Feeding Children’s Ponies: Fitness not Fatness

Feeding Children’s Ponies: Fitness not Fatness

When feeding a child’s pony, there are many factors that need to be considered in order to maintain the fine balance between fitness and fatness whilst keeping them sane and safe to ride by the youngest of jockeys. Typically, we tend to see Native breeds such as the Shetland, Welsh Section A’s and B’s and Connemara cross breeds dominating the local riding club show rings throughout the summer season, however, due to the ‘good doing’ nature of these hardy, reliable ponies, it is important to carefully consider their diet and ensure that they are being fed to satisfy both our and their needs. Firstly, it is highly important to match the level of work that the pony is in to their diet in order to discourage excess weight gain and reduce the risk of developing conditions such as Laminitis and obesity, which ponies are quite prone to as the spring grass comes through and when their diet is not effectively managed. Fibre is so important in the diet of any horse or pony and should make up the bulk of their feeding regime but on some occasions, when grazing is too rich, it may be beneficial for your pony to experience a period of restricted grazing and receive fibre through an alternative source, such as a low calorie chaff which you can easily control the feeding of. This may worry some pony owners as they may feel that due to restricting the level of grass taken in, their pony may not be receiving the vitamins and minerals that they need to remain in good health. This can be easily...
Changing Diets for Changing Workloads

Changing Diets for Changing Workloads

The new competition season is upon us, and no doubt there are several dates already pencilled in the calendar for competitions and outings in the months ahead for you and your four legged friend to enjoy. However, in order to make the most of the season ahead and ensure your horse or pony stays happy, sound and healthy, it is very important in the run up to this exciting period to nutritionally prepare them for the changes that will occur in their workload and routine. What do we have to consider? Matching your horse or pony’s diet to their workload is primarily based upon supplying the correct level of calories and nutrients they need on a daily basis to maintain the level of condition that you desire, whilst fuelling their increased exercise regime and keeping their diet balanced at all times. Sounds tricky? Not when you know how to utilise the correct dietary components and feed them effectively! The first principal that must be taken into consideration is the fact that horses have a limited appetite and can only physically consume the equivalent of 2-2.5% of their bodyweight per day in feed. Due to this factor, when increasing workload, it is important to ensure the diet is more energy and nutrient dense in order to provide ‘more per mouthful’ to meet increased nutritional demands. For this reason, it is typical that when we are asking more of our horses and ponies, to include a greater proportion of concentrated feed alongside less of a more nutritious form of forage to increase the Digestible Energy available in the diet without increasing...
Choosing the Right Feed Balancer for Your Horse!

Choosing the Right Feed Balancer for Your Horse!

Choosing the right feed balancer for your horse can be a minefield due to the choice and availability of these popular products that provide your horse or pony with a complete vitamin and mineral package, alongside quality sources of protein and other specific supplements that make selecting the right one so hard. So how can Blue Chip help? Firstly, all Blue Chip balancers are formulated using the best ingredients that promote optimum health and well-being in your horse or pony including specifically balanced vitamins, minerals and nutrients, a top quality probiotic to ensure digestive efficiency, Nucleotides for cell replication and repair, and dedicated hoof and respiratory supplements to keep your horse or pony in top condition all year round. Which Balancer Should I Choose? Blue Chip Original – The best-selling balancer that maintains topline and condition by promoting correct muscle development via the inclusion of a high quality source of protein alongside specifically tailored levels of Zinc and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that ensure scurf free skin and a glossy, gleaming coat. Blue Chip Pro – The perfect choice when aiming to provide your horse with the higher level of nutrition they need when increasing their workload or stepping up a level of competition. Containing the blood-building supplement RedjuvenateTM, Blue Chip Pro helps your horse or pony to facilitate efficient transport of oxygen around the body following the promotion of red blood cell turnover, leading to improved stamina and recovery rates The New Super Concentrated Balancer Range has been developed to be highly nutrient dense and contain all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed to thrive on...
Reasons Why You Should Feed Your Horse a Balancer

