Horse Racing

Winter Feeding: Keeping Horses In Good Weight

  • Horses that fall into the senior classification,
  • Horses with an underlying disease;
  • Horses asked to perform their regular work throughout the cold season;
  • Horses that reside primarily outdoors in regions with harsher winters; or
  • Horses that are not routinely blanketed but do have access to shelter.

Horses maintain their core body temperatures by diverting blood flow from the skin to their internal organs, shivering, growing a thick coat, altering metabolic pathways to produce heat, and fermenting forage.

One of the key factors in determining whether or not your horse requires more feed involves frequent and precise assessment of BCS. While some owners may struggle with this process on the best of days, often underestimating their horse’s true condition and therefore overfeeding, the longer, thicker coats and use of blankets can make estimating BCS even more challenging. Nonetheless, this skill is imperative to ensure a healthy horse.

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“Be certain to use your hands to feel for fat cover rather than simply glancing at these regions to assess BCS,” advised Crandell.

Looking for a specific product to maintain an appropriate BCS in the winter? Kentucky Equine Research’s feed manufacturing partners offer high-calorie concentrates that will suit your horse’s dietary needs.


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