Providing a balanced, healthy diet suitable for the level of work undertaken by your horse is a key aspect of management. Overfeeding, underfeeding or unbalanced diets can lead to several problems. The most common we see include:
This is caused by a number of factors, but most commonly an excess of grass and/or feed. Where a restricted diet is required, supplements must be added to ensure that vitamin and mineral levels are maintained.
Equine Rhabdomylosis (ERS)
This is caused by overfeeding, but usually in association with a sudden decrease in workload. If your horse has to stop work suddenly, make sure the hard feed intake is significantly reduced to try and avoid ERS. Electrolyte or mineral imbalances can also be a cause in recurrent cases. These can require extensive investigation.
Excitability or difficult behaviour
We often encounter overfed or inappropriately fed horses, which are receiving too much protein and starch for the workload they are doing. By simply decreasing their hard feed and increasing the forage content of the diet you can vastly improve behaviour and therefore the welfare of your horse.
This may be caused by underfeeding or by an inability to digest feed efficiently. If your horse is failing to thrive, please seek veterinary advice.We are happy to give advice: please telephone the practice and ask to speak to an equine vet if you have any queries on nutrition for your horse. Always remember the higher the proportion of forage the better.