Colic is every horse owner’s worst nightmare--because it's a miserable experience for both you and your horse. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that you can help to reduce the chance that your horse develops a case of colic. Here are eight horse tips to help you prevent colic in horses.
1. Make Feed Changes Gradually
Sudden changes in feed type or amount can trigger a colic episode. If you need to change your horse’s feed, make changes gradually by introducing small amounts of the new feed while gradually reducing the amount of the old feed that your horse is eating.
2. Feed Frequent, Small Meals
Horses are designed to be grazers by nature, so the more that you can mimic that behavior in your care for your horse, the less likely he is to colic. Provide your horse with frequent, small meals during the day to keep food moving throughout his digestive system.
3. Maximize Turnout Time
The more time that you can give your horse in his pasture, the better. The action of moving about and grazing promotes a healthy digestive system in your horse, which makes it a great activity to help prevent colic in horses.
4. Feed a Probiotic
Some horse owners swear by feeding their horses a probiotic to maintain gut health. Probiotics can help your horse’s digestive system to function properly, and may help your horse to avoid gas colic episodes.
5. Soak Feed
You may want to soak your horse’s feed to ensure that he takes in enough water, which can help to reduce the chances of an impaction colic. In addition to soaking feed, remember to always provide your horse with plenty of clean drinking water. This may mean that you need to use a bucket heater when temperatures dip below freezing during the winter.
6. Use a Small Hole Hay Net
Consider providing your equine friends with their hay in small hole hay nets if you are interested in preventing colic in your horses. A small hole hay net slows your horse’s hay intake, making the meal last longer and keeping the food moving through your horse’s system more continuously during the day.
7. Stick to a Schedule
Some horses with particularly sensitive systems may stress when their meals are not delivered in keeping with their typical schedule. Try to stick to a regular feed schedule for your horse. Some horses thrive on schedule in all aspects of their care; in these cases, sticking to a schedule with turnout, riding, and grooming may also be a good idea.
8. Reduce Stress
Finally, try to reduce the amount of stress in your horse’s life. This can be accomplished by allowing your horse to live as naturally as possible. Try to provide him with an equine buddy, give him plenty of time in turnout, and create a relaxed environment around the barn.
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Do you have any additional tips on how to prevent colic in horses? Let us know in the comments below!