Keeping Performance Ponies Happy and Hydrated Consistently
Living in South Florida full time brings its own unique set of challenges for our ponies digestive health. Here at Wind Chase Farm we keep all of our ponies on a high fiber, low starch, low sugar diet which is proven to help prevent health issues. We start with high quality hay that we feed almost free choice in slow feeder type hay bags. This keeps the ponies busy throughout the day and night and keeps the digestive tract moving. We also very strongly believe in feeding a wet feed as the best, most natural way to keep our ponies consistently hydrated.
We added Fibre-Beet into the ponies diets several years ago as a way to add water into the diet while transporting, training, and competing. What we found is that the ponies loved the taste of Fibre-beet and our incidence of digestive upset was drastically reduced! We also saw quicker recovery times between competitions and overall marked improvement in their attitudes and performance. We also noticed the ponies weight remained unchanged even in times of intense training, something our fellow competitors were struggling with.
Fibre-beet also helps maintain consistency in our ponies diets. In South Florida our grass has very little nutritional value and it is not possible to store months and months of hay because of our humidity, so buying hay that’s the same all the time is almost impossible. By feeding Fibre-beet we know the ponies are getting the same source of fiber each and everyday!
After winning the Gold Medal at the 2015 National Pony Championships, we are taking a little bit of time off and bringing along some young ponies. Our wet feeding routine hasn’t changed that much, just the amounts they receive are slightly reduced. And now in the winter time we get short bursts of cold weather which can trigger a horse to stop drinking, so we make up our fibre-beet a little wetter these days, almost like a pea soup or a porridge. The ponies love it when we make it up with warm water and it slows down the speed at which they eat which is also a key benefit to proper digestion.
A few people have said to us feeding wet is a hassle, well let me share with you our simple routine: We soak a large bucket of Fibre-beet the night before and use a measuring scoop at feeding time to divide it up between the ponies. Each pony gets a cup of ration balancer pellets ( Tribute Essential K) & Fibre-beet and a piece or two of carrot or apple. Then we rinse out the bucket and scoop and reset for dinner – Simple! Its just a matter of realizing the benefits outweigh the few minutes it takes to set it up. Just to note: Occasionally we do forget to set it up ahead of time but the terrific part is that you can soak Fiber beet in warm water and its ready to feed before you can finish filling hay nets!
Feeding a wet feed like Fibre-beet has provided our ponies with a consistent source of fiber and added water for hydration and I think by know you see the magic word is CONSISTENT! It is our key to success!