Winter weight - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Winter weight

My three horses share the same 4 acres of pasture to graze in all summer.

Through the winter they all get a lg coffee can brimming full of Allegra and 1/3 a bale of good grass hay each in the evening, plus the pasture.

They're rode about every weekend in the summer and less in the winter.
Why do they lose wt in the winter?

BS

Toni
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 01:27 AM
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Well, In my experience here in New Zealand, horses lose weight in winter as they have to put more energy into keeping warm as the climate gets so cold - this regardless of how well rugged up they are. Also (once again, here in NZ) the grass growth is poor in winter and because it is so cold, it begins to lack the amount of nutrients thats normally in the ground (usually because of frosts or snow fall). Therefore we up the feed intake in winter, and by the time Spring rolls around your away again! Hope this helps, as I have no idea what your weather is like... never been to America!

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post #3 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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I think you are right on. Our winters here in Oregon can come early and stay late, getting down to 30 degrees many many nights. Although for the past month it's been a mild onset. So far we are still in the 40s at night and 50s all day. I thought that the Allegra and hay at night would be enough. But I'm thinking I'm going to have to begin feeding twice a day or beef up the Allegra... And put the blankets on.
Thanks!

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post #4 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 01:57 AM
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Hehehe... Had a little giggle when I read that - down to 30 Degrees! lol Sorry, but on our hot summer days over here we are lucky to reach up to 30 degrees! Right now, on the 2nd official day of our summer, we currently have a high of 8 degrees :P

But, glad to be of help!

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmysSlave View Post
Hehehe... Had a little giggle when I read that - down to 30 Degrees! lol Sorry, but on our hot summer days over here we are lucky to reach up to 30 degrees! Right now, on the 2nd official day of our summer, we currently have a high of 8 degrees :P

But, glad to be of help!
Doesn't New Zealand go by Celsius though?
30 F = -1 C
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 09:45 AM
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30 degrees is nothing here it gets down to -35. I've never found it a problem to keep weight on in the winter. We feed free choice good hay 24/7 and thats it. No grain , no blankets, just all the hay they want. Our mares weight more in the spring then they do now after coming off pasture and raising a foal.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 10:11 AM
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Free choice hay IOW all they can eat is the best way to keep a horse warm and the weight up over the winter

I like to use rounds for the free choice part and then I add a flake or two at each feeding for a treat... and people don't realize that by feeding true grains many horses will lose weight from the extra energy you are giving them makes them do more... therefore they burn more calories...

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Supermane View Post
Doesn't New Zealand go by Celsius though?
30 F = -1 C
Ahh yes! Now that makes a whole lot more sense! Lol

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 01:37 PM
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We feed our 2 horses a square bale in the morning and evening all winter (unless they aren't eating much of it, then we do about 3/4 of a bale each time), plus a large scoop of grain each. The older horse recently has started losing weight in the winter, but nothing really serious. He has had his teeth floated a couple of times and that helps a little...but he is also losing teeth. So, depending on the age of your horses, it could be partly due to something like this as well.

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-02-2008, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by babysitter View Post
My three horses share the same 4 acres of pasture to graze in all summer.

Through the winter they all get a lg coffee can brimming full of Allegra and 1/3 a bale of good grass hay each in the evening, plus the pasture.

They're rode about every weekend in the summer and less in the winter.
Why do they lose wt in the winter?

BS
Because they need more food to keep warm and handle the weekend riding. If they're losing weight, then they're not getting enough food to sustain them. Try increasing the hay to 1/2 a bale each. You can also add some alfalfa pellets to alfalfa hay for increased calories. Feed a coffee can of the alfalfa pellets along with the allegra and see if that helps, or feed 1-2 heavy flakes of alfalfa per horse per day.

Our two have been doing fine on a 1/2 bale of GOOD quality grass hay a day (fertilized hay, high protein). We feed them 2-4 times a day, depending on how much we're home. They also get one 2qt scoop of chopped pre-bloom alfalfa hay, 1/2 of a 2qt scoop of whole oats, and a vitamin supplement. No grain, no feed, no extras. This simple diet seems to keep the weight on better than when we used to feed extra grain/feed to them.
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