Winter is pretty much a difficult season in the animal kingdom, particularly for horses. As winter comes, pasture grass is difficult to find and it becomes a challenge to feed horses. Providing stable care for horses and riding them are almost impossible depending on the temperature. So, we listed some tips below to help you take care of your horse easier during the cold season.
Always provide water – You wouldn’t want to give your horses warm water, but studies have shown that giving your horses warm water encourages them to drink more. Your horse may get impaction colic during winter season if they don’t drink enough fluid, this is also because there’s more moisture in grass (80%) compared to hay (20%). In addition, hay doesn’t have the same nutrients compared to grass and they’re hard to digest if you’re horse doesn’t drink enough water.
Keeping your horse warm inside – Horses that are outside need to be fed more, specially during winter season since feeding horses a lot gives them heat during digestion. Giving your horse a generous amount of hay can keep their internal system full, this keeps them warm for a long period of time.
Adjusting feeding program – It is really difficult to find good grass or even normal ones, even in places that are not affected by snow, grass is not growing and if it does, its nutritional quality is not the same. As grass quality and accessibility decreases, consider adding extra hay and concentrates so that your horse won’t lack important nutrients or lose weight.
Adding insulation – Put a blanket on your horse during very windy, cold, or wet weather. A horse’s coat can easily lose its loft if it becomes wet, this decreases body heat and windy days pulls warm away. Though there are horses that are comfortable during cold weather, most of them are more comfortable in warm – so, it is important to place a warm blanket on them regardless.
Check your horse’s teeth – Make sure you have a professional equine dentist that can take good care of your horse’s teeth. If your horse is having trouble chewing food, this will prevent them to get the right nutrients they need – especially during the cold season.
Feed them minerals – You should consider adding mineral supplement to your feeding program. Test hay so you can determine what type of minerals and concentrates your horse needs in his diet.
Provide proper shelter – Even if your horse is sheltered overnight, consider providing them run-in shelters in case you’re away most likely during the day.