3 ways to avoid colic in winter

Equine Guelph, the horse owners’ and caregivers’ Centre at the University of Guelph, has these three simple but effective advice for you to keep you horse from colic this winter:

Rule #1 – Increase Forage in Diet
Forage is critical for hindgut fermenters. An 1100-pound horse should consume 2.0% to 2.5 % of their body weight per day in forage (22 to 28 lbs). Horses produce saliva only when they chew, therefore feeding forage ad-lib will increase the production of saliva – one of the best buffers for the horses’ digestive system and the most effective way to reduce the chance of ulcers and impaction colic.

Rule #2 – Keep your Horse Hydrated
While on the topic of impaction, 24/7 access to clean water is always imperative to keep all that forage moving. Remember, horses tend to drink less in the winter and impactions usually form with dry feed. Water in buckets can freeze within hours of filling, so be sure your horse doesn’t become dehydrated because he can’t drink.

Rule #3 – Maximize Turnout and Exercise
Keep moving! Horses are not humans; they are trickle feeders designed to graze up to 18 hours a day while travelling 16km or more a day, while satisfying their need to feed. The bottom line is that a horse who is in a stall for most of the day is more prone to colic than one who is turned out. Many stable designers are thinking outside the box and developing track systems that encourage horses to move around in order to access resources. Improved motility of the digestive tract is just one of the health benefits.

Source: The university of Guelph

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