with hay in the fieldmight be considered. Winter is also the optimal time foryou to help

your horse to lose weight if itsoverweight. For weight lossahorse should receive1.5% of its bodyweight in dry weight hayovera24-hour period. Soaking the haywill remove sugars and nutrientsand allowafurther weight loss. Putting the hayupinseveral small haynet in different places in the field and in the stable will also encourage the horse to move around more. As always,itisimportant to add in a vitamin and mineral balancer to ensurethe horsesisgetting itsneeds coveredadequately. Horsesthat areinwork and not overweight

should have ad lib access to good quality hayand be fedabalancer or afull feed dependingontheir energy needs.

TURN OUT Lastly manyhorse ownersquestion whether the

weather is toowet, windy,orcold to turn the horse out. TheUKweather doesnormally not get that extreme that we advise not turn your horsesout, providing theyhavea shelter and adequatefood. Of course,the horses’ individual needs should

be takenintoconsideration, so if the horse is not used to being outside or has afull clip,they should be rugged up fortheir outdoor activities.


aone rug only situation is not good foryour horse.Temperatures fall at night and rise during the day, so even if your horse wascomfortable in itsheavy rug in the morning, it might be too hot later in the daywhenitisturned out. If your horse lives out in arug and is not

being ridden, it is still important to take the rug off at leastonceaday.This allows youto accurately assess your horsesbody condition scoreand ensurethe horse is not toohot and is not getting rubs from the rug. Horseswith only partial clips likeatrace

clip or bib clip might do well without arug, even when turned out. This is especially true in overweight horses. The lack of rugging will increase the metabolism in the horse and aid in weight loss. The UK horse population is getting increasingly obese and this canleadtoseveral life- style diseaseslikeEMS and laminitis. For the overweight horse,the winter is the ideal time forweight lossand weight control. The unclipped horse will do well un-rugged even

when turned out. If the weather is especially windy and wet, then arain sheet canbeconsidered. Unclipped horsesthatliveout 24/7 will

tolerateall weather conditions, including heavy

rain, snow, and sub-zerotemperatures un- rugged, provided theyhaveaccesstoashelter and adequatefood. If the horse has been living out during autumn it will have developed agood insulated coat, have slowly adapted to the outside conditions and will be quitewarm and happy.


DURING THE WINTER When we move fromsummer to winter,many horseshaveabig change in routine.Theygo from being turned out formostoforall day to being stabled forlong periods of time,as the dark, cold and wetdaystakeover. During the summer,grazing horseswill get

almostall their daily nutritional intakecovered by grassand only need to be supplemented with avitamin and mineral balancer,unless theyare in extremely hardwork. In the usual UK weather conditions, our green fields quickly turn intoknee deep mud with limited forage opportunityfor the horses. Horsesare trickle feedersand should always

ideally have access to qualityforage.So, if your field is moremud than grass, them supplementing

Line Kjær DVM MRCVS After graduating from the University of Copenhagen, Line completed an internship in South Africa, joining a large hospital with mainly thoroughbred stud farms as clientele. She has also worked as a stud vet in Japan and Scotland. Line has a particular interest in foal diseases and internal medicine, alongside all aspects of routine stud work. •AvonvaleEquinePractice, RatleyLodge,Ratley, Banbury,OX156DT T


PleasementionCentralHorseNewswhenresponding toAdvertisementsNOVEMBER/DECEMBER2020


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