As the uncharacteristically hot and long summer has come to a close, we once again welcome sunny showers and a burst of grass growth. But what does this sudden growth mean for our equines?
Return of the sugar
It’s been well researched and publicised that sugar is as detrimental to the health of your horse as it is for you and while we’re loving the return of our green pastures, it does come with some concerns - the dreaded sugar is back.
The recent rain coupled with warm temperatures and lots of sunshine, has led to an increase in grass sugar content. The sugar content is in fact worsened after a lengthy drought making it a particular concern for all horse owners at the moment.
Manage for success
While the weather is still so nice it can be tempting to turn your horse out as much as possible, it’s important not to change his routine too quickly.
Grass sugar content is still at its highest at the hottest point of the day, before gradually declining as we welcome in the evening.
The lowest point of sugar content will be in the early hours of the morning so overnight turnout is still the best option for your horse.
If your horse comes into his stable during the day, it’s important to continue to feed forage as normal, despite the grass growth. Sudden daytime starvation can actually cause your horse to gorge on the grass overnight, increasing their chances of colic.
Starvation can also cause fat stores in the body to enter the bloodstream which is when the fat can damage the heart.
Instead of limiting dry matter quantity, try encouraging your horse to spend longer chewing and choose a forage that has less calories per kg.
Slowing his eating down
The Haygain Forager Slow Feeder is ideal for stabled horses - it’s the natural way to slow the pace your horse eats.
When horses are fed in haynets or given loose forage on the stable floor, they’re more likely to gorge and finish their ration in a much quicker time, compared to eating from the Forager.
The regulator grid on the Forager ensures smaller bites of forage are taken, and increases the amount of chewing, which helps maintain a flow of saliva, acting as a natural buffer to stomach acid.
The benefits of steaming
Steaming hay can also be beneficial in ensuring sugar restrictions. As the grass sugar content continues to climb as we head into Autumn it’s essential that we monitor the sugar content in the forage we provide.
Studies by Haygain have found that steaming forage actually reduces the Water Soluble Carbohydrate content, whereby soaking hay actually increases this content.
To maintain your horse’s optimum health as we move into autumn, Haygain has the following advice:
Introduce any changes gradually
Limit grass intake
Continue to provide the best forage possible
For more information, please visit www.haygain.co.uk or call 03332005233