Top 10 Tips for Managing your Horse's Weight in Summer
Tuesday, 1 May 2012 | Admin1. Weigh your horse every few weeks with a weight tape. This will allow you spot any weight gain early
2. If your horse is stabled at all, put several smaller haynets around the stable to encourage your horse to move around more. If it safe to do so, consider hanging a haynet in the middle of the stable so that your horse has to move around more - it is also harder to get the hay out
3. Soak hay for at least 30 minutes should reduce its sugar content, making it suitable for overweight horses and ponies
4. Increase your horse's workload. Not only does this use up more calories and energy, research in humans suggests it increases insulin sensitivity which may help reduce the risk of insulin resistance and potentially laminitis.
5. Feeding a balanced diet is still important. Good-doers or overweight horses and ponies don't need calories but sill need essential vitamins and minerals. Consider a low-calorie balancer such as Baileys No 14 Lo-Cal or an all round herbal supplement such as Seaweed.
6. Consider a lower calorie alternative to hay/haylage such as Oat straw or a partial hay replacer such as Dengie Hi-Fi Molasses Free. Both are lower in calories, starch and sugar than late cut hay so can provide fibre without too many calories. Don't use straw for horses with poor teeth or a history of impaction colic.
7. To prevent boredom in the stable, try a low-sugar lick which can provide stimulation and essential nutrients
8. Carefully weigh your horses feed to check you are not over-feeding. Half a scoop of mix provides enough energy for 20 minutes schooling and one mega-joule is about 250 calories, so more than 1MJ increase in energy is quite a big leap
9. Spring and Summer grass is packed with energy - if it's not practical to restrict your horses grazing, consider a grazing muzzle. Studies show they can reduce intake by about 75%.
10. Make your horse's feed bucket last longer by placing large smooth pebbles on top of the feed so the horse has to eat his way around them. Smooth pebbles wont hurt the muzzle and make sure they are large enough so your horse can't pick them up