Horse care in winter

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Photo of a horse named King

Horse care in winter

Ensure your horse stays healthy all season :

1. Snow and ice are no substitute for unfrozen drinking water. Invest in a heating device specifically designed for horse waterers and troughs.

2. When temperatures drop, your horse burns more calories to stay warm. For some horses, this means considerable weight loss. Consider increasing his hay rations as it gets colder outside. Forage (hay) provides an excellent source of calories. Also, the process of digesting fiber (most hays are high in fiber) helps keep a horse warmer.

3. If possible, continue riding through the winter months. If your winter riding schedule is sporadic, based on weather conditions, stick to lighter workouts that won’t over task your horse. Gradually increase his exercise level as his fitness improves.

4. All horses must have shelter. A three-sided shelter with a roof is a must. If you do bring your horse indoors, try to leave him out during the day and only bring him in at night. And don’t close your barn up! Instead, leave it open to ensure good airflow inside; a closed-up barn leads to poor air quality that can affect a horse’s respiratory health.

5. Regular grooming and handling provides the opportunity to evaluate your horse and alerts you to problems such as illness, injury, weight loss, lost shoe, cracked hooves, et cetera. Catching a problem early on helps put your horse back on the track to good health.