Running Cool Blog

How to Safely Change Your Horse's Diet

Cameron Jensen - Monday, October 17, 2016

Many horse owners understand that sudden changes in diet can lead to health problems, like colic. In this article, we share some helpful guidelines to ensure dietary changes are made correctly to prevent these issues.

The horse has the most poorly designed digestive system out of any animal, making them highly susceptible to health problems linked to diet and dietary changes, including colic and laminitis.

As such, when making any changes to your horse’s diet - grain, hay or pasture - it’s critical that you make these changes gradually to give the microbial population in your horse’s hindgut sufficient time to adjust.

Rapid dietary changes lead to the death of good bacteria, resulting in health problems, like a severe bout of colic. The rule of thumb with dietary changes is to gradually introduce the new feed, hay or pasture over a period of 1-2 weeks.

Let’s show you how to do this…

Grain

If you’re changing the commercial feed your horse consumes - for example, for an increased workload - you should replace approximately 25% of their current feed with their new feed every other day.

However, if you’re using Running Cool, you can transition between all of our feeds in one day with no issue. All of our commercial feeds are formulated to be the same size, shape and texture, and designed so horses can change from high energy feeds to maintenance feeds with ease.

Many competitive riders, choose Sport during show season, then change to Barley/Soy when spelling their horses; likewise, breeders are able to successfully breed and compete their stallions or mares at different times of year. Best of all, neither are hit with a dramatic increase in feed cost.

Hay

While there are no published studies on changing hay types or amounts, you should follow a similar plan as above. Replace approximately 25% of their current hay with their new hay every other day.

Pasture

Particularly in Spring, turnout time should be increased gradually, starting with one hour per day in the early morning and increasing with half hour increments. Any horse that has been fed hay during Winter will need to be carefully managed during this transition.

To find out more about pasture management during Spring, click here.

If you notice a change in your horse’s manure output, such as diarrhoea, when making dietary changes, it’s best to consult a qualified equine nutritionist or veterinarian for advice.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.