With the winter months quickly approaching how should owners prepare their horses to handle the cold and meet their nutritional requirements? A good place to start is doing a body condition score. Horses at a 5 or 6 BCS have the extra cover over their ribs and are in ideal condition going into winter. If you feel your horse is below a five, visit with your local feed specialist to find a feed to meet your horses’ needs. A horses nutritional requirements consist of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Mature horses can maintain body weight on hay or pasture, but these forages can be lacking in vitamins and minerals. If these forages aren’t high quality, the equine digestive tract doesn’t efficiently function which can lead to digestive problems like colic. Here at Central Valley Ag, we have many options when it comes to horse feed. We have a full line of Purina textured or pelleted feeds for senior horses, easy keepers, growing foals, broodmares and performance horses. Besides a feed program don’t forget to check teeth at least once a year along with a good deworming program. Shelter from wind and moisture will also keep horses comfortable during the cold winter days and most importantly make sure the water is above 40 degrees. If you would like more information about how to body condition score your horse or prepare for winter contact the Central Valley Ag Feed Team and we would be happy to help! Hay and pasture need to be high quality for horses. The equine digestive tract does not handle poor-quality forage efficiently, and very poor-quality forage may increase the risk of digestive problems.
The daily amount of hay and/or pasture fed is also a consideration. Horses, minis, and ponies need at least 1-1.5 pounds of hay or pasture (on dry matter basis) per 100 pounds of body weight every day.