A few quick tips on feeding your four legged friend this winter!
*FEED LITTLE AND OFTEN*
That pretty much explains itself... It's important not to feed too much hard feed at once as it can lead to a bit of a hyper horse or (at worst) colic. Feed small feeds at multiple times during the day to avoid this.
Make sure you use chaff as it slows your horse down when feeding - avoiding indigestion and helping your horse process and digest all of his feed. We use Horsehage's Mollichaff because the horses love the taste and it is nice and moist which is great for the horses who don't like too much added water in their feed.
Be sure to supplement your horse's feed, you can do your own research to find out which supplements are best for your horse. Need help? Contact us or head over to the NAF website.
Here's what we feed:
Seaweed - Good for all round health, packed with vitamins and minerals.
Devil's Root/Claw - Great for joints, we use devil's root for some of our older horses who are susceptible to arthritis. Devil's claw is also known as 'Devil's Relief', a NAF product sold in both liquid and powder form, which can be found in most horse feed shops.
Turmeric (paired with black pepper) - Turmeric is a fantastic supplement full of anti-oxidants, we also feed it because of its anti-inflammatory qualities (great for arthritis) always feed with a sprinkle of black pepper. (Want to know why? Contact us!)
Pink Powder - Another great NAF product which contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, is great for digestion and... Well, why wouldn't you use it?!
Vegetable Oil - Vital for; not just a shiny horse but also a waterproof coat and a healthy horse. You can buy this from most feed stores but if all else fails... Head down to TESCO!
Biotin - Improves strength of horses hooves
Garlic - Garlic is amazing for many things. People have been using garlic for years because of its medicinal and antiseptic qualities (great for the skin and sweet itch) garlic is also fantastic for the respiratory system, repels flies, acts as an anti-inflammatory and even acts as a pain reliever! WOW! All of that in one supplement? And it's natural? Yes please!
Aloe Vera - We have used Aloe Vera liquid gel in our feeds for a long time (since it saved the life of our pony, Moon) and it's one of those things that is just great for everything. There's even an MSM version that is great for joints.
Always make sure to add water to your horse's feed. Not only does it keep the feed moist, (to avoid choking or coughing) but water is also one of the most important colic preventatives out there. It may mean you have to take an extra trip to the tap but it's worth it, wouldn't you say?
Is your horse turning his nose up at your carefully made feed? This is so frustrating because you just want him to get his extra nutrients (or medicine). There are lots of ways to make your horse eat but our favourite is apple juice. Buy a big carton of cheap apple juice and keep it in your feed room. If apple juice doesn't work, or you need a quick fix and have no time to pop to the shops, feel free to contact us, we are always happy to help at Hesteyri Horses.
This may be the strangest tip but if you want to warm up your horses feed on a cold winter's night, adding herbal teas can be the ideal solution. Each tea does something different so do some research as to what you want and then infuse a bag in hot water before adding it to the feed. Make sure it's not too hot to feed by checking the feed against the back of your hand. (hint: our favourite tea to feed is chamomile)
Try to feed at roughly the same time each day to avoid restless horses or, in the worst case scenario, colic
Stir the feed well so that your horse gets a varied meal and also so that the chaff is mixed all the way through your horse's feed to slow your horse down and avoid him 'bolting' his feed.
*CHECK YOUR FEEDS*
If your horse is hot headed or prone to laminitis, check out the sugar content/customer reviews of feeds before buying them. Even feeds that claim to be calming may have adverse effects on horses so try to find out about other people's experiences (you an even do this by joining a forum or facebook group and asking there, you may even make some new, like-minded friends along the way!).