After the challenges of 2020 we hope you are all taking a decent break over summer with plenty of time spent with your horses.
Warmer temperatures and settled weather mean it’s a busy period for most horse owners. Longer daylight hours mean more time for riding and most equestrian disciplines have full calendars of events. While New Zealand summer temperatures are milder than in some parts of the world, they can reach significant heights. The following feeding and management factors should be considered to keep horses healthy and comfortable as temperatures increase.
Ensure your horse always has enough fibre
Fibre is the most important part of the horse’s diet and inadequate amounts of forage consumed daily can increase the risk of digestive problems. Lack of fibre can also mean energy requirements aren’t being met, which could result in weight loss. In areas where heat and lack of rain has caused pastures to dry off over summer, horses will need supplementary forage through hay or baleage, chaff or fibre sources such as super fibres.
Essential nutrients to meet the nutritional demands of your horse
As forage alone doesn’t meet requirements for many essential nutrients, using a balanced McMillan feed at the
correct levels is a great way to compliment forage and provide a balanced overall diet. McMillan feeds are made in
New Zealand and contain formulations that complement New Zealand forages, to suit New Zealand horses.
Grain Free is a blend of super fibres with a fully balanced premix. It’s perfect for this time of the year as it offers
hydration as well as premium nutrition.
Constant access to fresh clean water
Constant access to fresh, clean water is essential, as some horses water intake will increase up to 100L per day,
especially if they are working and sweating consistently.
Access to salt blocks
Giving access to a salt block in the paddock is a great way to ensure sodium and chloride lost through sweat is
replaced and a balanced electrolyte that also contains potassium and magnesium will be required for working horses.
Supplements for hoof health
Hoof health is especially important in the dryer months, especially with horses working on harder ground. The nutrients needed for hoof growth – usually biotin, methionine and others – are often contained in a horse’s normal diet but adding a hoof supplement ensures that the horse has sufficient material to maximize development of strong hoof tissue. Hooves grow slowly however. The outside of the hoof won’t show the full effect of a hoof supplement for several months. For best results, use the supplement continuously across all seasons.
Using plenty of forage, salt and supplements if required and a balanced McMillan feed at the right levels, is a great way to provide a simple but nutritionally balanced diet.
For further assistance and advice consult Luisa Wood, Equine Nutritionist.