السبت 22 يونيو 2024

Your Horse's Winter Energy Needs

موقع أيام نيوز

When the days start getting shorter horse owners know that winter is just around the corner and its time to start thinking about winter feeding regimes. Feeding horses in virtually all parts of Canada during the winter months involves a need for increased energy intake because of cold temperatures and inclement weather. The amount of additional energy required by your horse will be even greater in extremely cold climates.
For many horse owners winter can also mean a reduction in activity. Wet weather or extreme cold can reduce the opportunities for riding or working with our horses even for those of us with a snug barn or the use of an indoor arena.
How do we balance the increased energy requirements necessitated by cold weather with the potentially reduced energy requirements of horses doing less work? What is the best way to increase energy intake in our horses during cold weather in order to meet their increased maintenance requirements without creating a monster that will chew the barn down when met with several idle days in a row or become a frustrating liability under saddle when we do manage to make our way out to the barn?

What is Energy?
Lets backtrack for a minute and talk about what energy is. Frequently described as a nutrient energy is actually a physical and chemical measurement defined by the calorie or the measure of a feeds potential to fuel bodily functions. In equine nutrition we quantify energy as mega calories of digestible energy. Digestible energy DE refers to the amount of energy in the feedstuff minus the amount of energy in the undigested feedstuff fecal material. This term is used exclusively in equine nutrition
The foundation of all equine energy requirements is the maintenance energy requirement or the need for energy to fuel all the basic housekeeping type bodily functions including but not limited to breathing chewing digestion heart rate and immune function in a thermoneutral environment where no additional energy is required to keep the body warm. Bodily functions such as exercise growth pregnancy and lactation and environmental conditions such as wind rain and cold weather all require additional energy from digested feedstuffs.
Sources of Equine Energy
Energy in the equine diet comes primarily from carbohydrate and fat digestion. Carbohydrates are commonly the most significant contributor to the energy balance in an equine diet. Carbohydrates can be subdivided into two categories non fibrous carbohydrates and fibrous or complex