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Managing Yearlings During Sales SeasonBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 11, 2017

Taking a yearling to the sales involves a variety of management changes, whether it be a new feeding program, the amount of time a young horse will spend in a stall, or simply adjusting to new sights. How can owners best prepare a yearling for these changes? Careful nutritional management is a good start.

Improper preparation before travel can lead to subpar performance, dehydration, stress, poor appetite, colic, ill health, and possibly gastric ulcers. The most important points for yearling owners to focus on are forage intake, hydration, electrolytes, maintenance of a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and avoiding major changes in feed, both during travel and at the sale.

Use electrolytes for several days prior to leaving the farm and throughout the sale to stimulate thirst and reduce the potential for dehydration. Try Restore® SR, an electrolyte supplement with a proprietary slow-release mechanism that releases sodium gradually for sustained absorption. Restore® Paste contains a buffering agent and is easily administered.

Young horses that are paraded often may also develop sore feet from hard surfaces; some may even look unsound by the time they reach the sales ring. Feeding a hoof supplement containing biotin, zinc, and methionine, such as Bio•Bloom™ PS, well in advance of the sale and throughout the preparation period may help to strengthen the hooves and increase hoof growth to help grow out any hoof defects. This can also help growth of mane and tail, improve the quality of the coat, and bring out a lustrous shine in the sales ring.

The addition of a supplement that promotes healthy gut function can help to prevent gastrointestinal problems associated with travel, stress, and periods without feed. This may also be useful at the start of the preparation, often a stressful time for young horses. Use a product such as EquiShure®, a time-released buffer that targets the hindgut, or RiteTrac™, which contains both EquiShure and gastric buffers and coating agents to support total digestive tract health.

Like all aspects of sales preparation, the feeding of yearlings prior to and at the sales should be approached individually. Appropriate feeding prior to and at the sales can ensure that yearlings look their best and are prepared to adapt to their new home. After the sales, share your feeding regimen details with the purchaser or agent.

Do you need help finding the right supplement for your horse? Consult with a KER nutrition advisor today.

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