The weather gets cooler when winter comes. As humans, we have everything we need at home to keep us warm and comfortable when the temperature gets chilly. However, animals need extra care to keep them protected and warm during this season.
As a horse owner, you might be looking for ways on how to prepare your horse for winter. Although horses are hardy and have different ways to cope with the cold, they still need some extra care from their owner to make them feel comfortable.
Here are the basic ways to take care of your horse in the winter.
Check the Shelters
Before winter sets in, be sure to check the shelters for damage or wear. See to it that they are in good condition before the cold season comes. Check the walls, roof, flooring, and be sure that there are no leaks or cracks where the cold temperature from the outside could get in. This keeps the indoor temperature well regulated, keeping your horse warm and comfortable.
Stock Up on Hay
Since your horse can’t go out much during the winter and there is lesser natural forage available, you need to stock up on dry hay as horse feed for the whole winter. Feed your horse more hay to make up for the natural forage that it misses and keep it warm as well.
Provide Good Water Supply
Your horse will be eating more dry feed which means it needs more water to stay hydrated. Be sure that you’re providing the horse with adequate water supply every day. When the temperature gets colder, you could also consider giving water that is heated a little bit to keep horse warm.
Prepare the Horse Rugs
Although some horses might not need rugs especially when they are well sheltered and kept warm inside the stable, many horses still need rugs for extra warmth and comfort. Before the winter months, check the horse winter rugs you have and see if they need repairs or replacement. See to it that the rugs fit your horses well so it can be used immediately when needed.
Don’t Clip Before Winter
Your horse’s coat helps a lot in regulating its body temperature and keeping it warm during winter. If possible, leave its coat to grow naturally before the winter months. You might feel the urge to trim it but it is best for your horses just to let it grow.
Inspect Teeth and Hooves
These two parts should be checked regularly to keep a horse in its optimum condition. However, it is more important to check these just before winter. Since your horse will be consuming more dry feed, it needs strong and healthy teeth to chew hay properly and get adequate nutrition it needs. The hooves can also accumulate snow underneath especially when your area gets a lot of snow. You could fit anti-snowball pads on it to prevent snow build-up on the hooves.
Taking care of your horse during winter is one of the essential responsibilities in horse ownership.