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Conditioning Advice For The Winter From TopSpec

YOU want to do the best for your horse but there are so many choices! Deciding what to feed your horse in the winter can be very confusing. There are an enormous number of feeds to choose from and everyone gives you different advice, so how do you choose?

A good start is to talk to an experienced equine nutritionist. Many feed companies offer a free telephone advisory service, to help you make the right choice for your horse.

The onset of autumn means horse owners can no longer rely on grass to provide most, or all, of our horses nutritional needs. As the night draw in the feeding value of grass falls away sharply and cold weather means that horses need more calories in their food than in summer just to keep warm.

A sensible winter feeding program starts with minimizing heat loss.

Keeping your horse warm and dry in a stable will not only make his life more pleasant but will also reduce his requirements for calories. This is essential for fully clipped horses and ponies.

If energy is to be used efficiently it must be balanced with protein, vitamins and minerals. TopSpec Feed Balancer, as the name implies, provides the protein, vitamins and minerals to balance forage and allow it to be used more efficiently.

It also contains yeast to improve utilisation of fibre in the forage even further. Because feed balancers contain a lot of nutrients in a small amount of feed they allow owners to feed a diet that contains a high proportion of forage to concentrate.

Because they are fed in such small quantities the most effective feed balancers have concentrated formulations with high specifications for vitamins and minerals. Many horses in light work can winter in excellent condition on just haylage and a top specification feed balancer.

If more energy is needed, for work or weight gain, look first at high-fibre sources of calories. Products such as sugar beet pulp, alfalfa chop, grass nuts or bran are all 'non-heating' sources of energy.

Cooked cereals, for example micronised barley, provide more calories for maintaining condition but the most concentrated source of calories is oil, preferably soya or corn oil, and they have the added advantage of being 'non-heating'.

For further information contact the TopSpec Helpline FREE on 0870 240 6596 or visit


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