By Peter Fishpool of Scientific Nutritional Products
The past few months have brought the majority of us in the UK hot, sunny and rain-free weather. Although most of us enjoy these sunny days – boosting vitamin D levels, topping up the tan and relaxing in the warmth – the hot weather is NOT ideal for the condition of our horses’ pasture! The powerful sun can bleach, weaken and dry the grass during peak summer time, and it can therefore loose a big percentage of its nutritional value at this time of year.
During the summer, most horse owners will maximise their horses’ opportunity for turn out, and this can lead to the grass become sparse. Fertilising the grass in the spring can be an important measure, dependent on the land, and earlier in the summer, methods like topping the field to encourage new growth can be wise. But in the height of the summer, the options to boost the grass are significantly reduced!
Why not section off parts of your field with electric fencing, so the grazed area can be rotated, offering our equines fresher grass each week? Or potentially rest the field for a few days if rain does come, to encourage new growth?
Critically, if your horse or pony has lost condition as the grass levels have decreased, this needs to be addressed. Their concentrate feed may need to be increased, however as forage is the most important aspect of our horse’s diet, making up the difference in hard feed isn’t always the answer.
Offering good quality and ample hay in the field to supplement the grass, when it has decreased in quality and quantity, is absolutely essential. The horse below was given hay in his field at the start of September, once the grass became weaker and drier, as you can see from our photo.
In addition, when the grass quality has reduced, it may be beneficial to include a horse vitamin supplement in the diet to ensure our equines are receiving a balanced diet.
Vitamins and Minerals received through diet are crucial, so if your pasture has diminished it is highly advisable to supply a Vitamin and Mineral Supplement such as Horse & Pony Multivitamin Supplement from Scientific Nutritional Products. Equine Vitamins and minerals play a multitude of roles within the body including supporting the immune system, bone and teeth structure, benefiting eyesight and assisting nerve and muscle functioning.