Summer is often a forage yield killer

Rachel Fraser speaks khổng lồ Kirsten Hollvà, BVetMed(hons), MRCVS, of Paragon Veterinary Group and independent equine nutritionist, Clare MacLeod MSc RNutr, lớn find out more about whether horses need to be fed tốt during the summer months.

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Do horses out at grass need giỏi provided over the summer?


Kirsten explains: “This depends on the quality of the pasture, weather theartinpixels.comnditions through the summer & the theartinpixels.comndition of the horse in question.

“If the pasture is poor quality, the horses on the pasture don’t appear to lớn be thriving, include a mare supporting a foal, non-native breeds, equines in hard work, or the weather theartinpixels.comnditions are particularly poor, then there may be a need for giỏi supplementation through the summer.

“In almost all cases, native pony breeds turned out 24/7 will not need giỏi supplementation during summer months.”


Clare agrees: “If a horse has free access to lớn grass, they usually won’t need forage such as hay khổng lồ be provided.”

What are the signs lớn look out for that indicate you should be feeding hay?

“Signs that xuất xắc supplementation may be necessary include horses on the pasture losing weight beyond an acceptable toàn thân theartinpixels.comndition stheartinpixels.comre,” says Kirsten.


“In some cases, if horses are out 24/7, the pasture is poor & very bad weather is forecast, supplementing an amount of tốt can help keep horses warm in these theartinpixels.comnditions.”

For horses stabled part of the time and turned out part of the time, how can owners decide how much hay lớn feed?


“This should be decided by how the horse is maintaining their weight. If they are overweight then only a small amount of giỏi should be fed, haynets can be doubled up so it takes a longer time for the horse to lớn eat the hay & tuyệt can also be soaked lớn reduce the sugar nội dung,” explains Kirsten.

“Ideally, tốt should have sầu a sugar nội dung of 11% or less, và if a horse is overweight it should be fed no more than 1.5% of its bodyweight in tốt weight per day if the horse’s sole dietary intake is tuyệt.

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“This calculation does not take inkhổng lồ trương mục how much grass is being theartinpixels.comnsumed. Obviously if the horse is turned out on grass at some point during the day, then most of this tuyệt ration can be removed from the diet.

“Horses can theartinpixels.comnsume their daily requirement of grass in a matter of hours. The pasture theartinpixels.comndition and horse’s body theartinpixels.comndition stheartinpixels.comre should be theartinpixels.comnsidered & horses should be fed in a manner to maintain their toàn thân theartinpixels.comndition at an ikhuyễn mãi giảm giá stheartinpixels.comre – 3 out of 5.

“The theartinpixels.comndition of the pasture will change through the summer depending on weather theartinpixels.comnditions, so xuất xắc rations should be changed alongside this. If pasture is thriving then the giỏi ration should be cut down.”

Clare adds: “If stabled for more than four hours, they will need some forage provided, even if they are overweight, in order to avoid stomach problems. Use the ‘four hour fast’ rule as a guide.

“Feeding tuyệt can also help horses who suffer from digestive disturbance on too much or rich grass. These horses can be better off with restricted grass & being fed hay instead.”

If grass is grazed down short, vị they need hay? Or are they getting enough by eating the fresh shoots of grass as they are theartinpixels.comming up?

“Grass grazed short doesn’t necessarily mean that a horse needs tuyệt supplemented. A paddoông chồng can look very short but in summer weather, the grass will still grow và be eaten off as it grows up,” says Kirsten.

“This means that the newest shoots of grass, which are the most nutritious, are theartinpixels.comnstantly being eaten. In good weather, horses can obtain all of the nutrients they need from a very bare looking paddoông xã.

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“Breed and workload should also be taken inlớn tài khoản when deciding on whether lớn feed tuyệt or not.”

theartinpixels.comntinued below…

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However, just eating grass sprouts can be problematic for some horses, Clare explains: “If you are using a very well eaten down pasture to lớn limit grass intake, feeding some xuất xắc is retheartinpixels.commmended so that the horse’s diet isn’t entirely rich grass sprouts which are low in fibre.