In all scenarios, in winter months, mares must be given at least 1.5 to 3% of their body weight in some type of forage; it very well may be as lengthy stem hay, chopped hays, forage-based cubes, or mixtures. In horses confined to stalls, using lower energy grass hays will allow for maximal intake and counter boredom, and reduce the incidence of gastric ulcers or stereotypical behaviors associated with stress and confinement. Assuming that ventilation in the barn is poor, the use of the higher protein legume (alfalfa or clover) hays ought to be minimized to prevent adverse air quality issues due to the increased ammonia excretion.
Horses that are kept outdoors will have higher energy requirements and higher energy forages. For example, clover or alfalfa hay mixed with grass hay can be used. In all cases, horses should be monitored carefully during cold winter. Early indications of inadequate water or feed intake will be dry, sparse feces, reduced feed intake, more wood chewing habits, and weight misfortune. Below mentioned are the kinds of supplements required for mares during the winter season:
Mineral and Vitamin Supplements
Since lower-quality forages are often used in winter to maximize access and intake, there may be lower intakes of antioxidant vitamins A, E, and C that are lost in prolonged storage. Poorer quality hays may also be more deficient or imbalanced in mineral content relative to the needs of especially young horses and mares in late pregnancy. Therefore, using single, balanced multi-vitamin and mineral-rich feeds for the horse is the best supplement for mares in the season of winter.
Immune Boosting Supplements
Stressed horses may also have reduced immune function. Therefore, giving a vitamin E supplement (around 1000 IU/day) and Vitamin C (0.01 gm/kg body weight twice a day) may help decrease the adverse effects of stress during prolonged confinement.
B-Vitamins and Calming Aids
These supplements have not been proven in unbiased research trials to be effective in calming a nervous horse. However, B vitamins are water-soluble, so assuming that a horse has an excess, it will excrete what they don’t need in the urine, unlike fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A that are stored in the body and can cause toxicity if in excess.
Gastric Ulcer Supplements and Digestive Aids
Horses confined to stalls for prolonged periods due to inclement weather may experience psychological stress that can be alleviated partly by the arrangement of free access to forage. However, they could, in any case, be at increased hazard of gastric ulceration. There is evidence that using alfalfa as at least part of the ratio may reduce the incidence or severity of ulceration. However, the environmental concerns mentioned above should be addressed.
Papaya and other stomach buffering supplements may be given, yet research on these products is unusual; therefore, being an educated consumer in terms of the ingredients, there should be research about the supplements for each season for the horse and its body condition, which will help in making the decision to purchase the best supplement for mares in the season of winter.
Usually, these supplements consist of probiotics or yeast cultures, which have never been found to alter digestion in a healthy horse. The colic problem in the winter is usually due to decreased water intake, which can be remedied by increasing their intake.
Hoof quality often is adversely affected in winter due to excessively hard or muddy ground and inactivity. Unfortunately, there are no nutritional solutions to this other than guaranteeing adequate protein, energy, and mineral intake. Biotin and other hoof supplements work from the cornet band down and usually take 3 to 6 months to have any effect.
If the owner of the mares is attempting to treat a crispy, cracked hoof due to weather conditions, then he may need to apply something topically, and it is best to talk to the farrier about what product would be best.
The gamble of impaction colic is dramatically increased by inadequate water intake, reduced physical activity, and lower quality forage intake, all of which can be present in cold winter months. Horses won’t hydrate as they will if the water is ice-free and at least 40ºF.
Assuming water is being provided in buckets, they must be checked twice daily, and on the off chance that the water is starting to freeze that it be replaced. It is recommended that electrical bucket heaters be used in stalls in a barn only if they are carefully supervised and insulated due to the gamble of fire.
Thus, those mentioned above are the kinds of supplements required for mares during winter. Pay more attention to your horse’s feeds and water intake during the winter season. Regular medical checkup of the horse during cold weather season is also essential to maintain the horse in healthier condition.