Summer is here and it is a great time to get out and spend time with your horse. It is also an important time to watch what you feed your horse during the hotter months of the year. During times of high temperatures, you want to feed your horse “cool feeds”. “Cool feeds” are feeds that do not produce a lot of heat when being digested because of fermentation in the hindgut.
Benefits of Fat:
Fat is digested very efficiently through the horse’s small intestine and produces very little heat while being digested. Adding fats to your horse’s diet when it is hot is the perfect way to increase calories to their diet. When it is hotter your horse is more likely to burn more calories than in the cooler months. While increasing the amount of fat that is in your horse’s diet is beneficial, reducing their protein intake is important as well.
Too Much Protein:
The process of digesting protein produces large amounts of metabolic heat. With the increase in the horse’s internal heat, they burn more calories through the process of digesting protein. The extra heat produced on a high protein diet in hot weather will make your horse sweat more, burn more calories, and drink more water to get rid of the excess heat and nitrogen in their body.
It is crucial in hot weather to make sure your horse has fresh drinking water. If possible, the water troughs temperature should be controlled. The ideal water temperature is between 45 degrees and 65 degrees. Making sure the water is either in an insulated container or placed in the shade will make for an adequate water temperature. The average horse will drink up to 10 gallons in a day. In higher temperatures, their water intake can increase up to 20-30 gallons a day. Water is important for optimal health, be sure your horse has access to fresh water all day long.
When your horse sweats he loses minerals stored in his body. Primarily sodium, chloride, and potassium. These minerals are better known as electrolytes. To help limit the depletion of vital minerals in your horse’s diet while the temperatures are high add in a mineral supplement to ensure that your horse is getting the proper nutrients to stay healthy throughout the hot summer. Horse Guard has a variety of supplements that can provide your horse with the correct vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy throughout the summer months.
By: Emma Edgren