This Spring is a particularly tricky one for horse owners. Hands up if you're struggling to keep your horse's weight down this Spring? The drought, followed by good rains means our paddocks are full of incredibly sugary grass and WEEDS! Which in turn, means our horses are full of sugar and possibly toxins - leading to lots of potential health problems. Here are some ways you can help your horses stay healthy this Spring.
Take them off the grass!
I know it seems so wasteful when we finally have grass again after so long – but spring grass can be your fat pony’s worst enemy. Surprisingly, grass that is between 5 and 15cm in length is the lowest in sugar, any shorter or longer and the sugar levels are higher (so the Jenny Craig paddock idea is actually a lolly shop!) If you do want to have them on grass, put them out first thing in the morning and bring them in by 10am.
Use a Greenguard Grazing Muzzle
A muzzle can make all the difference for horses that need to be on a restricted diet. This means they can still spend time out in the pasture with their buddies. The Greenguard Grazing Muzzles are much more horse friendly that the old type. These are cooler and less claustrophobic, and they allow your horses to eat from several holes, not just one in the middle. If they need slowing down more - add a diet insert.
If you only use the muzzle when your horse goes out on the grass, and lock them in a yard the rest of the time, they will soon have a positive association with the muzzle.
Feed Low Sugar Hay in a slow feeder
Good quality low sugar hay should be tested with ESC and Starch below 10%. Put this out in slow feeder hay nets. Our hay nets are extremely durable but soft on your horse’s teeth and lips. A hay ball is another option which keeps them busy and moving. Make sure they have access to hay at least every 2 hours.
Feed the right supplements
There are some fantastic supplements which can help your horse to lose weight and process sugars (if they are insulin resistant). Kohnkes Trim is great for getting rid of a cresty neck and fat pads – and it’s in a yummy pellet that they love. Balanced Equine Hoof Xtra is vitamin and mineral supplement especially for insulin resistant horses. Our gut health supplements such as Digestive EQ and FABBY can also help your horse with Spring health issues, especially with so many weeds in the paddock.
And if you do have issues…
Keep a close eye on your horses daily for a cresty neck, warm hooves and get to know your horse's digital pulse really well so that if it is different one day, you'll recognise it immediately. If they do develop laminitis – cool their feet asap and call your vet. The easiest way to cool feet down quickly is with the Tubbease boots. Put them on and fill with iced water. Cooling the feet can be crucial for helping to prevent lasting damage from an episode of laminitis.
Click on the picture below to shop for the items you need to keep your horse trim and healthy this spring.