Winter Care for Horses

Horses need special care during the winter. This type of care usually starts in early November (USA) when the weather really begins to get cold.

When winter comes one wants to make sure they can take care of their horse well enough to keep it in top shape for when the summer comes. After all a horse is an investment and no one wants their investments to fail.

Some "experts" have stated that horses should get the same amount of exercise during the winter as they do during other seasons but there is some opposition to this feeling because winter has different effects on animals than other seasons do. Some conditions that make it impossible to get a horse out in the fresh air include icy conditions. If this is the weather outside then you don't want to send your horse outside and possibly cause an injury if it slips on some ice and falls. Other conditions include the damp dusty air of arenas which have also been determined to be detrimental to a horse's health. To counter this, be sure to get your horse outside for a trot at least three times a week for about an hour or so.

A big thing to be sure to do when exercising your horse in the winter is to make sure to cool them thoroughly in the stall or barn or wherever they are kept, then before returning them outside for more exercise be sure to brush their hair out so it stands up to allow them to stay warm.

Horses need to have the sole of their hooves checked regularly for any bruising that can occur due to the frozen ground or any ice that they may come into contact with.

Just like humans, horses need to have an adequate intake of water. If horses are cold enough, they may not drink all that is necessary which can cause health problems so be sure to find a way to get your horse to drink what it needs. The best way to accomplish this is to have a heated water bucket to warm the water which will entice your horse to drink more water. It has been said that a warm bucket of water is equivalent to a hot cup of tea for humans.

Dehydration is the number one cause of impaction colic in horses.

Another idea to get your horse the adequate nutrients it needs is to make it a nice hot homemade meal. An example of a meal that would fit this description is bran mash which consists of bran sweet feed, chopped apples, sliced carrots, and molasses.

Another major concern is to make sure your horse has a draft free shelter. If your horse spends a lot of time outside during the winter, you'll want to have plenty of straw on the floor to encourage him to lie down and get a more restful sleep.

If you make sure to take care of your horse during the winter, you'll be sure to get a lot more out of it during the other seasons.