Feeding the horse correctly during training is something that is always taken into account, but the necessary importance is not given to the correct feeding of the horse during the days of rest.
Here we will talk about when and how to change the training feed to rest to maintain the health of the horse and get the best performance when appropriate return to work.
The horse at rest must have much fodder and less feed
Due to the fact that their energetic wear is minimal, their diet will be based on a high fiber and low starch food , which can be achieved through a high availability of good forage, and little amount of feed or cereals.
The function of forage is not only to provide fiber, but also is responsible for the horse is not bored and maintain the optimal functions of the digestive tract.
The horse that chews is entertained and healthy.
The forage should not be high in protein, therefore alfalfa should not be given as a single source of fiber. A good forage for this period is the hay (ryegrass, fescue) if it is in the box, or the grass of the meadow itself if it is free.
The use of balancers
When the amounts of feed are as low as those that can receive a horse at rest should be provided balancers or balancers to ensure an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, and also that the proportions are optimal.
Feeding the horse at rest
1. Breaks in the box for short periods
It is normal for livestock to rest on Monday. Rest people and horses too.
In those isolated days in which the horse does not leave the box half of the feed ration must be supplied, but all the forage.
The feed ration should not be completely removed for two reasons:
- It can alter the intestinal flora.
- The horse will become nervous (stress increases) to see that the other horses receive their ration and he has the empty feeder.
You have to provide enough fodder so that you are entertained and prevent digestive problems on the day you will remain in the box. Horses that work regularly and are strong should be very entertained the day they do not leave.
2. Breaks in the box for long periods
If the horse is going to be at rest for longer than one day he should go to a paddock, take him out to the walker or order a person to move him, since the lack of movement also affects intestinal peristalsis (waves of movement) slowing it down, it can lead to colic.
When changes are made in the feeding of a horse, these must be gradual and gradual, so that each day you increase the amount of new feed and decreasing the amount of the old, and in 7-10 days you have made the complete change.
If the horse goes to rest in the box for less than 15 days, it is not operative to change the feed, then you must choose to decrease its amount.
If you were a foreseer and you know that you are going to go for only 15 days, you will have decreased the workload gradually a few days before, and also the ration.
Main problems of the horse that rests in a box:
- Do not nibble food continuously
- The lack of movement
Eating continuously relieves that boredom as well as preventing ulcers and colic.
If the horse rests for more than 15-20 days, consider changing the training feed to a low-calorie rest meal.
To help you eat your feed ration more slowly and salivate well, you can supply pre-cut balanced forages to a small size that mix with the feed.
If in addition this I think is of bigger pellets that slow down the mastication and therefore increase the salivation, you get double benefit.
Horse feeding at rest in the meadow
In the field you will not have movement problems, but you should check that the amount of grass is sufficient or, if on the contrary, you will need to supplement it with hay.
Keep in mind that you should not over-graze a field because it would end up running out of grass, so you should be proactive and provide hay if the grass is quite short.
If the horse is with others you should supervise that he eats his ration. Hierarchies in the pack can make the last of the chain go without eating.
As with the feed, the changes when passing it to the meadow should be progressively. The days before leaving it permanent in freedom take it to graze for a short period of time first, and go increasing it later.
Be careful also when you pass it to a field with a lot of grass. If you leave it loose, apart from eating too much and being able to have cramps or diarrhea, you will trample all the grass. In that case it is better to divide the field into smaller plots with an electric shepherd’s tape, calculating the surface to eat per day.