from the Barn --
It is that time of year
again, these past two weeks or so I have had more calls then I can
count from new customers, and past customers as well, who are
worried about putting weight on their horses as we approach the
fall and winter months. I too am one of those who is
changing up my feeding program a bit, as my mare Echo has dropped
some weight over the summer, so have upped her bucket feed and started
her on some alfalfa pellets already.
Older horses are always my
concern this time of year as they have a harder time with winter
and staying warm, also in keeping weight on during that time in the
event they have not put weight on over the summer and in to early
fall as it will/can be a struggle to keep on what they have and as
well as to put it on them once the cold weather hits.
Here is what
I always recommend to my customers and new customers:
Fecals --- Get
your fecals done make sure you are not dealing with a parasite load
that needs to be addressed either by natural means or if necessary
a chemical wormer then doing double doses of Equine Zyme or Equine
Zyme Plus to reblance the gut after a chemical wormer is given.
Dental ---- Get your
horses teeth checked and make sure that there are no issues like
hooks or loose teeth.
the best way to put weight on horses is to up your horses hay
ration, increased by a flake or two per day; feed them
lunch, if you don't already do that and make sure they have
hay in front of them 24/7. My horses always have hay in
front of them, be it in their feeders, in hanging Hay
Pillows or in the Hay Pillows on the ground, they do not over
eat, and they eat a little often and their weight is pretty much
perfect. A small amount of alfalfa is what I
also recommend to people if they are not feeding alfalfa to help
put some weight on, a 1/3rd to a 1/2 flake added to their
other hay ration am/pm.
Hay Pellets --- I
feed 1-2 cups hay pellets soaked 2x's per day which will also help
to add weight if you are not already doing this. I personally
use Timothy pellets all year long and will add some alfalfa pellets
as we get in to winter making a blend.
best hay pellets are Mountain Sunrise if you can get them.
Rice Bran Meal --- I
feed 1/2 c to 1c depending on the horse to add some additional
calories and fats. Add this to the soaked hay pellets. I use
Integrity Rice Bran Meal as it has a yeast culture, MOS and rice
Flax Meal --- I also
Flax with some whole flax in the hay pellets which also adds
omegas, lingans, and other natural ingredients.
Kelp --- Not
only has micro nutrients but also help to keep the thyroid healthy
with the naturally occuring iodine that is found in it!
--- Is really a daily must espeically in the winter
months, it helps your horse absorb more of its feeds stuff, keeps
the digestive tract healthy, and prevents some forms of colic which
will reduce your vet bills too! Digestive health is so
important not only in boosting the horses immune system but also
help in absorbing more of the nutrition and using it as well!
Supplements --- What ever one you like to
use make sure your horses is being supplemented for your area or
your hay ---- I personally use the Horse Tech High
Point for Grass Hay for Echo
and Cheyanne, and I use a custom blend by Horse Tech for the mini's
which contains a balance of vitamins and minerals balanced to
the hay I feed – feeding mini's is different than feeding
horses! To that blend for the mini's and for Cheyanne and
Echo I also use California Trace minerals as well as vitamin E
capsules for them to have a balance necessary for good health.
Fiber Beet --- By
Emerald Valley is a great product to keep the gut healthy and moving
but also helps to keep weight steady during the cold winter months
as well, it has speedi beet and alfalfa, and is approved by the
Laminitic Society of England as a feed for horses prone to that and
is excellent for metabolicly inclined horses as well. I do
feed this in the winter months, a little goes a long way soaked!
Re-Cleaned Barley or Whole Re-Cleaned Oats --- I am a big
believer in giving whole oats or barley, barley has less sugar and
starch, but I only feed it at the rate of 1/2 c soaked with the hay
pellets and flax, I may give both at the rate of half a cup each if
we are in the freezing range or snowing.