If it’s going to be really bitter cold then we give ours a small scoop of oats or corn, but corn produces ALOT of heat for them so be careful. But otherwise we just give them full access to shelter and hay.
We have really cold winters where I'm from. Last year it got down to almost negative forty and we still didn't grain our girls. If you grain your horses for other reasons, like weight or energy, that's fine, but you don't need to grain for heat.
I would like to add that yes horses can survive on hay alone. I owned horses in Alaska until we moved a year ago, and we never grained them. The use of grain is for energy or weight purposes and doesn't provide any warmth to the horse. A horses digestive system is different from ours in the fact that they have an extra piece in their large intestine called the cecum. The cecum takes fiber, which is the hay, and actually ferments it creating heat like an internal furnace. Meaning that as long as your horse has fiber they will stay warm, but if they have problems holding weight then you should grain them.
Thank you all, I think I am going to stick what I have been doing, they are healthy and at good weight. If it ain't broke don't fix it right!?
Depends on the nutritional value of your hay. In climates with winter, our hay on 3rd cut may not be as good (stored of course) climates that have less harsh winters have grass available. Grain is to give horses extra nutrition. Especially competition horses. If they are not competing, you can reduce grain but you may need hay cubes or something else along with hay. Depends on your horses too. Age, etc. Feed is determined by the weight if each horse. 😊
I took my gelding off grain due to a reduced work load (only being ridden 3x a week max) and he was on just hay all winter and he was fine. Still fat and healthy when spring came around.
Unless if they are going to be worked less and they were a healthy weight with the grain, then you shouldn't change their feeding regime. That statement was probably an "old horseman's tale".
Yes, they have been on grain all year
Many horses need something to supplement hay. Did they have grain throughout the rest of the year?