Feeding Horses During Reduced Work
Many horse owners worldwide are facing uncertain times with the spread of COVID-19 and ever-changing regulations on their ability to leave their homes. Some of us that keep our horses at boarding facilities are facing the reality that we either are already unable to see our horses or may not be able to see them in the near future—potentially for an unspecified length of time. Barns in some locations are having to limit boarder access, allowing only vital staff on-site. While we have been preparing for the possibility of a 14-day quarantine if we get infected or exposed and unable to leave our homes during that period, it wasn’t until a few days ago that many of us realized we might not be able to visit our horses even if we are totally healthy and have not knowingly been exposed to the disease. This possibility brings with it a different set of realities.
States are starting to regulate nonessential movements, which means you might not be able to visit your horse for longer than the 14-day quarantine. Even if you can visit your horse because you keep him at home or are not on some form of lockdown, you might not choose to (or in some cases be allowed) to ride due to concerns that riding-related injuries might be untreatable as a result of all vital resources being consumed by critically ill COVID-19 patients.
What does this mean as far as feeding your horse? The reality is that many horses, instead of ramping up their workloads for spring/summer activities, as would typically be happening at this time of year, are having their workloads reduced as events are canceled and riders are quarantined or prohibited from premises. You might, therefore, need to make feeding changes to limit calorie intake, especially if you are feeding higher-calorie performance feeds. Reduced workloads mean less need for
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