This time of year is the time to assess your horse’s weight. Are they looking rather rotund from being stabled? Have you been a little lax about riding because of the miserable weather?
Now is the time to get them burning calories by reducing the thickness of their rugs, cutting down hard feed, and increasing their workload. Then you don’t have to worry that they’ll have access to lush spring grass whilst being overweight and so be at risk of laminitis. Grass can start growing anytime from now so it’s worth keeping an eye on your fields and adjusting their turnout or field hay ration accordingly, which will also help keep the risk of laminitis at bay.
Let’s take a look at how a wild horse’s weight naturally fluctuates through the seasons because the spring grass is starting to come through and then we all have to be vigilant for the dreaded L-word.
This is when horses should be in their peak condition. Grass is growing steadily, it’s warm, the grass has a fairly good level of nutrition but there might be slight variations if there’s a hot spell.
There is a flush of rich, highly nutritious grass in the autumn, and the horses put on a bit of weight in preparation for the coming months. After the flush of grass, the temperature cools down and the grass grows more slowly and with less nutritional value.
Wild horses may look on the rotund side in autumn, but their bodies are stock piling energy reserves for the colder months.
Grass stops growing at six degrees…
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