Attentiveness to your horse’s health is just as crucial or more during the cold, winter season. The following tips can help keep your horse healthy all winter long.
Increase Food as Temperatures Decrease
Horses generate body heat through digestive activity, so it is especially important to provide your horse with the proper amount of calories. Feeding your horse hay and other forage is a great way to keep them warm by encouraging digestive activity.
Exercise Without Over Riding an Out of Shape Horse
If your horse has fallen out of shape due to lack of exercise during cold weather, avoid over exercising your horse when the weather is warm enough for riding. Be sure your horse continues to get adequate exercise, regardless of the weather, so they maintain proper health during the winter months.
Avoid Over Blanketing
Horses have the natural ability to keep themselves warm so long as they have adequate shelter from the elements and proper nutrition. Because of this, blanketing is an additional option that should be considered carefully.
Blankets can actually be more harmful as they compress the horse’s coat layers, in turn compressing the coats natural ability to keep the horse warm and decreasing natural coat growth. Horses in climates that remain above 10 degrees F can keep warm without the need for a blanket.
Continue Regular Grooming
Continue practicing regular grooming throughout the winter months to ensure your horse’s coat and skin is healthy. Daily grooming also provides you with important one-on-one time with your horse.
Always Remain Attentive to Your Horse
Neglecting your horse during the winter months due to cold weather or a busy holiday schedule can place stress on your horse. For optimal health, continue to provide your horse adequate attention during the winter as you would any other time of the year.
Keep Warm, Clean Water Available
Your horse cannot stay hydrated if the water trough is constantly frozen. It’s important to check your horse’s water frequently to ensure it is not frozen and that they are actually drinking.
An automatic horse waterer from Nelson Manufacturing is a great way to ensure your horse had proper access to fresh, warm water all winter long. View automatic horse waterers from Nelson Manufacturing here.