Winter Weather Woes: Tips To Helping Horses Maintain Weight This Season – Horse Racing News

Winter Weather Woes: Tips To Helping Horses Maintain Weight This Season – Horse Racing News


If not carefully managed, horses can lose weight in colder weather as they are forced to burn calories to stay warm. Horses may use nearly 25 percent more energy in the winter than in warmer weather, making it imperative that they are offered more calories as the temperature drops. 

Horses who come into weather a bit skinny are even more at risk, reports The Horse.

Horses must also have access to ice-free water throughout the winter in order to prevent impaction colic. If there’s water available only sporadically or if the water is extremely cold, the horse may not drink enough. Horses must drink at least 1 gallon per 100 pounds of body weight each day to remain healthy and hydrated.

Good-quality hay is a must in colder climates especially, as the digestive process produces heat that helps the horse maintain core body temperature in colder weather. Horses that don’t have to expend additional energy staying warm have a better chance of maintaining weight. It may be necessary to increase the amount of hay horses are fed in colder months – a one- to three-flake increase is often sufficient. 

Cold weather combined with wind and precipitation like snow or rain will increase a horse’s caloric needs. Feeding more hay is a great way to offer the horse more calories. If offering more hay alone doesn’t help the horse maintain weight, adding fat to his diet can. Fat can be added by topdressing feed with oil, purchasing feed with a higher fat percentage, or adding beet pulp, which, when soaked, can also increase water intake. 

Read more at The Horse.

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