Feeding for extra sparkle

  • While some horses have extremely laid-back temperaments, there are many factors, including feeding, which may cause a horse to be lazy.

    Possible reasons for laziness, which must be considered before you change your horses feed, include:

    • Obesity
    • Breeding
    • Weather
    • Disease or illness

    Once all otherpossible causes have been eliminated then you should look at your horse’s diet. Ask yourself:

    • Are you feeding enough?
    • Is your horse eating the food you provide?
    • Are you feeding the right type of food?
    • Is your horse suffering from stress?

    Feed for extra energy

    Choose a higher energy feed than your horse is presently eating, such as a performance mix, to help provide extra energy without the horse puttingon weight. Start by feeding small quantities three times a day and slowly increase it as necessary.

    You can also try cutting down the quantities of fibre (hay or haylage) which the horse is eating. A horse should eat 1% ofhis bodyweight in forage a day. If your horse is turned out then it can be difficult to estimate how much grass he has consumed.

    To get the best performance from your horse you should ride around two to three hours after feeding, as this is when his energy levels will be at their highest. Also avoid riding at the hottest time of the day during summer, as your horse will naturally feel lethargic.

    Be aware that lazy horses, which are prone to laminitis, should not be fed high levels of starch or sugar, which are often included in performance mixes. A nutritionist will be able to advise a suitable diet for individual equines.

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