The horse industry in Iowa is growing faster than ever before. From activities surrounding horse breeding, showing, racing, housing, training, riding and care, it employs more than 2,100 people and accounts for millions in revenue each year. The economic impact from horse breeding and owning is doing much to support our state’s ag-centric economy, and we need you to play an important part in making this message heard.
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Cold temperatures combined with wet, snowy and windy conditions increase the feed requirements necessary to maintain the body condition in horses. Extra calories are necessary to meet the energy requirements necessary for keeping warm. The best way to meet the increased energy requirements if feeding more good quality hay
The body condition of horses based on the degree of fat cover is a good indicator of a horse’s general health. The body condition score (BCS) allows one to access if the horse is too thin, too fat, or about right. Horses are scored on a scale from 1 (poor) to 9 (extremely fat)
Many ponies and horses are overweight which puts them at a higher risk for obesity, insulin resistance, laminitis and equine metabolic syndrome. These diseases are associated with the animal eating high intakes of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) which causes caloric intake to exceed the horse’s requirements. For horses with the above problems, feed restriction and stall/dry lot confinement are recommended. The use of a grazing muzzle may allow the horse to be turned out on pasture. It is best to allow animals at risk for laminitis to graze during the overnight hours and early in the morning when NSC are likely to be lower in the pasture.