Now that the days are becoming shorter and colder, it’s time to consider some tips to take care of your horse. These are some mistakes to avoid when caring for your horse this winter that will keep them happy and healthy all year long.
Lack of Fresh Food & Water
Like all mammals, horses need food and water to survive. Unfortunately, frigid temperatures can throw a wrench into their ordinary feeding schedule. You must ensure that your equine’s water is fresh and not frozen. If the water freezes over, your horse will become dehydrated, increasing the possibility of colic.
Additionally, you’ll need to increase your feeding regime with the dip in temperature. Horses require additional rations because they use more energy to fight the frosty weather. Hence, you’ll want to feed them protein-rich food that has a high fiber count to keep them full and warm.
It’s challenging to find the motivation to engage in physical activity when it’s dark and cold 16 hours a day. However, being stagnant affects your health negatively. The same philosophy can be said about horses, seeing as they need exercise all year long.
Feel free to put them out to pasture to get their blood pumping if it’s too cold to ride them yourself. A fit horse can handle the winter better than an out-of-shape one, which is why you can’t overlook this idea.
Common sense tells you that sheltering from the cold, windy days helps protect your horse, right? Well, that’s not entirely accurate, seeing as horses react better to living in the elements. Of course, you must provide them with protection, such as a sheltered roof, to lounge under during the day.
However, they are better off roaming freely while the sun is still out. Once the sky turns dark, feel free to bring them in, but leave the barn door open to provide them with some quality airflow.
Using Too Many Blankets
Another common mistake is using too many blankets to cover your horse. Your intuition tells you to put layers upon layers on the horse to stave off the cold weather. However, if a horse has its natural winter coat, they don’t require extra blanketing. Too many layers may cause a horse to overheat and become dehydrated, leading to a cornucopia of health concerns.
Abandoning Hoof Care
When the roads become wet, icy, and slushy, a fresh set of tires helps you operate your vehicle better. Similarly, a horse can handle the conditions better when you take care of hooves. At the bare minimum, you should treat their hooves once every two months, no matter the season.
Lastly, one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when caring for your horse this winter is not taking care of yourself. If you can’t handle all the responsibilities required to care for them, your horse will suffer. Ergo, keeping yourself in peak condition allows you to help your horse follow suit.