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Get Ready For Cold Season – Prepare Your Horse for Winter

Prepare your horse for winterThe cold weather will be here before we know it. Most of us experience one of two extremes; either a mild winter or freezing temperatures for months on end. While we can seek shelter from the cold, what about our equine friends? The arrival of fall is the time to begin preparing for the cold months ahead. We’ll talk about some tips to keep your horse as healthy as possible when the temperature is frigid.

Nutrition

Your primary focus during the winter months should be making sure your horse is getting an adequate amount of quality feed and drinkable water. For those winter months, Harmonize offers feed that will help keep your horse healthy all year around. In addition, there are two elements that will help maintain your horse’s weight and assist in preventing dehydration.

  • Feed –The greatest portion of the diet should be composed of hay – one to two percent of body weight each day. You can add some warmed and fortified grain in order to keep your horse’s body healthy. You may also consider nutritional supplements.
  • Water – Research has shown that during cold weather, horses will drink a greater amount of warm water than icy water. If both are available to the animal, he will drink only icy water and subsequently take in less volume. By supplying only warm water through tank or bucket heaters, you can ensure he is drinking enough water to stay well-hydrated.

Exercise

Our horses need exercise during the winter as much as they do in warmer temperatures. To avoid a decrease in muscle strength, flexibility and overall health you need more than just a daily turnout. Consult your equine veterinarian to make decisions about the best choice in shoeing to provide optimal traction for the conditions specific to your area. Be cautious of slippery or wet areas. Allow enough time for a good warm up as well as a cool down – up to twice as much time as you would in warmer weather. Avoid leaving your horse cold and wet.

Blanketing

Around mid-summer, horses typically begin putting on their winter coats. For this reason, they probably won’t require blanketing to stay warm. If your horse has been clipped or is new to the cold climate, you may need to supply outerwear for protection and warmth.

Health

Avoid winter health conditions like heaves and impaction colic by providing adequate ventilation and ensuring water intake. Thrush and dermatitis are caused by exposure to moisture, so keeping surroundings dry and as clean as possible to help ensure your horse has a safe and healthy winter.

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