When weather turns cold, we know that animals spending time outside need increased caloric intake. The additional calories go toward maintaining body temperature, while also providing energy to perform normal tasks in the face of snow, ice and wind. Many horse owners mistakenly offer grains as the primary source of these additional calories and then later wonder why their horses look and feel terrible come springtime. This is because feeding heavy carbohydrates in the form of grain and sugar as contained in sweet feeds can cause a major disruption in a horse’s metabolism. It is analogous to offering your children additional bowls of sugary cereal all winter so they have enough energy to go out and play in the snow.
Overwintering horses using carbs can lead to:
- depression and lethargy
- various degrees of muscle tightness
- impaired immunity
- thick, curly coats which are slow to shed in the spring.
Horses with grain intolerance show more severe signs of metabolic imbalance after months of excess grain such as:
- fat deposits
- cresty necks
- drinking/urinating excessively
- increased tendency to founder and have laminitis episodes
It is also ill-advised to feed horses extra fat in the form of processed oils. Recall that horses do not have gall bladders (the organ that secretes fat emulsifiers for digestion in other species). This means that oils that have been separated from their sources (like corn or vegetable oils) can cause problems with vitamins that require fat as a carrier into the cells. Additionally, many of these oils are obtained by using chemical solvents to extract the oil and those solvents remain in the oil, which invariably affects the health of the horse.
Mother Nature teaches us to look for calories that a horse can digest and utilize in the form of whole food, balanced fat, protein and associated enzymes. This is precisely why Dynamite developed High Energy Supplement® – HES® – and why it is used by thousands of horse owners every winter to ensure they are providing the best energy source to their horses without any nasty side effects of feeding grains and oils.
Dynamite High Energy Supplement HES® Pellets
25% Protein and 9.75% fat from whole extruded soybeans
Provides additional energy while maintaining hormone balance and complete digestion
Contains fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K
Great “grain substitute” for carbohydrate-intolerant horses
Fans of HES call it “top-line in a bag” for its ability to build healthy muscling