Winter feeding for success

  • The good feeding of a competition horse is one factor that contributes to a successful partnership. Good feeding augments a sound training plan, natural talent and your ambitions; bad feeding can undo them quickly.

    For horses, winter is either the time for a well-earned rest and a chance to regain condition lost during the summer, or it heralds the start of the indoor season.

    . For horses in work, feed at least 5kg a day of hay for the average competition horse, but preferably more (up to 10kg). Haylage weights should be at least one and a half times this.

    Give hard feed according to the work being done – usually a medium energy feed is sufficient. If feeding less than 30% of the horse¨s daily intake as hard feed,then top this up with a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement.

    If your horse feels the cold, offer more hay, and if it does not hold its condition well, replace a proportion of the hard feed with a conditioning product.

    Finally, do not forget water and electrolytes – travelling and hanging around at shows is dehydrating, even in winter.

    For horses not in work, plenty of hay and a low-energy, high-fibre diet will be sufficient, but you should use either fortified hard feed containing vitamins and minerals, or add a broad spectrum supplement to the horse’s diet.

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