A high-fibre diet is the best thing for keeping your horse’s gut healthy and comfortable during the winter and so for a trouble-free cold season the team at Dengie has put together the following helpful advice for Your Horse readers.

The winter months are an owner and rider’s true test of dedication to our horses as we spend more time battling poached gateways, frozen taps and mucking out. The dark evenings leave less time for riding so it can feel like it’s all work and no play! Our horses and ponies will probably spend more time confined to their stable or a squelchy paddock over the winter and may need a nutritional helping hand to keep them healthy and happy.

Fibre as fuel

Fibre provides slow-release energy, making it the ideal way to provide your horse with enough energy, without the risk of over-excitement or fizziness.

Did you know that fibre can provide as much energy as mixes and cubes? For example, Dengie Alfa-A Original contains the same level of energy as a cool mix at 10MJ/kg but with about ten times less starch.

Oil is another slow-release energy source, and when combined with a good quality fibre, such as alfalfa in Dengie Alfa-A Oil, it can provide as much energy as a conditioning mix or cube, contains no added sugar and just 2% starch.

Winter weight loss

If your horse is carrying a little too much weight, winter presents the ideal opportunity for him to lose a few founds. Try not to be tempted to over-feed and over-rug your horse if he’s a good-doer. The best way to keep him warm is to feed plenty of low-calorie fibre feeds such as Dengie Hi-Fi Lite or Hi-Fi Good-Doer as heat is produced when fibre is fermented in the digestive system.

Keeping your horse hydrated

Some horses become reluctant to drink when the weather is colder. To help your horse stay hydrated feed soaked feeds such as Dengie Alfa-Beet or Alfalfa Pellets, to increase moisture intake.

 Feeding golden oldies

Winter feeding preparation is key for golden oldies, keep a close eye on their condition especially if you know they have lost weight in previous winters. Start feeding a little earlier as it’s much easier to keep weight on than trying to promote weight gain in the winter months. For those with poor teeth Dengie Meadow Grass with Herbs, Hi-Fi Senior and soaked products such as Alfa-Beet or Grass Pellets are highly digestible, promote weight gain and are soft and easy to chew.

Winter Feeding Tips

  • Use fibre and oil as conditioning sources to help avoid over-excitable behaviour
  • Fibre is the horse’s central heating system – keep your horse warm by feeding lots of fibre
  • Use small-holed haynets to help keep your horse occupied and to make his forage ration last longer
  • Use the winter months to help promote weight loss, if needed. Try not to over-rug or over-feed and try to keep exercising as much as the winter weather will allow
  • Feed a high-fibre diet to help promote digestive health, maintain regular bowel movements and help reduce the risk of colic

Quality Grass All Year Round

As the nutritional value of grass decreases and turn out time is reduced, horses may start to lose condition. Why not bring the paddock into the stable with Dengie’s range of grass products.

Produced using the finest grasses grown by UK farmers, Dengie Meadow Grass with Herbs and

Grass Pellets are made from 100% natural ingredients and are FREE from molasses, artificial preservatives, flavours and additives, cereals, straw and GM ingredients. Naturally sweet, high in fibre and highly digestible, Meadow Grass with Herbs can be used as a partial hay replacer or be included as part of the bucket feed. Grass Pellets are ideal for snack balls helping to keep the stabled horse occupied and provide natural foraging behaviour.

Contact the team

For advice, you can call the Dengie Horse Feeds Helpline on 0845 345 5115 and, to stay up-to-date with all the latest news follow @DengieHorseFeed on Twitter and @DengieHorseFeeds on Facebook.