Winter weather welcomes cozy nights in and wintry landscapes. It also brings snow, icy conditions, freezing rain, and bone-chilling temperatures, which makes it harder for you and your horse to navigate. Horses can live comfortably outside with few amenities offered by their owners. However, you would want to keep your horses safe, warm, and healthy in winter. Horse care during winter requires attention to detail, shelter, feed modification, ice and mud management. Horse owners get extra responsibilities during cold weather. Selecting a fitting pony blanket is a guaranteed way to give your horse optimal warmth and comfort. We have compiled tips for horse care during winter seasons.
How Do Horses Stay Home During Winter?
Horses are amazing animals, naturally equipped to tolerate harsh weather, especially during winter. Horses increase their defenses as snow flies, temperatures dive, and seasons change. They do this by growing a thick winter coat that helps them withstand the cold. They also add extra body fat for warmth and allow lower hooves and legs to take the brunt end of the chill to withstand freezing. Horses can certainly handle the cold.
However, without proper attention, their body condition can deteriorate, and they may suffer. You can use a horse turnout blanket to ensure your equine friend stays cozy and protected from the cold elements. Here are the tips for cold-weather horse care.
Consider Horse Blankets In The Winter
Your instinct might tell you that you need to blanket your horse when there’s cold temperatures. Some horses require to be blanketed, but not all horses benefit from the cover. When you need to blanket your horse during winter, you can consider talking to your vet to get the best option. Blanketing assists outside horses to stay dry, clean, and ready to ride. It also provides added warmth during extreme cold seasons or when there’s no shelter for horses. You can also invest in a high-quality waterproof horse blanket to keep your equine companion warm and dry in chilly weather.
Continue With Winter Hoof Care
Horses feel happy and ready to ride when you give hooves proper attention. You will also detect potential problems early before they arise. You should ensure you dry horse hooves and ensure the horses have a dry place. Ensure that the hooves are clean with no rooting or bacteria in the crevices of the frog. Trimming hooves after every six to eight weeks helps to reduce ice balls and snowpack in horses. It also lowers the risk of slipping. Learn everything you need to know, including the role of weatherbeeta elite saddle pad in providing added protection for your horse during colder weather.
Encourage Horses To Consume More Water In Winter
Horses experience different challenges in winter. One of these challenges is the reluctance to drink. During cold weather, horses have little motivation to seek water, and this can cause dehydration. In winter, provide the horses with constant access to fresh water. Consider installing a trough deicer or a bucket heater to prevent freezing. You can also add a loose mineral salt to the water to provide the motivation to drink.
Feed Horses During Cold Weather
Horses require more food during winter due to the fact that more calories get burnt during cold temperatures, thus making them eat less. Horses get enough energy and stay warm without the need for more food, which might result in a thinner and miserable-looking horse that is less healthy and happy. Body energy in horses is generated through digestive activity, especially fiber fermentation. You can increase your horse’s daily feed rations to compensate for its extra effort and increase warmth.
The above tips will help you and your horse to have a productive time during winter. It will also assist your horse to comfortably maintain body condition, endure cold weather, and be ready to be more active when spring arrives.