Central Heating

Published: Tuesday, 7 December 2010 | Written by: Sylvia

Horses need more energy to maintain body heat when the temperature falls below approximately -1º (in dry, still conditions, with a nice thick coat and in good condition).

It’s been below freezing for days now but before putting on thicker rugs be sure to turn up the central heating…

Digesting feed produces heat and especially digesting fibre, the activity of the microbes in the hindgut is an important source of heat. If your horses teeth aren’t so good there are short chops and soakable fibre feeds that can replace hay, the latter with the advantage they introduce liquid at the same time.

There are various soakable feeds on the market to suit both high and low calorie needs. Speedi-beet is very versatile as it has as much energy as most “mix’s”, but only 5% carbs. A tiny quantity swells to provide a decent sized meal to appease a good doer, but a larger amount can be fed to increase condition. Straight alfalfa feeds and grass pellets are also good soaked, though alfalfa doesn’t suit all horses and the carb content of grass pellets should be checked.

Of course movement generates heat too…

About the author

Somewhat eccentric southern African, who when not discussing horses, photographing horses, debating issues relating to horses, can be found out in the pasture with the horses (her's or someone else's). In those brief moments when horses are not the topic of conversation you’ll find dogs being walked, escaped sheep being sought, bales rolled by hand across awkward fields or the weird and wonderful foundlings of the wild world that have arrived in her kitchen for care being rehabilitated for release.

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