Feeding horses during winters
The weather changes, the grasslands get wet and the quality of the grass decreases. There are many reasons horses and ponies in the Netherlands will come in again. Not everyone has a good paddock or stall so the horses are also able to go outside when there's rain and snow. During this period the horses and ponies get less nutrients through the grass and hence it is wise to adjust the feed.
The change in the ration begins when the horses are still outside but the quality of the grass is reduced. Slowly the horses get used to the roughage that can already be landed or paddocked. Due to this slow transition, the stomach and intestines gradually get used to the larger amounts of dry matter.
Hartog has the handy Hartog Feed Box XL which is ideal to use outside. The feed box may be used alongside the Hartog Compact Grass, the Gras-mix, the Lucerne-mix, or your own hay or pre-dry silage. The feedingbox is easy to attach to the fence of the land or paddock. It prevents the absorption of too much sand in horses and ponies walking in a meadow. The Feedingbox is equipped with a metal rack resting constantly on the feed, creating a slow uptake of roughage. Due to the spilling edge, there is little or no roughage tampered in the land or in the sand of the paddock. The Compact Gras balls fit exactly into the Hartog Feedingbox, you may work safely without the horse having a roughage or bothering during a long time. The Feedingbox can also be used inside. The Lucerne Mix is very suitable to be mixed alongside the concentrate so the horse or the pony slowly absorbs the concentrate. This results in a higher yield from the concentrated feed.
Winterweather and stallproblems
Inside the bad and cold weather causes many stall problems like boredom, stress, air sucking and manger biting. Also, problems with the roughage causes soot in the food. Think of dusty hay, moldy silage and pests. Give the horse a consistent quality of roughage including all daily building materials and divide the driving times throughout the day. Prevent these problems using proper feed management, allowing each horse or pony to be fed to their own needs. This is how they are well in the winter. In the autumn and winter periods, horses who have cold weather during 12 hours or longer need extra energy. They need to stay warm. This energy is taken from the roughage. For example from hay, silage, Lucerne-mix, Gras-mix or Compact Grass. Horses and ponies that are less moved by the bad weather and have a lot of space need less energy. Hence, reduce the amount of concentrate. A low-pony horse or pony does not need concentrate feed and removes the daily raw materials from the roughage. Not only do thin horses often score bad on the fitness test. Especially too fat horses are in a bad condition.
Some tips to keep horses well in the winter too:
- Change the ratio of the horse or pony slowly to prevent gastrointestinal problems.
- Give good quality roughage, no fungus, dust etc.
- Divide the feeding times as much as possible, allow the horse to babble. (For example, a thin layer of straw in the box)
- Divide the drinking and eating points as much as possible in the paddock or land so the movement is stimulated.
- Horses and ponies outside the cold all day have 10% to 20% extra energy from roughage.
- Feed each horse independently and match the feed to the need of the horse's energy
- A horse or pony must always have fresh drinking water.
- Also give the horse sufficient movement in winter.
- Reduce the slowly.