September means looking ahead to autumn, with all that brings, from end of season championships, to fun rides, autumn training and maybe planning how to keep riding through those dreaded shorter days. As horse owners it’s important we don’t take our eyes off the ball, and make sure we keep our horses sound, fit and ready to go through what – for many – is the best riding time of the year.
One thing we can be sure of is, as the temperature isn’t yet too cold, and we’re ‘blessed’ with more frequent rainfall, the grass will be sure to grow! Autumn can catch owners out with sudden weight gain, possible behavioural changes, and issues associated with sudden dietary change, such as loose droppings from the grass flush. For some prone ponies and horses the risk is more serious, and we need to ensure that we are monitoring diet and exercise closely to maintain soundness and healthy, comfortable, laminae.
With schools re-starting, the autumn flush of grass can coincide with a drop in exercise and fitness from less exercise, and if at all possible this should be avoided. Is there a light enough adult to take the pony out (check 20% rule), or could they be exercised ‘ride and lead’ style from another horse? Lunging can also be useful, or simply leading out regularly – walking them as you might take your dog for a walk. Whatever the exercise, do try to keep it up as the autumn progresses, and if you are at all concerned do check with your vet to ensure the level of exercise is suitable for that individual.
Good do-ers can easily put on weight as the grass comes through. Use a weigh tape weekly to monitor changes. Although they can be notoriously inaccurate, particularly for very small ponies or very large horses, they do give you a good guide to any changes. Consider controlling grazing with strip grazing, or a track system. Muzzles are also a good choice for some, if they are comfortable, but do ensure they are not left on for too long. If grazing needs to be restricted, it is advised to turnout at night with daily stabling, to maximize the benefits.
Work closely with your Farrier. Whether they are shod or barefoot, it is important that they see your farrier (or suitable professional) regularly to ensure the hooves stay in good shape. Don’t let your farrier leave the yard without booking the next date, and remember, between visits, a daily application of NAF Profeet Farrier Solution is the professional’s choice application for sound, strong hoof wall.
NEW NAF Laminaze Pellets
Targeted supplementary support can be invaluable at this time of dietary change, and it is now easier than ever before to make sure they are getting just what they need. NEW NAF Five Star Laminaze Pellets are now in an easy to feed pellet, so whether your horse or pony is on little or even no hard feed they are easy and tasty to feed.
The targeted and unique formula of NAF Five Star Laminaze Pellets offers Five Star Treatment for prone horses and ponies who seem to live on fresh air and as a result, can be sensitive to seasonal pasture changes, which occur all year round. The formula retains the nutritional support of original Laminaze, bringing together a synergistic blend of bio-available sulphur from MSM, key nutrients for hoof support, and naturally sourced antioxidants to support the absence of damaging free radical toxins.
NAF Laminaze Pellets
- For healthy laminae
- Supporting the absence of free radical toxins
- Supporting a healthy metabolism
- For an all-round healthy microbiome
- Can be fed alongside, or following, veterinary treatment
To discuss your horse or pony’s diet in more detail, contact NAF using their FREE Nutritional Advice Line. Call 0800 373 106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively DM via Facebook (@nafequine), Instagram (@nafuk) or Twitter (@nafuk).