Winter Horse Care Tips and Tricks
Make sure the first snowfall doesn't catch you off guard! Here are some things to know for your horse's winter care!
If your horse has grown a thick coat for the winter this may not be necessary. But, if your horse is freshly clipped or has been recently moved to a colder climate than he/she is used to, an extra layer may be required. When putting a blanket on your horse, make sure you choose the appropriate blanket. A stable blanket does not have to be weather proof and for this reason horses should not get turned out in them. For outdoor use, a waterproof turnout blanket would ensure that the material won't get saturated and cause your horse to become cold. Always choose the proper blanket that correlates with the weather. You don't want to over-blanket your horse and cause them to overheat. Always check the blankets for repairs that may be needed. For the blanket shown above, click here.
If your horse spends a lot of time outside during the winter months, it is important to check their hooves and shoes to make sure ice chunks have not built up. A build up of ice chunks can damage tendons, ligaments and cause sore muscles. Icey areas surrounding the barn is also an area of concern. To prevent your horse from slipping or getting injured, block off areas of ice or use sand to melt the ice.
During the winter months, a horse's fiber intake may need to increase. By increasing the amount of hay fed to your horse, it allows your horse to maintain a healthy body weight and produce body heat. A 1,000 pound horse that receives the bulk of his feed in hay, should consume roughly 20 pounds of hay per day. In cold weather that same horse may need 25 or 30 pounds of hay per day to produce enough body heat to stay warm.
Increasing your horse's hay intake means making sure your horse has enough water. If your horse isn't drinking enough water, impaction can occur. During the winter months make sure your horse's water supply is filled and that ice has not formed.