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Helping your horse's behaviour during winter

Behavioural issues are certainly more prevalent over the winter. In general, horses are stabled more, and exercised less, and so can have more ‘pent-up’ energy. Cold weather and wind or rain can make horses more ‘on their toes’, especially if they are freshly clipped! People are also more likely to give hard feed in the winter to help their horse maintain weight, and some feeds can make horses more ‘hot’.settle If the behavioural change is sudden, it’s always worth checking that the issue is not pain related - checking that your horse’s tack is suitable and correctly fitting, and that their teeth and back are not causing any issues. If your horse is still being spooky, naughty or is getting over-excited, you can ask a nutritional advisor to check their diet to make sure that their diet supports calm behaviour:

  1. Too many calories can either make your horse overweight, or in some cases lead to over-exuberance:
  • If your horse is a naughty good doer, see if you can gradually cut down the energy they are receiving in their diet - while also making sure that the diet is balanced with the right levels of vitamins and minerals, by using a supplement.
  • If your horse struggles to keep weight on, see below:


  1. If your horse is a poor doer, and needs a high calorie diet, make sure that you are feeding the right sort of energy!
  • Horses will often get ‘fizzy’ if fed a high cereal diet, such as high-starch conditioning mixes, so you may do better to provide calories using a high oil feed or supplement, such as Feedmark’s Condition and Shine in addition to ad-lib forage, and a fibrous bucket feed.


  1. Feed for the work you are doing
  • Feed according to the horse’s work load, if they have a week off work reduce their feeding levels - this will be beneficial for their health and behaviour!


  1. If your horse is on a low cereal, high fibre diet and is fed the correct amount for their Steady-UPcondition and workload, adding Steady-Up Advance can really help to curb over-enthusiastic behaviour, and aid concentration. Steady-Up Advance will provide your horse with:
  • Two forms of Magnesium, for added absorption. This is an ingredient commonly found in calmers. It is well known that a diet deficient in Magnesium can make your horse scatty, but some recent research (Waltham, Dodd et al. 2015) suggests that additional Magnesium in the diet let to horses being less reactive - taking a longer time to react to a stimulus.
  • Traditional herbal ingredients to encourage calm behaviour, Chamomile and Lemon Balm are natural calmatives, which work together to relax your horse.
  • Brewer’s yeast is also found in Steady-Up Advance. Brewer’s yeast is a multi-functional ingredient, which contains naturally occurring B-vitamins, which optimise correct nerve impulses and function. In addition to this, Brewer’s yeast is a prebiotic, supporting the bacteria in the hind gut, helping to keep your horse healthy.