Caring for Your Horse in Cold Weather
When the weather turns cold, we all take precautions to stay warm and dry. The same applies to animals that don’t live in the house, like horses. There are some suggestions to help you keep your horse comfortable when the temperature drops.
If you live in a climate that experiences low temperatures during winter months, your horse will need some protection. Some horses stay out in the pasture land and some are kept in a stable. In both cases, a few changes will need to be made as the weather turns cooler.
If your horse will stay in the pasture, here are some suggestions to keep him warm and dry.
- Give them a shelter – If your horse needs a place to get out of the elements if it snows or rains, provide a shelter in the pasture where they can take refuge.
- Provide more to eat – Eating hay keeps a horse warm because it takes a lot of energy to digest. In colder months, add more hay to their daily diet. Be sure to keep it nice and dry so it won’t mold or freeze. Also, grass will be unavailable to them if it snows.
- Keep water from freezing – Because the hay is so dry, your horse will need lots of fresh water. In the winter it isn’t uncommon for water buckets to freeze. Use a heat lamp or a hose box for the water supply to keep it in a liquid state.
- Protect the hooves – Keep the hooves from becoming impacted with snow by applying a layer of petroleum jelly to them. If they don’t wear shoes, keep the hooves trimmed to protect against cracks which can occur from walking on hardened ground.
Horses usually prefer to be outside. They actually handle winter weather better than most other animals. But if you want to keep your horse in and out of the elements, make sure they have time to run in the pasture. For stable horses here are some suggestions for winter care.
- Extra bedding – Extra bedding will keep your horse warmer in the winter months. If your horse has a short coat, provide blankets for them for extra warmth. Remember to remove the blanket at least once a day to groom your horse.
- Check for worms and other parasites – These pests can become a problem in winter months. Regularly check your horse and groom them to keep mites away. You may have to de-worm them also.
- Clean water and hay – Just like a pasture horse, you will need to be sure the water is clean and has not frozen for your horse. Hay needs to be kept dry and fresh to prevent mold and freezing.
Horses are powerful animals. During the winter months, keep them as strong as ever with these care tips.
Jasmine Hinesley is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Featured Image Credit: Kailen Gingell, Unsplash