HA1735Bob AtkinsMost horse owners dread the thought of their horse getting colic as the consequences can be very serious but there are some general points to consider in your horse management.

  1. Make any changes to your horse's diet gradually, which is a basic rule of feeding. If your horse has been living out at grass but will be stabled for the majority of time throughout winter then change his diet gradually. Introduce hay while he is still at grass, then after a few days introduce a small hard feed as well. Then start to bring him in overnight but still with turnout during the day, reducing the time he is out. This whole changeover period should be over two to three weeks.
  2. Remember other golden rules of feeding ie feed according to bodyweight and work done, giving the feeds in small amounts and regularly throughout the day. Many working owners find it difficult to do this but a minimum of two feeds, one in the morning and one at night should be achieved. If your livery yard has a manager, or another owner who visits midday, see if you can split your horse's hard feed into three feeds. Ask a feed company's nutritionist for help if you are unsure about your horse's diet.
  3. Add chaff to your horse's feed if he tends to bolt his food.
  4. If your horse is stabled for long periods ensure he gets hay or other forms of fibre at regular intervals. Spending long periods without food is not good for horses.
  5. Another rule of feeding is to feed only good quality feedstuffs - if you give your horse poor quality hay or haylage then the indigestible roughage leads to the production of gas, which can result in colic.
  6. Make sure your horse is wormed correctly.


Remember that if you suspect colic call your vet immediately.
For more great articles and tips on A-Z Horse ailments read more
For more colic advice - Understand, avoid and prevent colic in horses