Changing Your Horse’s Nutrition with the Seasons
It happened! After months of Ferrous not able to sweat sufficiently to cool his body temperature, we had a breakthrough. My Welsh/ Appendix pony has anhidrosis, also known as “no sweat”. The past summer, New Jersey experienced an even more humid climate than normal. While Ferrous was turned out at night, he was primarily in his stall with a fan during the day. The few rides we had were either light hacks or in the early morning or evening when temperatures were cooler.
*Please note this post was NOT sponsored by SmartPark nor does it have affiliate links. This is my unbiased and honest opinion.
Temperatures dropped recently providing much-needed respite for all of us, but especially for Ferrous. It took only a few days of milder temperatures to give his system a reset. Today the horses were out in the paddock during a break from the rain, and they were all covered in sweat due to the sudden humidity- Ferrous included! I’ve never been happier to see such a thing. Of course, in a perfect world, the horses wouldn’t be so hot but they were running around playing, and I hosed Ferrous off twice afterward to cool him down before bringing him to his stall. My plans for a ride were set aside due to the weather and the comfort of my horse.
My pony’s nutritional needs change depending on the weather and his activity level. Since our activity level is constant throughout the year, it is only Ferrous’s nutritional needs that change depending on the seasons.
Warm Weather Nutrition
Spring through summer, he receives SmartPak supplements consisting of a maintenance dose of Grand Complete multi-purpose and a maintenance dose of One AC for his anhidrosis. This is the first summer in a few years his no sweat has occurred, so by the time his symptoms were obvious the weather was about to cool. However, the nice thing about SmartPak AutoShip is that I can change his dosage and supplements easily from month to month!
In my first year owning Ferrous, I have a learning curve of what works well with him and what does not. I am very happy with the Grand Complete, and how shiny his coat, mane, and tail have looked since starting it. More, his joints have been less stiff as well.
According to SmartPak, “Grand Complete is a broad-based supplement that supports joints, hooves, and coat. Grand Complete provides 2,500 mg of glucosamine, 2,500 mg of MSM, 2,500 mg of vitamin C, 10 mg of biotin, and 3,000 mg of methionine, along with antioxidants, yeast, and minerals. Grand Complete also provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from soy and flaxseed, to help promote a shiny coat!”
One AC is a supplement widely recommended for anhidrosis, for which there is no real cure. The maintenance dose was not sufficient this humid summer to counteract his no sweat, but I know for next year to increase the dosage and perhaps add an electrolyte or Whinny Water to his buckets to encourage him to drink more.
Cold Weather Nutrition
Ferrous lives in a barn with regular turnout in a large paddock. In the warmer months, he is outside all night long. In the colder months, he is in during the night when the ground is frozen and icy and outside during the day. While his living quarters change with the seasons so do his nutritional needs. Anhidrosis is not a problem without the humidity and excessive summer heat, but his joints do become stiff in colder weather, which is very common to horses. In fact, my massage schedule is busier in the winter than in summer. This is because horses need a longer warm up, become stiff in the cold, and more easily pull muscles or have pain due to tension.
As a result, I will be changing his supplements by removing the One AC and substituting one designed to support joint and cartilage health, like the SmartComfort Pellets with herbs designed to naturally reduce inflammation, “Devil’s claw, yucca, turmeric, and other targeted herbs…”
While regular equine massage helps prevent stiffness and increase flexibility, the best way to prepare your horse is holistically with nutrition as well. It is the building block upon which our horses need to be at their best no matter the weather.
I believe there are many amazing supplements on the market but with so many to choose from, I’m still finding what works best for my pony. His needs change depending on the season and we’re still finding the perfect balance.
Is your horse on supplements? If so, what do you find works best?