This last week has really felt like winter is knocking on the door. We have had some really cold nights but it has also rained now and the field is getting very muddy! My boys are happily in their winter routine now, in at night and out in the day - but I am lucky to have year round turnout.
A couple of weeks ago I posted about restricted turnout and ideas for keeping your horse occupied and exercised if they have to be stabled much of the time over the winter. Unfortunately, this is only part of the problem with stabling 24/7. When the vet came to vaccinate my horses he mentioned that they hadn't had many colic's yet this year and he thought it was due to the good weather. The good weather meant horses were still out at grass - apparently lots of horses get colic when they are changed over from being grass kept to largely stabled. So, I thought now was a good time to blog about this again!
Have a look at my blog about moving horses from pasture to stable, which was about a study into the effects of changing horses from pasture to stabling and the impact on a horses digestive system!
Changes in diet are one of the most common causes of colic and this is why one of the 10 rules of feeding is:
Make no sudden changes to the diet
Change from pasture to a hay (or alternative) based diet will significantly affect the mobility of the gut (intestines) which in turn can lead to the food causing a blockage - resulting in colic!
So, change your horses environment slowly. If you know that in 2 weeks your horse will have to be in 24/7 then start by keeping them in just overnight, when they can still be out in the day! Then, if you can, slowly decrease the amount of time they spend out during the day. This will give their digestive system time to adjust from all grass, to part grass and part hay, to all hay (or an alternative).
Colic can be fatal so do everything you can to prevent it from happening!
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Until next time!