Reasons Why You Should Feed Your Horse a Balancer

Horse owners may consider giving their horse a feed balancer for many reasons. One of the most important being due to the dramatic change in the equine diet over the last fifteen years.  Other reasons to consider a feed balancer include: Forage and pasture deficient in essential nutrients and minerals Better condition Less need for an array of different supplements Tailored balancers to target specific problems Easier feeding Whole Cereal and Molasses Free Feeding your horse a whole-cereal and molasses free feed balancer is the answer to keeping your horse healthy.  Horses were previously fed a basic fibre diet with oats if they needed extra energy. But we are now much more knowledgeable about the equine digestive system. Horses are designed to eat small amounts of fibre often. This constant passage of fibre through the digestive system helps to ensure a healthy gut. In the wild, horses will graze for 18 hours a day on a varied fibrous diet that would include different types of grasses, herbs and flowers.  Many pastures these days are ‘managed’ by us and have little or no variation in forage types. This is why balancing their diet with the correct level of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and probiotics will help to ensure the best possible health and condition, both mentally and physically. Tailored to Your Horse’s Needs Balancers also have the added attraction of being able to tailor your feed to bring out the best in your horse or pony. There are balancers suitable for all types of horses and ponies.      Light to Medium Work/Youngstock An everyday balancer like Blue Chip Original is ideal for youngstock or...
Looking After Your Horse in Spring

Looking After Your Horse in Spring

As we enter into April and finally start to see an end to the colder months, transitioning your horse from winter to spring can be a daunting process. It is important to be aware of your horses nutritional needs as well as changes to horses who are beginning to pasture again. The spring also brings with it risk of laminitis and insulin resistance.  During Spring horses typically begin to shed. Proper grooming can quicken the process, but nutrition plays an important part. Make sure your horse is receiving a well balanced diet that includes nutrients to have a positive affect on shedding and coat quality. Omega 3 and 6 can also help improve hair quality.    Pastures As we come out of winter horse owners may be eager to let their horses our to pasture after being confined in areas where they do not have natural forage each day. Horses are often kept indoors during winter as they can be destructive on wet pastures, often ripping the forage by the roots with their teeth, or causing a lot of damage to the sod by churning and forming rivets with their hoofs. Although the spring makes the grass greener and increases it's nutritional value, it should have two to three weeks in early spring to develop and gain at least four to six inches in height before your horse can graze.  Pasture should be introduced slowly to the horse. Short periods of 15 minutes per day at first will allow your horses digestive system to be accustomed to the change in diet. An additional ten minutes each day should be introduced until the grazing time has...
Show Condition & Equine Obesity

Show Condition & Equine Obesity

Feeding to optimize a horse's show condition can be a tricky process and involve a lot of skill. In the past horses have been so well conditioned by owners to the point of being unhealthily overweight. In fact, overweight horses have often been placed above healthy horses in competitions by judges, which contributes to the problem of owners striving to attain the award winning 'bigger is better' trait. For more information see Horse & Hound's article. Online forums have criticised the way in which showing and dressage competitions are judged. This criticism and debate has grown over the last few years that can be seen on the likes of Horse & Hound and  New Rider website forums. Comments often state that competitions promoting overweight horses and ponies is unacceptable. However, there is a thin line between achieving good condition and being overweight. But the attributes of these two different types of condition are different, and can be fatal for an overweight horse.  Good Condition Higher levels of stamina Ability to dissipate heat during exercise Efficient Respiratory System Ability to focus on the task at hand for longer Overweight Lack of enthusiasm Unhealthy Risks damage to tendons and joints Strain on the respiratory system Improving your horses condition Exercise Examine your horse either at a vets or by using a stethoscope to measure your horses heart beat per minute. They should have a resting rate of 35-42 beats per minute.After some moderate exercise let the horse cool own for 10-15 minutes before measuring their heart rate again.  A healthy horse will have their heart rate return to 35-42 BPM in which case exercise can be increased....