The Healthy Horse – A Balancing Act

As we head towards warmer weather, we all want our horses to look and feel the picture of health. However, with modern forage and grazing lacking in many essential nutrients it is important to ensure that all equines receive the correct nutrition to help their bodies maintain optimum vitality. But how can we do this in the most cost-effective and simple way?

Fibre first

The horse is a grazing animal, and has naturally evolved to consume forage in order to survive. This forage provides our horses with a natural source of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and fibres in a format that is easy and efficient for them to digest. Fibre is a generic term referring predominately to forages such as grass, hay and haylage, but also includes alternative forage replacer products such as high fibre pellets, alfalfa, grass cubes and short chop forages.

Is your forage lacking?

Modern forage and grazing can be deficient in many essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements so while feeding a diet high in forage is vital, it is recommended that any deficiencies are balanced by supplementing the diet with additional nutrients. This will ensure that your horse is capable of maintaining all over health and vitality.

What is essential?

A balanced diet contains many nutrients. Look for products with B Vitamins such as Vitamin B12, B6, B1 and B2, folic acid and biotin, as well as macro minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and sodium and micro minerals such as copper, iron, selenium and zinc. Amino acids, anti-oxidants and fatty acids also play important roles.

Health Tips

  • Even horses and ponies who are prone to weight gain require a good level of nutrients to maintain health and support immunity.
  • Feed a lick is a low calories alternative to buckets of hard feed and can help reduce boredom when horses are stabled or on restricted grazing.
  • Feeding a good quality oil source is great for coat and skin health and provides a slow release source of energy.
  • Flies and insects can be a problem. However, feeding garlic is a tried and tested method of helping to deter biting bugs.