With winter just around the corner and the weather starting to get colder, we thought we would talk about why and what we feed our horses to help maintain weight and condition through victorian winters.
What kind of feed do we use?
We chose a grain-free diet for our horses for a couple of reasons:
- Horses are designed to chew 16-20 hours a day. When feeding 1kg of hay, a horse will chew approximately 3000-4500 times in about 40 minutes. When eating 1kg of a grain based pellet, they only chew 350-500 in about 5 minutes. What we choose to feed is high in fibre and contains no grain, therefore encouraging horses to chew as they were designed to.
- Particularly coming into winter, we’re aware that horses generate heat through the fibre fermentation process in the hindgut. This is what helps maintain their body temperature. This fermentation process doesn’t work when feeding a grain based diet, leading to overfeeding in an effort to maintain weight and condition. High grain based diets may also lead to ulcers and digestive upsets in horses.
By utilizing a grain free diet, we allow our animals to maintain the most natural behaviors possible. All while minimizing wastage and the possibility of digestive issues.
The products we use
As a believer in supporting Australian family businesses, all of our horses are fed with Johnson’s Natural Formula products.
Most of our horses are on the ‘Platinum Low GI’, which is a great slow release feed that we find helps with muscle development and body condition.
When our thoroughbreds are in the let down stage or are looking a bit thinner than desired, we feed ‘Every Horse Weight Gain’. Both are a complete feed with minerals, prebiotics, probiotics and a mycotoxin binder.
We find that using Johnson’s feeds makes it easy for us to maintain the diet of a large number of horses. Additionally, buying all of our feeds from the one brand, means that they are engineered to work alongside one another, giving us one less thing to worry about.
How do I change my feed?
If you are looking at changing your horses feed, It’s important to change their diet gradually. Below is Johnson’s recommendations for introducing a new feed. (In this case, specifically a Johnsons product)
Introduce any new feeds into your horse’s diet gradually over a 1-2 week period.
Designed to be fed in conjunction with roughage such as pasture and hay. May be fed either wet or dry, alone or combined with other ingredients (eg. chaff or grains). Horses should receive a minimum of 1% of their body weight in roughage per day.
The suggested feeding rates are a guide, and the amount required will vary depending on the quality and quantity of pasture and hay available, stage of training, exercise intensity, body condition and metabolism of your horse.
Divide into smaller feeds if feeding over 0.5kg per 100kg of body weight per day.
Ensure your horse always has access to clean water!
Different solutions work for everyone, so make sure you consult with your vet if you are unsure or are worried about your horses health. This is what works for us though! And we couldn’t recommend Johnson’s products highly enough.
We provide a couple of days worth of feed with every OTT thoroughbred we sell, giving the new owner an opportunity to gradually transition the horse to a new diet.
Do you have any nutritional solutions you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about them!