It’s worth planning ahead to ensure your horse or pony is well fed and hydrated, while they’re away, so that they can perform at their very best.
- Work out how much you’re going to need for your time away and add extra “for emergencies”, to reduce the risk of running out.
- Aim to take their normal forage or, if you’re going to change to haylage, for example, because it’s easier to transport, start to introduce it into their diet now so that their digestive system has plenty of time to adapt.
- If you need to soak or dunk hay, make sure you remember to pack the necessary equipment.
- If you know, or think, your horse is likely to get stressy and potentially go off their feed or forage, introduce them to some forage alternatives now and take them with you to help keep fibre intake up. These can include chaffs, like Alfalfa Blend or Light Chaff, and Speedi- or Fibre-Beet, which can be given in the stable, separate from the compound feed, alongside their hay or haylage, and should encourage natural foraging behaviour.
- Talk to or message our Nutrition Team or local Baileys Feed Advisor to ensure your horse’s diet is spot on for the big event.
- Again, work out how much feed you’re going to need and take some extra to cover the unexpected. Plan to feed at the same times and levels that you would at home.
- If your horse is likely to get stressed or go off their feed, discuss options now, with our Nutrition Team, so that you can travel prepared. Fibre Plus Nuggets, for example, are great for getting noses in buckets!
- Be wary of mashes, or other feeds that your horse is not used to, as a “one-off” after exercise or a competition. The gut needs time to adapt to new feeds so suddenly introducing something could cause digestive upset.
- Consider feeding a prebiotic supplement, like Digest Plus, for a week or so, in advance, and whilst you are away. This will help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and is particularly useful at times of stress when bacterial populations may be compromised.
- If you know your horse may turn their nose up at the water provided at the event, take as much with you as possible and/or get them used to drinking water at home, with a dash of juice or cordial in it, so you can use this to mask the taste of “foreign water”, while you’re away.
- If you haven’t already given electrolytes to your horse, this summer, introduce them now so that they are used to having them in drinking water or wet, sloppy feed, to support recovery, especially after cross country. A mash alone is unlikely to contain sufficient electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat.
- The Baileys team will be on-site, with Aqua-Aide, and will have chaff and beet to make “Sloppy Choppy”, to tempt any fussy ones.
For advice on feeding in preparation for the Championships, contact our Nutrition Team now on email@example.com, 01371 850247 (option 2) or direct message.