So it’s nothing new to us to hear that we become slightly lazier during winter. The cold air, the dark mornings, the even darker evenings, spending a lot of time outside just isn’t all that appealing.
However – similarly to having a child – there are many things you just have to do when looking after a horse to keep them fit and well, no matter how much you would love to stay in bed.
Throughout winter, there are certain mistakes you must make sure you avoid and also bear in mind that neglect is the worst thing that happens to our horses in winter.
Be Mindful of Ice
In order for your horse’s body to function correctly, he must be fully hydrated at all times. As temperatures decline, the water in the watering trough or bucket can end up covered by a thick layer of ice, making the water inaccessible to your horse. You want to try and maintain your horse’s water temperature at approximately 40 degrees F, which in the really cold months can be done with a heating device which are specifically made for waterers and troughs.
To help stay warm, your horse will burn more calories, which in some horses will result in significant weight loss. It would not be wise for me to suggest a suitable calorie intake for your horse during winter as each and every horse is different; therefore if you do not already, it is best to seek advice from your veterinarian. To achieve a healthy calorie intake for your horse, you may only need to increase your horses hay rations, or something equally as simple. If you know you won’t be visiting your horse as regularly, please make sure the hay is always easily accessible to your horse by using a hay net or this Canvas Hay Bag.
Review Your Winter Shelter Plans
Of course in extremely cold temperatures and heavy rain or snow, your horse will both benefit and appreciate some shelter. However, you will find your horse to be much healthier if left outdoors during winter, with an open run-in shed available for them should they wish to go inside. This run in shed will also prevent respiratory problems that may occur with an inadequately ventilated and heated barn. Your horse remaining outside will also encourage them to keep moving, meaning they keep in shape if you happen to become a tiny bit lazier with your training. If you’re concerned about the potentially minus temperatures, invest in a good horse rug, such as this Masta Quilted Lining with Neck Cover.
Maintain Appropriate Hoof Care
Whether you are or are not riding your horse regularly throughout the winter months, you must be wary that your horse’s hooves will still grow. As well as the standard growth of the hooves, you must also spare a thought for the fact that during winter, your horse will be trotting on hard and frozen ground which can crack and break the feet. You must remove the shoes and have the hooves trimmed before you turn out the horse ready for winter, and make sure you trim the feet at regular intervals during winter time, approximately every six to eight weeks. If hooves start becoming dry and brittle due to the cold, try out this Gold Label Hoof Oil Moisturiser and this Gold Label Aluminium Hoof Hardener.