With winter right around the corner it’s time to discuss a care plan for your horse. As a horse owner or caretaker, you already know they take a lot of work to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. In the winter, horses require even more work to stay happy and healthy through the bitter cold. If you are prepared for the cold, you and your horse will make it through the winter just fine!
In this blog we’re going to go over the ways that you can make sure your horse has everything they need for the season. This is a general overview for horses. Different breeds might have slight differences in care. To be sure, you can always call your local vet to see what is best for your specific horse.
Feeding your horse- Horses eat quite a bit, on average they will consume 2% of their weight in food. During the winter, their food consumption can jump to 3% of their body weight. The reason for this is to keep their energy levels up and to keep their body temperature warm. To make sure your horse is getting enough to eat in the winter, provide them with more hay than during the warmer months.
Temperature of water- With temperatures dropping it is easy for the top of your horses drinking water to freeze over. Horses will not break ice to get their water. The best way to keep your horse hydrated in the winter is by making sure their water is 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also check their water multiple times throughout the day to make sure it hasn’t frozen over or become too cold for your horse to comfortably drink. One of the biggest concerns when it comes to issues with your horse drinking enough in the winter is the risk of impaction colic. If this problem arises, call your vet immediately.
Another problem that can arise when your horse is not drinking enough water is that the horse will then eat less. As we discussed earlier your horse will need to eat more in the winter, but if they aren’t drinking enough, then in turn they will not eat enough. Make sure you are keeping a close eye on both their water and food intake during the winter.
Grooming your horse- Grooming your horse is something that needs to be done year round, but extra grooming in the winter can help in a few different ways. The first way is having that daily contact with your horse, this helps anytime you groom your horse, not just in the winter. Having that daily contact helps bring you and your horse closer together and strengthens your relationship. Second, is helping remove any snow, ice, and mud off of your horse. During the winter it is easy for things like mud and snow to stick to your horse's coat and start to clump. When this happens, it can irritate your horse's skin and might even lead to an infection. Grooming your horse more often can help prevent that from happening. Third, is helping your horse have better circulation and having better circulation can help warm up your horse.
Shelter- Having some place for your horse to retreat to when the weather starts to get bad, is a great way to help them stay out of the elements and keep warm and stay dry.
Check the hooves- When your horse is outside and in the elements, especially snow or mud, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on their hooves. Snow and mud can clump up under your horses hooves and can cause pain, possibly even damage the horses hooves. If you have any questions on hoof care and if they should have horseshoes in the winter, be sure to call your vet.
Blankets- The final point we would like to discuss is blanketing your horse. Blankets are a great way to keep your horse warm and dry during the winter. You want to be sure you choose the right blanket for your horse and what their specific needs are for the lifestyle they live. For example, if your horse is going to be kept in the stables, then getting a stable blanket is best, but if they are going to be outside in the elements you might want to look at a heavier waterproof blanket. Be sure to only blanket your horse when they are dry. Blanketing a wet horse can lead to bacteria growing and cause issues later on. If you have a nice sunny day, take the blanket off your horse and let them enjoy the day. The blanket is meant to keep your horse warm but that doesn’t mean you should keep your horse blanketed all day, everyday.
Fenwick Equestrian has liquid titanium therapeutic blankets that can be placed under your stable blanket to help increase blood circulation, boost metabolism, improve the immune system, and help regulate body temperature! We recommend getting one for when your horse is in the stable this winter and having them wear it under their stable blanket. It will add extra warmth, without overheating your horse and can help relax them during the bitter winter nights. Click here to check out our Liquid Titanium® Therapeutic Blanket options or if you have any questions about our products please give us a call at 803-420-1184!
Taking care of your horse in the winter can seem like it is a lot of work, but by following what we have discussed in this blog, you and your horse will make it through the winter with ease. Remember to call your vet if you have any questions about proper care for your horse. Also explore our Fenwick Equestrian website and see what products we have to help your horse throughout the year!