Taking care of your horse in cold weather

by horselover2

 

 Adjust feeding programs: As pasture quality declines during the winter your horse’s hay and grain will need to be increased.  If your feeding program doesn’t include a mineral supplement, consider adding one especially during the winter.

  

Have teeth checked: Make sure your horse’s teeth are checked by an equine dentist before winter time. The inability to grind food properly will prevent a horse from getting all of the nutrients and energy it needs–especially if energy needs increase during colder weather.

  

Prevent snowballs: If horses are outside during the day, snow packs into your horse’s hooves making it hard for them to walk. Make sure to pick their hooves out when you bring them in. Smearing the hoof bottom with petroleum jelly may reduce snow buildup.

  

When you ride: Even with an indoor arena, drying a horse out after a workout takes quite a while. If your horse has a heavy coat, consider body clipping your horse. Or at least a trace clip, which allows them to stay warm outside but cool off quicker after being ridden. A clipped horse, without natural insulation, will require stabling and blanketing to keep warm.

  

Add insulation: Always blanket your horse during wet, very windy, or frigid weather. A wet coat looses its loft–like a wet down jacket, and won’t hold body heat. Windy weather pulls warmth away. Depending on where you live, your horse may need a light blanket and a heavy winter blanket over it to keep the wind and cold away.

  

Provide shelter:      Even if your horses are stabled inside over night, provide them with a wind break, shed row or three-sided shelter when they’re turned out, especially if you’re gone most of the day.

  

 

Regular deworming: Make sure to deworm your horses after the first heavy frost and use a wormer that will kill bot larvae. Continue a regular deworming program throughout the winter months.

 

Don’t let hooves get overgrown: Keep you horse’s hooves trimmed. Trimmed hooves will chip less, hold less snow. Some horses may need winter shoes with extra traction if they are on icy, slippery terrain.

 

Make cleaning frozen water buckets easier: Rubber buckets are easier to knock the ice out of when they become frozen. Plastic buckets can shatter and break when they freeze. Rubber buckets may be more expensive, but last longer.

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