Summer is arguably the most pleasurable time to own a horse, but it’s important to consider your horse’s nutrition throughout as this can be just as important as it is in winter. Here at Smart Horse Nutrition, we have a number of nutritious feeds to support work and health throughout the summer months, whatever the situation.
If your horse is out 24/7 during summer, the majority of their nutrition will come from grass. Summer grazing provides excellent nutrition, but the higher sugar content (WSC) of grass can be a problem for those with metabolic issues or laminitis, who may need their grazing restricted and offered a suitable lower sugar form of forage to optimise health.
However, not all grazing is good so if your horse is out on poor-quality grass it’s likely they will be lacking in vitamins, minerals and protein. A nutritious high specification balancer such as Smart Balance will help combat poor grazing as it supplies a full range of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to build quality protein. Good-quality hay or haylage in the field will provide essential fibre and a source of energy for work and condition.
Most horses’ work levels increase during the summer but if your horse is out 24/7 on good grazing the energy from grass alongside micronutrients from a balancer should easily support this. However, if your horse is working harder, additional feed may be needed to meet increased energy demands. Look for feeds containing a beneficial blend of energy sources with digestible fibre and oil. Alternatively, if your horse needs a lower starch and sugar diet the Smart Zero range is perfect for harder work.
Horses naturally gain weight during the summer, because the nutritional value of grass is higher and they don’t need to burn energy keeping warm. If your horse gains too much weight when out at grass, restricting access can help reduce calorie intake. However, it is important to replace the grass with a lower calorie forage like hay and potentially some oat straw (to replace 25% of forage) alongside a balancer to supply essential micronutrients. Smart Zero Lite can also offer an ideal solution as it is rich in oat straw, low in energy, starch and sugar and can be used as a partial forage replacer to help reduce weight.
If you have any questions or queries about the best diet for your horse this summer, fill in our diet plan request form and Lisa our nutritionist will get back to you with a personalised diet plan for your horse. Or feel free to call us on 015631 557133