During cold winter months, how can you ensure your horse is getting the nutrition he or she needs? With pastures bare and temperatures dropping, it’s important to take a few intentional steps to keep your horse well fed and healthy through the winter. Your local feed store in Montana offers the following tips to help:
- Slow switch: Keep in mind that it takes a horse about 14 days to adjust to new forage. As you switch from grass to dried hay for the winter, do so slowly.
- Additional forage: To help your horse stay warm in the winter, provide additional quality forage. Hay helps keep the horse’s digestive system healthy and helps increase body temperature.
- Vitamin supplements: Since dried forage lacks vitamin E, supplement the horse’s diet with natural vitamin E. This will allow your horse to maintain a healthy diet even when nutrient-rich pastures aren’t available.
- Nutrients: Vitamin E isn’t the only essential nutrient for horses. A well-fortified concentrate can be helpful during the winter months to keep horses healthy. Make sure the horse gets enough vitamin D, since there will be little exposure to sunlight. Vitamin A is also important. Choose a feed that offers probiotics and prebiotics to further aid in digestion and health.
- Water: Horses should drink at least five liters of water per day for every 100kg of body weight. If you ride the horse, this number goes up. Make sure the horse has plenty of water available. Provide an unlimited source of clean water. Don’t let the water get too cold or freeze. Keep it free of ice and frozen debris. Ideal drinking water temperature for horses is between 45°F and 65°F. You can also add warm water to a pelleted meal or soak hay in room temperature water if weather conditions allow.
- Salt: Horses should eat about 50 grams of salt per day. Provide this intake in the form of feed or a salt block. If the horse works during the winter, for the best horse care in Montana, supplement their salt intake with electrolytes.
- Schedule: Inclement weather can cause changes to feeding schedules. Try to maintain a normal schedule as much as possible. Watch the weather forecast and prepare with a sufficient supply of hay in advance of storms. If you need to change your horse’s feeding schedule, try to do so slowly over a three- to five-day period. This will make the change easier on the horse’s digestive system.
- Extreme cold: If you are expecting a period of extreme cold or a winter storm, prepare your horse for the weather with extra forage for at least 24 hours before the severe weather hits. Stock up at your local feed store in Montana.
Prep for Winter
Are you and your horse ready for winter? Head to your local feed store in Montana to get everything you need. Down Home Tack & Feed LLC is the best shop to pick up feed for all animals. We carry a large variety of livestock feed, which includes goats, horses, cows, sheep and more. We also carry dog and cat food. Our staff is passionate about horses, and we aim to take the guesswork out of shopping for your animals.
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