The Horse's Mouth - The Right Food For The Right Horse
like people, have issues with food. The wrong feed, the wrong
nutritional combinations and the wrong timing can all contribute
to making a horse perform below par and feel under the weather.
well-fed horse is a happy horse, and no organisation is more
aware of this than Baileys Horse Feeds whose nutritionist
Kate Lugsden will be part of the Meet the Experts area at
the Midlands Equine Fair, Three Counties Showground, Malvern
on 8 and 9 March.
will be on hand to answer any questions about equine nutrition
from visitors to the Fair, but in anticipation of this we
asked her to answer the top 10 questions that are posed to
her and her team:
What can I do to put weight on my horse?
answer is to feed your horse the right feed, and give it a supplement
that will help it to digest properly. A pre-biotic supplement to
improve the bacterial population of the horse' stomach is the best
way forward. With regard to feed, it is advisable to use one that
is designed for the job, such as conditioning cubes - feeding the
horse more of its usual diet does not usually work.
What can I feed my overweight pony?
need a balanced diet to keep them healthy, but if your pony is overweight
it is important to choose one that will not add to the problem.
Low calorie feeds are available, usually in the form of balancers
that are concentrated and fed in very small amounts.
What can I feed my fizzy pony?
first thing to do is to check that you are not overfeeding it. Cubes
are generally better that a mix as they tend to be lower in starch
and so less likely to cause fizz.
I have a lazy, overweight cob. Any suggestions?
is a difficult one, because in order to increase energy you will
need to increase calories. You will need to try to get its weight
down so that it will find work easier, so a low calorie balancer
should be used to start off with. Over a period of time, add oats
to the balancer for extra energy when it is needed. When the horse
has a quieter work period, drop the oat content back down again.
My horse needs more stamina because he is running out of steam towards
the end of cross-country sessions. What can I feed him?
with high oil content are useful because the horse can use the oil
as a source of energy when working at low intensities, such as in
dressage. Once the horse moves up a gear on the cross-country he
relies on stores of glycogen that come from cereals. If he has had
oil to use at low intensities he will still have a full tank of
glycogen stores to draw upon for longer bouts of exercise such as
My pony has had laminitis. What is the best feed for her?
first thing to do is to keep grass and cereals to a minimum, but
you will need to provide an alternative source of fibre to maintain
gut function - don't starve the poor thing! You will also need a
good source of vitamins, nutrients and minerals to repair damaged
tissue and to keep your pony in good condition - low calorie balancers
would be good for this. Pre-biotics will also be useful to help
re-establish a healthy bacterial population in the gut.
My horse is now 24 and is starting to drop a bit of weight and condition.
What should I do?
are feeds designed specifically for older horses. However, they
all assume that every horse has the same needs and this is not the
case. If an older horse drops a lot of weight then a conditioning
feed would be better as it contains more calories then a veteran
I have bought a yearling New Forest pony that is looking very well.
I have just given it a bit of pasture mix. Is this OK?
mix is designed to be fed to adult horses and so does not contain
sufficient nutrients to support the growth and development of youngstock.
For breeds such as Natives, Warmbloods and Cobs, there are low calorie
stud feeds that provide essential nutrients for growth without the
calories that cause weight gain or rapid growth.
My old horse is losing his teeth and is finding it really hard to
chew. Is there anything I can do?
are feeds that can be made into a mash or even a gruel that are
much easier for the horse to eat. I would also suggest that you
use a short chop to replace hay so that your horse gets enough fibre.
I've been told that I need to give my horse electrolytes in the
summer, but I don't know why. Can you help?
are lost in sweat and as they are needed for neuro-muscular function
they are vital for optimum performance. Summer is usually the time
when they are needed the most because of the heat, but a horse that
is working hard in the winter will still be losing electrolytes
- so a supplement would be beneficial.
for the Midlands Equine Fair are available in advance from Contour
Exhibitions & Events by calling 08700 115007 and advance
booking discounts are available. Further information and leaflets
are available by calling 01884 841644, or by logging on at www.contour.uk.net.