition from the soil - as such, new grass growth will have significantly lower nutritional content compared to rested fields. A balancer will help make up for the vitamins and minerals leeched from the soil going from late summer to early autumn. This is also a major time of readjustment for your horse - providing a digestive supplement can help settle any gastric upset caused by changes in grass quality during this time.

Decreasing grass quality means decreasing nutritional levels - make sure your horse gets all the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need by feeding a balancer year-round.

Ensure your horse/pony obtains the calories they require to keep up with metabolic stresses, and exercise

Good-quality pasture will provide approximately 75 MJ when grazed 16-24 hours.

Over-grazed, low-quality pasture will only provide 16 MJ when grazed for the same amount of time.

An average 500kg horse in light work requires 70 MJ daily.

Your horse needs good quality pasture AND a suitable feed balancer for basic daily health benefits.

Management options

  • If you are concerned about your horse gaining weight during the summer months, implement management strategies such as, strip grazing or the use of a grazing muzzle to reduce grass intake
  • Using a grazing muzzle can reduce grass intake by up to 75-85%. Remember to introduce your grazing muzzle slowly and do not leave a grazing muzzle on for more than 10 hours at a time.
  • Your horse must obtain at least 1.5% of their bodyweight daily in forage intake (less only under veterinary supervision) you may need to feed a low calorie hay in the stable to achieve this.
  • Use a weigh tape regularly to keep track of your horse's condition, and address any issues before they become visible to the naked eye.
  • Grassland management is key in ensuring your grass contains optimal levels of nutrients

Balancers - cost effective and easy to feed

  • Feeding a balancer year round is important for long term continued health
  • A balancer should always be fed, even to good doers, and especially to those on restricted grazing, as grass will never fully balance a diet
  • Blue Chip super concentrated feed balancers cost as little as 76p/day for a 500kg horse
  • A convenient and cost-effective way of ensuring your horse has all their nutritional needs met
  • The super concentrated range caters for the individual needs of your horse/pony
  • With daily feeding rates as low as 50g, you can feed it easily, out of your hand Perfect if your horse grazes in a herd or shared paddock
  • Both our Lami Light and Low Calorie balancers are perfect options for good doers over the summer months.

Our feed advisors are here to help!

Email: info@bluechipfeed.com

Call: 0114 266 6200

Social: @bluechipfeed

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