Concerned about feeding your horse over winter without fizzing him up too much? Scratching your head over calming supplements? Anna Franklin, equine nutrition adviser at Blue Chip Feed, provides her advice on how to feed a hot horse through the winter.
Eliminating digestive discomfort needs to be a primary concern whenever you are feeding excitable horses. Improved digestive health alone can lead to behavioural improvements and new, positive, learned behaviour.
A high fibre diet
Base your horse’s diet around ad-lib fibre, supported by a balanced diet low in sugar and starch, which is also whole cereal and molasses-free and you’ll be on your way.
Choosing products that include oils, such as soya and linseed, allow your horse to gain condition through slow-release energy sources, limiting the fizzy response.
Feeds containing quality protein and probiotics aid gut function too, which can encourage topline and condition in poorer doers.
Calming products are widely used and are available in a multitude of different types, from balancers to powdered supplements and swings.
When trialing calming supplements for your horse, it is worth finding the specific active ingredients that work.
Some horses respond well to magnesium alone; for others, L-tryptophan targets their behaviour more suitably, whereas herbal remedies work best for others.
Many calming products have been seen to be beneficial, especially when coupled with good management.
Remember to supply ad-lib access to forage to relieve boredom and improve gut comfort. The provision of turnout to limit enthusiastic behaviour and promote a natural release of energy is also vital.
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