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  • December 22, 2022 3 min read

    During the Christmas Holiday period, many owners spell their horses for a well-deserved break. Spelling is a great way to allow your horse time to rest, put on condition and have some mental downtime. However, it isn't always as simple as popping them into a 100-acre paddock and setting them free for a month! To achieve a good spelling outcome and a refreshed horse, you must ensure that you meet your horse's nutritional requirements and that the spelling property has everything to meet your horse's needs.

    When deciding to spell your horse, you may need to find a suitable property to agist at. When looking for a property, there are some key elements that you will need to look out for. These include;

    • Access to feed and water 

    You will want to ensure that the property has sufficient feed on the ground. As your horse will be grazing 24/7, this is important to ensure that its nutritional needs are met, but also to keep the hindgut healthy and prevent sand colic. If there isn't a lot of feed on the ground, then consider if the property manager will feed additional hay. It is super important that your horse has access to pasture or hay 24/7. 

    In terms of water, make sure the property has access to fresh water at all times. The best is from a basin or tub that is regularly cleaned and checked daily. 

    • Daily welfare checks

    If you are agisting your horse, you will want to make sure that it is checked on daily. Welfare checks should be done to ensure your horse is in good health and has no cuts or injuries that need attention. 

    • Safe fencing 

    This is a must! We often hear of horses escaping their pastures, so make sure that wherever you have your horse, the fencing is safe and secure! 

    • Farrier and Vet Care 

    If you are also taking the opportunity to have a well-deserved holiday, ensure that your horse will have access to suitable vet and farrier care in your absence. If you are going away for an extended time, book in your farrier to tend to your horse's hooves - the last thing you need is to return to a lame horse or one that has chipped away at their feet! 

    If you have all of the above in place, there is still one more thing you may want to consider before just letting your horse loose; and that is adjusting their diet and exercise regime. If your horse is a high-performance horse, or they are being fed a diet with concentrates, you will want to ensure that you decrease the concentrates (I.e., Pellets) in their diet slowly. As you reduce this portion of their diet, you will also need to up the fibre proportion, so feed extra hay during this time to ensure that you are meeting their nutritional needs. At the same time that you are decreasing their calorie intake, you may also reduce the time in which they are exercised. To ensure a healthy gut and to prevent illnesses such as colic and laminitis, you will want to ensure that any dietary and exercise changes are done over a period of two weeks. This will allow your horse to become used to the change in diet and exercise, but it will also allow you to keep a close eye on them. 

    Spelling is an excellent way for your horse to feel refreshed and prepare for the new year and the season ahead. Preparedness, though, is key to making your horse's spelling holiday a success - ensure you adjust your horse's diet and exercise slowly and choose a spelling property that ticks all your boxes. If you need help selecting the right feed for your horse, please visit us in store or online, we are always here to help. Happy Holidays! 

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