Feed & Nutrition

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Each horse is an individual and will have their own specific nutritional needs. With that in mind, there are several categories into which seniors can be divided based on their nutritional needs.

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For the horse owner, the onset of fall weather can signal the start of the search for storable forage before winter begins. Considerations such as forage type and storage form, nutritional content, palatability, and cost all become important.

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Horse owners have been wetting or soaking hay as a feed management practice for many years. Soaking hay for horses can be invaluable when feeding a hay that is a little dusty as a result of soil contamination or where it was stored in the barn. Horses that have allergies and are sensitive to the natural dust and particles in hay can benefit significantly from wetting or soaking hay.

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The best way to evaluate a horse’s weight and condition is with this universally recognized Body Condition Scoring (BCS) system based on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Since it can be hard to recognize if your horse is over- or underweight, it is often helpful to have two or three friends who don’t see your horse every day use the BCS system to objectively score your horse.

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“The stable environment invariably presents challenges of dust, mould and proper ventilation,” says Susan Raymond, instructor of Equine Guelph’s Management of the Equine Environment online course. “Most horses are well equipped for living outdoors and thrive, provided certain provisions are met.” Dr. Raymond completed her PhD in investigating the effects of exposure of horses to mycotoxins. She has also been involved in air quality research, which provided practical recommendations to the horse industry on stable design and management.

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Winter can make the most mundane tasks challenging. This reality is clearly illustrated when it comes to watering animals. For as long as man has worked alongside horses and livestock, there have been different watering methods and their seasonal variations.

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Nothing can drain the colour from a horse owner’s face quicker than hearing the word COLIC! Winter is an important season to focus on colic prevention and ward off water woes that can lead to impaction in the equine gut.

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