Winter has definitely set in and while you may be tempted to wrap your horse in a toasty blanket and park him in a heated barn for the winter, avoid the urge. Your horse will be much better off without the over-coddling but don’t just throw him out and forget about him until spring either!
To ensure your horse stays healthy all year long, avoid these winter horsekeeping mistakes.
1. Letting his water freeze over. – A horse will not stay properly hydrated if his water is frozen. Snow and ice are not a substitute for clean drinking water. Invest in a heating device designed for horse waterers and troughs.
2. Not increasing food rations when temperatures dip. – Ask your vet about how much feed your horse should receive during the winter months. When the temperature drops your horse burns more calories to stay warm. Hay provides an excellent source of calories and the process of digesting the fiber found in hay helps keep a horse warm.
3. No exercise. – Horses need exercise all year long, Using EasyCare hoof boots such as the Easyboot Epic, Easyboot Glove or even the Boa’s or Old Mac’s with studs installed if necessary is a good way to continue riding during the winter months.
4. Keeping your horse indoors. – Horses will stay healthier and fitter if left outdoors for the winter but make sure there is a shelter available for the elements.
5. Over blanketing. – A horse with a natural winter coat probably does not need blanketing as long as he has shelter from the elements, is receiving proper nutrition and is in good health. Over blanketing can cause your horse to overheat, which can lead to a host of health problems.
6. Lack of hoof care. – You cannot fore-go hoof care during the winter months! Horses need regular trims every six to eight weeks, regardless of the season.
7. Throwing him out to pasture until spring. – Even though it is cold outside, you still have to keep up your daily horsekeeping chores.
8. Neglecting your own health. – Remember, if you’re not healthy you won’t be able to care for your horse so stay warm and healthy because your horse is depending on you everyday!
Posted by Shari Murray