Whilst spring brings longer days and warmer weather, a change in season also means your horse’s diet needs to be reviewed; transitioning from a winter to spring nutritional plan needs careful consideration to ensure your horse is happy and healthy over the summer months.
In particular, it is important to consider the following elements:
More than ever, your horse will need sufficient amounts of fresh, uncontaminated water. This should be easily accessible at all times. Additional exercise in warmer months can lead to excessive sweating and therefore, a risk of dehydration, so the requirement for fresh water is even more important than normal!
A change in season means a change to how your horse forages. Whilst turned out, your horse’s main forage source will be grass. However, whilst an excellent source of nourishment, fresh grass can have a high sugar level (referred to as a water-soluble carbohydrate) which is not ideal for all horses. Horses prone to laminitis should be closely monitored, and appropriate steps should be taken to control or restrict grazing intake if symptoms are identified. In addition, an overindulgence in fresh grass can overwhelm the digestive system and lead to an imbalance in gut flora. Painful colic can be avoided through appropriate rationing.
Grass undoubtedly provides a strong nourishment source, with much higher levels of fibre than the hay they will have been fed over winter months. Variety is key to a healthy diet, so ensure an adequate amount of hay is also available in the field.
If you have any questions or would like advice, please contact your local practice.