A Handful of Top Tips For Winter Horse Care
Winter can be a difficult time for horses and their owners. The weather conditions change and the amount of foliage available becomes sparse. However, horses are resilient and strong animals. With some extra TLC and some practical changes, winter horse care can be made simpler!
Read on for our top tips to care for after your horse during winter.
Provide enough food
The majority of a horse’s diet is made up of foliage such as grass or hay. However, as the weather takes a turn this can affect its quality and accessibility.
Believe it or not, fiber digestion is what keeps horses warm. You may need to supply additional foliage to ensure your horse retains essential body heat, keeping them safe throughout winter. Purchasing extra hay will keep consumption at the right level. You should always seek advice from a professional veterinarian if you’re unsure about which hay is best for your breed.
Keep them warm
Although a horse’s coat stops body heat from escaping it does not add heat. During those snowy days and long breezy nights, it’s important that horses are given access to a dry barn where they can stay comfortable away from the wind, snow or rain – although you may find that some horses enjoy being out in colder weather! You may also consider blanketing your horse when necessary, especially for those who don’t grow a thick coat.
Increase hoof care
During colder weather, horses can experience problems with their hooves as ice becomes jammed under their feet. These are known as “snowballs”. When ice chunks are not removed it becomes difficult for horses to walk which can affect their tendons and ligaments. To reduce injury, it’s important that you become more attentive with your grooming so your horse is comfortable and safe. A layer of petroleum jelly is often used to protect the hooves from ice. You should also perform daily checks of the area and monitor spaces that are prone to ice and could become dangerous. Make sure you have plenty of salt and spreading too.
Cool out your horse
Just because the weather’s changed that doesn’t mean you have to stop riding, but you do need to take more care. Even during low temperatures exercise will make your horse sweat, especially with their new, thick winter coat. At the end of your ride you should cool out your horse as you would normally. The process is more necessary during the winter. Leaving your horse with a sweaty coat in the cold elements can result in winter chills and unhealthy body temperatures. After exercising, simply place a light blanket or towel on your horse. This will help them return to their normal body temperature.
Here at BarnHop, we understand how important it is to find a professional property to board your horse. We’re dedicated to bringing property owners and horse owners together, finding suitable premises that will keep you and your horse happy. For more information about our services, reach out today!