Winter is cold and frosty - time for warm log fires and hot chocolate. But what are you doing to make sure that your horse is happy, and healthy, this winter.
Here are some horse care tips for winter:
Exercising a horse when it’s cold and frosty can be challenging, not to mention in fewer daylight hours, but a lack of exercise during winter “down time” can affect horse’s muscular strength, fitness and flexibility.
Do your best to lunge and ride your horse regularly and make sure that your horse is cool and dry before turning him back out after a ride.
Even in winter it is very important to make sure that your horse receives enough food to maintain his weight as well as enough water to keep hydrated. Because horses burn calories to stay warm fortified grain can be added to their diet, which should consist largely of hay, to keep the horse’s body condition at the right scale. Alternatively a mineral supplement can be added instead of grain.
Heaves, colic, ulcers, musculoskeletal conditions and joint disease are all more prominent in winter. These problems can be controlled by increasing ventilation, increasing turnout time, and by adding the relevant equine supplements into the horses’ diets.
Many people ask whether their horses really need a horse blanket. Generally, horses with a healthy coat of hair that have access to shelter do not need a blanket, however horses that have been clipped or horses that are thin or sick will need additional warmth and protection