Spillers' equine nutritionist Clare Barfoot provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on how to feed a cob in light work but who has very little grass in his field
Q: “I was wondering how much I should be feeding a 15.2hh middleweight cob in light work. He is ridden two-three times per week, mostly hacking in walk with one schooling session. He’s out at grass 24/7 but there isn’t much grass at the moment. Finally he has to have haylage as opposed to hay.”
A: Providing your horse with a balanced diet is the most important consideration, however which type of feed you choose to deliver it will depend on your cob’s current condition and temperament. In order to assess his condition I suggest you learn to condition score him on a regular basis this way you will pick up any subtle changes and can adjust his diet accordingly.
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If he is in good condition or a little on the overweight side a balancer will be ideal. A well formulated vitamin and mineral balancer such as SPILLERS Daily Balancer will balance any potential deficiencies in the pasture and haylage without supplying too many unnecessary calories. Daily balancer provides good quality protein especially the amino acid lysine which can be lacking in conserved forage and winter grass alongside a comprehensive range of vitamins and minerals. Mixed with a little low calorie chopped fibre just 500 grams a day will provide everything his needs to stay happy and healthy.
If your gelding needs a little more condition and he is already eating ad lib forage I suggest you add in the recommended amount (2-3kg per day) of a low energy feed such as SPILLERS Horse and Pony Cubes. It is advisable to avoid mixes even low energy ones if he is prone to excitability as the starch is always higher due to the additional flaked cereal inclusion. Only if your horse needs extra condition after feeding a low energy feed would I suggest you opt for a conditioning feed.
As your boy is living out all the time he will need some forage due to the lack of pasture but remember if he is out with other horses make sure you provide the haylage in more piles than there are horses, this way you reduce the risk of bullying and injury.
For more information on feeding your horse this winter call the SPILLERS Care-Line on 01908 226626.