Winter Horse Care: 5 Key Tips to Follow
Increase their food intake as it gets colder
It’s really important that you talk to your veterinarian and reevaluate your horses’ diet during these colder months. Just like it happens to us as the thermometer drops and the cold creeps in your horse will start to burn more calories to stay warm, if you don’t adjust the amount of food they’re consuming the horse can experience considerable weight loss. Too much food can also result in health issues so make sure you consult your vet to figure out the perfect amounts of food. And remember that hay is an excellent source of calories and its digestion stimulates the animal’s metabolism which also aids in temperature control.
Don’t forget to exercise
Horses need to get their exercise all year long, regardless of the weather so make sure that you have a planned routine to continue riding the horse during the season. Inclement conditions can make it almost impossible to ride but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and find a way to keep the animal active. Planning is key to find an indoor facility or clear pasture in advance to be able to take the horse if the weather warrants you to.
Don’t keep the horse indoors
Horses are pretty tough and they can take their fair share of cold weather so try to keep them outdoors as much as possible, they will always be in better shape and health conditions when left outdoors than if they are locked up inside. If you are going to leave the horse outdoors make sure there is roofed shelter available, this is an absolute must! Weather conditions always get worse at nights and you need to make sure that at least during these hours they have an enclosed space to warm up. When leaving the horse indoors make sure you leave a window open to ensure that air flows through and your equine buddy can breathe properly.
Don’t forget about the hoofs
The bad weather is no excuse to forget about hoof care, whether the horse is being ridden every day or not you absolutely have to make sure to look after, and provide proper care, for their hoofs during the winter months. Another misconception is that you can forego hoof care depending on their hoof protection but the truth is that shod or barefoot you need to visit the farrier every 6-8 weeks tops! This is a crucial part of winter horse care that you should be on top of at all times
Keep your own health in check
Every horse person (like ourselves) will always put their horse’s health before their own but remember that if you get sick they’ll be very affected because you won’t be able to provide proper care. Always keep yourself warm, avoid wet clothing, trust your animal’s instincts and plan your horse keeping tasks ahead of time to be able to tend to them during the warmer hours of the day.