The Problem: Summer Weight Loss in horses and dealing with heat.
It’s a beautiful hot summer day when you notice that your horse seems to be losing weight. This makes no sense to you. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to keep on weight when they have plenty of access to forage as well as their standard feed, right?
To figure out what is happening to your horse, it is important to understand how a horse’s temperature is regulated. Horses normally maintain a body temperature of 99 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Horses burn calories, otherwise known as digestible energy, to heat AND cool themselves.
Explained in scientific terms:
The Thermal Neutral Zone (TNZ), is the range of temperatures that a horse requires to maintain their internal temperature through metabolic regulation. The TNZ ranges from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures spike above the high end of the TNZ, a horse’s body will use evaporative cooling measures to lower their internal temperatures. This requires digestible energy. The issue is that just like us humans, horse’s tend to lose their appetites in high heat. So, right at the time that your horse needs more calories in their diet, they stop wanting to eat as much.
In simple terms:
By keeping a horse’s caloric intake the same during periods of high heat, a horse will naturally lose weight due to its metabolic system burning more energy in the evaporative cooling process. While you may assume that increasing forage would be a great answer to this issue, the exact opposite is true.
Horses ferment forage in their guts and the fermentation process produces even more heat, causing the horse to expend more calories on cooling themselves. The best option is to add natural plant-based fats to a horse’s diet. Fat will reduce the heat load on your horse and keep them nice and cool while giving a caloric boost to help them maintain weight.
How do you get your low-appetite horse to get enough calories in them to cool themselves efficiently? You add a high-fat, plant-sourced supplement to their diet. CareMore Nutrition’s RevolutionEQ, Sales Prep™ & Prime4Life formulas are safe sources of natural plant-based fats and oils that will keep your horse extra calories it needs to effectively cool themselves without weight loss. And without making them hot or unmanageable. Fed once daily, our formulas contain 36.4% crude fat and more!
And of course, don’t forget to give your horse plenty of clean, fresh water.