Food for thought

Posted 12th October 2017

Everything you need to know to make sure your pony’s getting the food he needs while he’s stabled...

Our expert

Emma Short is a nutritionist at Baileys Horse Feeds. It’s her job to work out what goes in the feeds and advise customers on what’s best for their horse.

T he cold and wet winter weather, combined with less grass and muddy fields mean that often there’s no choice but to stable your pony for part of the day so it’s important to know how best to feed him.

When he was turned out over the summer, your pony had plenty of grass to eat and also got some exercise walking around searching for the best bits. But when he’s in his stable he’s standing around a lot, and relies on you to bring him the food he needs.

Forage for all

Your pony should eat at least 1.5% of his bodyweight a day in forage and it’s your job to make sure he’s getting enough. Here’s how to work out how much he needs…

1. Weigh your pony using a weightape or weighbridge.

2. Use a calculator to multiply his weight by 0.015

3. The answer is how many kilogrammes of forage he needs to eat each day.

For example, if your pony weighs 400kg…
400kg x 0.015 = 6kg, so he needs a minimum of 6kg of forage to eat each day

Hay vs haylage

Some ponies do better on one than the other – there’s no right or wrong answer as to whether hay or haylage is the right decision. At some yards you might not have a choice, but it’s good to know the difference.

Haylage is usually harvested earlier than hay so is often higher in calories and nutrients. But, because it contains more moisture, you may need to feed more of it than hay to get the same amount of goodness.

Did you know?

It’s really important to make sure your pony always has access to forage because his digestive system works best with a constant trickle of fibre passing through it.

 

Read more about feeding stabled ponies over winter in December PONY magazine, on sale now!

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