With the onset of cold winter weather and temperatures dropping, horse owners begin to think about how to care for and maintain their horses in the winter. Ensure that their horses have adequate food, water and shelter to remain healthy and comfortable during the cold season,
But sometimes, your extreme care for your horse may lead to him committing some harmful mistakes, which can cause diseases and colds.
Horses in cold climates can do well with proper diet, exercise, and access to adequate water and shelter. Horses will be able to weather the harshness of winter easily and be ready to return to their usual activity when the weather permits.
What do you feed horses in the winter?
A healthy layer of subcutaneous fat provides insulation against the cold. The horse's body condition score should be moderate to moderate obesity - between 5 and -6.
Horses in this size range require less food energy to survive cold weather than weaker horses.
Cold temperatures generally increase the number of calories horses need to maintain body weight and function.
It is a common misconception that a horse's diet should include more corn to stay warm. Corn and grains do not make a horse warmer.
Alternatively, provide high-quality hay as fermenting the fiber releases more heat than starch from the grain for horses to maintain body heat.
A horse needs at least 1% of its body weight daily from roughage to maintain a healthy digestive system. However, 2% or more may be appropriate during cold weather, especially if your horses live outside.
Horses can also be less efficient at feeding when temperatures drop below their comfort zone. In general, feeding an additional quarter pound of grain per 100 pounds of body weight per day to non-working horses can provide adequate calories during cold, windy, and wet weather.
Working horses may require up to an additional half pound per 100 pounds of body weight per day, depending on workload, to maintain weight during cold weather.
Older horses may face additional challenges in the winter due to a decreased ability to chew or digest hay.
Watering horses in winter
Fresh, clean, non-frozen water should always be available to your horse. Snow is not an adequate substitute for water, as the horse cannot physically eat enough snow to meet its water needs.
Ideally, the water temperature should be between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Drinking cold water will increase energy requirements because more calories are needed to warm the water to body temperature within the digestive tract.
If the water is too cold, the horse may drink less, which may reduce feed intake. Without adequate water intake, there is also an increased risk of impaction colic because their intestines are not adequately lubricated.
A hot water bucket, aquarium water heater, and automatic hot irrigation are options for providing non-frozen water. Without heaters, be sure to break the ice on your horse's water supply.
Shelter for horses in the winterHow do horses stay warm in cold weather? Even in cold climates, horses can be happy and healthy outdoors.
Horses kept outside during the winter should be allowed to develop a natural, full winter coat. A thick, dry hair coat is an excellent insulator and the first line of defense against cold temperatures.
Horses living outside should have adequate shelter from the weather. Trees, sheds or three-sided stables are great options. With no wind or humidity,
Horses can tolerate temperatures near zero Fahrenheit, and even colder if good shelter is provided. They may come together to share body heat and sometimes do a quick run before coming back together to share warmth.
Provide adequate winter blankets if horses live primarily indoors or are clipped.
Maintain good air quality and ventilation of the barn to help prevent respiratory stress. Enclosed, heated barns are often poorly ventilated, and respiratory illnesses are common when horses are kept indoors during the winter.
Horse training in winter
Many horses are furloughed in the winter due to the cold weather or to provide a respite after an intense showing season. However, if horses take time off for too long, they may forget some of what they have learned and lose the level of fitness they gained while working.
To prevent stagnation, here are some suggestions:
- Stretch your horse once or twice a week. It also allows you to care and pick the feet, check the injury and evaluate the body condition.
- Ride your horses whenever possible, weather permitting. If you have multiple horses, you can ride one and pony the other. Doing this can save time and run two horses.
- Remember, your horse may have less endurance in the winter than in warmer seasons when you ride more, so keep the work light.
- Cool your horse well after work and do not cover or take your horse out until it is completely dry to reduce the risk of pneumonia, cold, or colic.
- Check with local stables to see if their facilities are available to non-residents. Stables often allow outside horses and riders to use their indoor or outdoor arenas for a fee.
Washing the horse during the winter
The appearance of your horse's coat can tell you a lot about his current condition. Soft, shiny coats generally indicate a horse that is healthy and receives a balanced diet and regular grooming.
While a dull and dull coat can indicate a poor horse that may not be receiving the correct diet or not getting any form of work. Providing your horse with an effective grooming routine can greatly assist in achieving a healthy, lush coat.
Here is a step-by-step routine you can follow for winter washing:
- Thoroughly remove any loose dirt from your horse's coat.
- Using a no-rinse wash of your choice and a bucket of warm water, wash the necessary areas of the horse, making sure to remove all dirt.
- Once washed, quickly squeeze the excess water from your horse's body.
- A drying mat can then be used to further dry your horse.
- Once the coat is dry, a fixed cap can replace the wet cap to ensure your horse stays warm and doesn't get cold.
Taking care of horses in the winter preserves them and makes them adapt to get through the winter in good health and without losses.
And you can buy Accessories Your horses through the Shopfit website, providing all Medicines And the immunizations, food, and supplies you need throughout the year.
How to Care for Horses in Winter
Make Sure Horses Have Water in the Winter
7 Tips for Feeding your Horse in Winter [Cold Weather Care Guide]
How to wash your horse during winter