Q & A: I'm going to be doing more with my horse should I change the hard feed?
QUESTION: 𝗜'𝗺 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗺𝘆 𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗹𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘀, 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀, 𝗵𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗲𝘁𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀, 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗜 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗱?
ANSWER: There will be some horses who may need to have their hard feed adjusted but don't jump too fast...
Some will start to work harder after a winter break or due to the increase in competitions, hacks etc. However, do not be tempted to up feed quantity or type until the work you are doing has increased and there is the requirement to do so. Remember the golden rule ‘never feed in anticipation of work done’. If you do, it may lead to excessive weight gain or potentially unwanted behaviour plus exacerbate certain clinical conditions. Monitor weight, BCS (Body Condition Score) alongside exercise levels and particularly at this time of year the effect of the changing grazing on your horse or pony. Only then if required make changes to hard feed gradually. You may just find the increased grazing provides the additional energy (calories) your horse requires even with an increased workload... If you do have to increase or change the feed however, ultimately you want to do it in a safe, considered manner.
Ensure that whatever the diet you are feeding that it is balanced and that you are providing electrolytes as necessary. If you are unsure it might be the perfect time for a diet check.