Winter can be a lovely season, especially you live in a cold climate. Fresh snowdrifts blanket the countryside, while everything seems to shimmer with icy frost. Yet winter can be as harsh as it is beautiful, and that means taking a different approach to horse care.
Don’t worry – you won’t have to do anything more difficult than what you already do during the rest of the year. There are just some particulars to keep in mind so that you can provide the best possible care. Following are a few things to keep in mind when wintering with a horse.
Keep Horses Warm
In the frosty chill of winter, some horses don’t seem to mind the cold. Others need additional warmth to stay comfortable. No matter which type your horse may be, he or she still needs to stay healthy. Make sure to provide indoor shelter that is safe from the cold air and chilly gusts of wind.
Consider also blanketing your horse for added warmth (always check while grooming for any chafing from the blankets, and consider ones with anti-chafing materials). There’s nothing like a warm blanket on a cold winter day!
Care for Their Hooves
A lot of farriers suggest that you have your horse shoed if you live in a cold climate that often has snow or other icy precipitation. In addition to regular horseshoes that allow traction plates to be attached for even greater stability, you might want to consider equine protective hoof boots for additional support and protection.
Above all, you will simply want to provide extra protection throughout winter, as hard surfaces can be very damaging to a horse’s hooves, even leading to cracking within the hoof – icy ground is generally very unforgiving.
Increase Food and Water
Keep your horses warm and content by providing lots of food and hay. Also provide lots of hay to promote digestion – this will keep your horse extra warm! Your feed bills may increase during the wintertime, but it will be well worth the cost to keep the horse warm, healthy and happy.
Water should be cold but not icy, and available throughout the day and night.
While there are many other things you can do to provide additional warmth in the stable, following the guidelines mentioned here will have you off to a great start. You’ll be caring for your horse in winter as though it were second nature to you.