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6 Tips for Coping with Condition Loss in Winter

Horse in winter

Coping with Condition Loss in Your Horse

During winter when grass is in short supply and many horses are stabled for much of their time, it is common for horses to drop condition. If you notice any changes within your horse such as dropping away, or a dull coat remind yourself to check the following:


  1. Have you had your horse’s teeth checked and ensured an effective worm control regime is in place? Dental problems are a very common cause of weight loss or failure to thrive, and all horses should have at least an annual dental check from a qualified professional. Some will need a 6 monthly check. Parasite burdens can cause problems from weight loss to anaemia to colic and death, so all horses should be on a parasite-control regime.
  2. Are you feeding good (nutritional) quality forage and feeding it ad lib (free choice, so the horse never runs out)? Limiting forage such as hay intake is a very common cause of poor condition.
  3. Have you considered offering more than one type of forage in the stable, for example hay, haylage, and chopped dried grass or alfalfa? Research has shown that horses offered a variety of different forages in their stables spend more time browsing. Fussy horses may end up eating more, and a higher dietary energy intake means better maintenance of weight and condition.
  4. Have you selected a good quality concentrate feed and are you feeding the maximum amount over at least 3 meals? Low starch, high digestible fibre feeds are the most versatile. Splitting the concentrate over several meals helps the efficiency of digestion.
  5. Have you thought about topping up feeding with a calorie-rich supplement and/or vegetable oil? Follow package instructions and for vegetable oil, consider linseed (also called flaxseed) or rapeseed and introduce and increase gradually, up to 300 ml per day is usually about right for a 500 kg horse.
  6. Are you feeding a digestive-supporting supplement? This is useful, especially for stressy horses or those who are already on the maximum amount of concentrate feed.


As always, if you are concerned about the health of your horse we recommend talking to your vet or equine professional for further advice.  If you need any help choosing or understanding how to add a digestive supplement to your horse’s diet, don’t hesitate to call our friendly team for information.


For more useful (and interesting) articles on nutrition, training, events and equestrian news from the experts follow ReadySupp on social media and via our newsletters. Visit our homepage to subscribe.

Our nutritional expert Clare MacLeod is an independent Registered Equine Nutritionist with expertise in equine health and fitness. Her book, ‘The Truth About Feeding Your Horse’  provides more information on equine nutrition and is a useful companion for every horse owner! Visit her website for further information.

If you have any questions on equine supplements, and want to improve your horse’s health, performance, or attitude give our friendly team a call 01672 541 157 for advice. We won’t try and hard sell you anything – we promise.

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Posted in Digestion, Equine Health, Equine Nutrition, Equine Skin Health, General, Supplements
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