The clocks go back and we can avoid it no longer – winter is with us! For many of our horses this means a transition to the winter routine of spending longer time stabled. Whilst this is often a practical necessity, in order to preserve paddock quality, it does bring its own challenges, and chief amongst those is respiratory challenge. Even the best managed stable environment increases respiratory stress from the combined challenges of bedding, preserved forages and shared air space. Winter exercise can also exacerbate the issues with dust and sensitive triggers associated with riding surfaces including indoor sand schools and latex surfaces.
or all horses and ponies, whether stabled or not, preserved forage is a staple part of the winter diet. Increasingly we see haylage predominating, with less quality hay production – particularly given the very wet summer which limited field drying time for hay producers. Whether hay or haylage, watch for quality and ensure no visibly mouldy or dusty forages are used. It can be useful to soak hay, so swelling the dusty respirable particles, ensuring they are swallowed rather than inhaled. A short soak, ideally ten minutes in warm water, is plenty, as soaking for hours leaches micronutrients and lowers forage quality. Whether soaking or steaming, ensure vessels are kept clean and always use fresh, clean water for each days soak. Lastly, if soaking ensure forage is fed while still wet, as allowing to dry removes the benefits of the soak.
A daily addition of NAF Five Star Respirator Boost to the diet provides nutritional support to the respiratory mucosal immune system and lung integrity. Respirator Boost combines MSM as a natural sulphur donor, with herbal extracts including echinacea and rosehip known for their natural antioxidant and immune support, with essential oils to naturally maintain clear airways. Respirator Boost is safe and suitable for the diet of all horses and ponies, including those competing under FEI affiliated rules.
Tips for feeding Five Star Respirator Boost
- Feed from the floor to support natural drainage
- If possible, mix feed with a little warm water to release the essential oils
- Split between feeds throughout the day
- Franklin S.H, Van Erck-Westergen E & Bayly W.M. Respiratory responses to exercise in the horse. Eq Vet Journal 44 (2012) 726-732
- White, S.J., Moore-Colyer, M., Marti, E. et al. Antigen array for serological abrv.. Sci Rep 9, 15170 (2019).