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1. How can I put weight on my horse?

Choosea suitable conditioning feed and add a supplement that will help the horse to digest properly. A pre-biotic supplement to improve the bacterial population of the horse’ stomach is a sensible choice. Simply feeding the horse more of its usual diet doesn’t usually work.

2. What can I feed my overweight pony?

Ponies need a balanced diet to keep them healthy, but if your pony is overweight it is important to choose a low calorie feed which will provides all the necessary nutrients while being fed in small amounts. A general vitamin and mineral supplement can be added to the feed.

3. What should I feed my fizzy pony?

First check you aren’t overfeeding it and it is getting sufficient time out in the field.Cubes are generally better that a mix as they tend to be lower in starch and so less likely to cause fizz.

4. I have a lazy, overweight cob. Any suggestions?

This is a difficult one. To increase energy you will need to increase calories, but you also need to reduce the horse’s weight. A low calorie feed balancer should be used initally combined with slow regular work. 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.

5. My horse is running out of steam towards the end of cross-country sessions. What can I feed him to improve his stamina?

Supplements 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 the cross-country.

6. My pony has had laminitis. What should I feed?

Keep grass and cereals to a minimum, while providingan alternative source of fibre to maintain gut function. Whatever your do don’t starve the poor thing! It will need a good source of vitamins, nutrients and minerals to repair damaged tissue and to maintain condition – low calorie balancers would be good for this. Pre-biotics will be useful to help re-establish a healthy bacterial population in the gut.

7. My horse is now 24 and is starting to drop a bit of weight and condition. What should I do?

There are feeds designed specifically for older horses, but if an older horse drops a lot of weight then a conditioning feed would be better as it contains more calories then a veteran feed.

8. I have bought a yearling New Forest pony that is looking very well. Ihave been feeding it pasture mix. Is this OK?

Pasture mix is designed for adult horses and so does not contain the correct 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.

9. My old horse is losing his teeth and is finding it really hard to chew. Is there anything I can do?

Choose a feed that can be made into a mash or gruel as this is 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.

10. I’ve been told that I need to give my horse electrolytes in the summer, but I don’t know why. Can you help?

Electrolytes are lost in sweat. They are needed for neuro-muscular function and are vital for optimum performance. Electrolytes are needed most during the summer 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.