Horse Health

Feeding in Winter

December 31, 2009

Are you and your horse prepared for the cold months ahead?

Its important to make sure your horses get plenty of roughage

It's important to make sure your horses get plenty of roughage throughout the winter. (Photo by Christine Hamilton)

From AQHA corporate partner Tractor Supply Co.

The nutritional needs of most horses will change during the winter months due to the changes in the weather and environment. There are a few key categories that you should take into consideration for your horses’ nutritional needs this winter.

Water – horses will decrease their water intake as the temperature falls

  • To help increase their intake during the winter, maintain the water temperature between 45 degrees and 65 degrees F.

Your horse’s health is important to you. To stay on top of it and keep up-to-date on health information, check out our Common Horse Health Issues report. You’ll find information about strangles, West Nile virus, colic, laminitis, EPM and more!

  • Make sure there is a fresh supply daily because their average consumption of water is 10 to 15 gallons per day.
  • Do not allow their water supply to freeze.

Roughage/Forage – the selection of high-quality roughage or forage is crucial

  • It accounts for 60 to 90 percent of your horse’s nutrient intake. Remember, during the winter months, pasture sources decrease.
  • When selecting a quality roughage or forage, make sure it is clean, dust- and mold-free, of necessary nutritional value and free from contaminants.
  • Be sure to test the protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins and energy (TDN) to assist you in properly balancing your horse’s diet.
  • Feed as often as possible and no less than two or three times per day, since horses require roughage continually and regularly.

Quality Feed and Feed Supplements – assist in providing an adequate balance of nutrients this winter

  • Supplement your horse’s daily roughage or forage intake with a quality feed that will sufficiently balance out the protein, fiber, mineral, vitamins and energy.
  • Some horses also require additional feed supplements during the winter such as: mineral supplements, vitamin supplements or a micro-nutrient supplement.

Your horses’ nutritional needs may vary according to size, age, temperament, activity level, environmental conditions, health and stress level. Utilize your own experience as well as guidance from your vet to adjust your horse’s diet for optimal health this winter.

Tractor Supply Co. carries the quality feed and feed products you need this winter. Now available at your local TSC store is Nutrena (LOGO) SafeChoice and Life Design feed. Locate your nearest Tractor Supply Co. store or shop online for your horse.

It’s always important to be prepared for any kind of medical emergency. Let AQHA help with our Common Horse Health Issues report. It will help you learn more about common health issues horse owners face.