Q&A: Winter feeding

  • Q. I keep my horse in a 20-acre field with two other horses. It is high up onchalk downs and therefore very dry. The grass is abundant throughout the winter but should I be feeding extra forage?

    Independent nutritionist Christine Smy answers: Once the temperature drops below 5?C for a prolonged period, the nutritional value of the grass will decline rapidly and you should not rely on it as a feed source.

    I suggest you provide good-quality forage, either hay or haylage, particularly when the grass is frosty, or covered in snow.

    If your horseis in work, you can also provide suitable concentrates at the recommended levels. If you are only feeding a token concentrate, it may be advisable to add a broad-spectrum supplement to top up any vitamins and minerals that your horse might be lacking.

    It is fine for your horse to continue to eat the grass, because it will add fibre to the diet. However, if he is eating it in preference to the hay or haylage, you may find that he develops a grass belly.

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