Winter is a great time of year for throwing on some warm clothes, grabbing a rug and sitting around a warm fire. However without the right equipment to keep you warm, it can be excruciatingly cold! This is the same for most animals during winter and horses are no exception. Petplan look at some tips on how to keep your horse healthy and happy this winter.
- A waterproof/winter rug is the best way to keep your horse warm over winter.
- When it comes to rugging your horse, you will need to remove it at least weekly to check on your horse’s body condition. Condition scoring relates to checking your horse, particularly around the withers, neck, ribs and the loin to assess the amount of body fat. This will leave you with a good indication if your horse is losing weight and what you need to do for them to become healthier. It is also beneficial when the sun is out in those colder winter days to allow the horse to be rug free to avoid itching as well.
- The biggest responsibility during the colder months is making sure that your horse is eating enough feed and receiving the nutrients needed to keep them in shape and maintaining the much needed weight.
- To avoid dehydration horses still need to consume sufficient water to stay hydrated during the colder months. Research has proven that by only providing warm water to horses, they will drink a lot more than they would if they only had icy water available.
- Horses still need adequate exercise even when the weather is cold. If conditions are still not terrible, keep riding your horse during the winter months, however if the weather is severe allow your horse to roam in a paddock daily if it safe to do so.
- As these months can be harsh for not only your horse but all animals, it is imperative that you continue to keep a close eye on them and note any changes in behaviour, manure, and weight. It is also important to maintain check-ups and medication such as worming tablets. If in need, get a vet to take a look at your horse to prevent any serious problems down the track
Continue to keep a close eye on all your horses as the weather drops, check their body weight, whether or not they are eating properly and continue to give them options for shelter from the weather. If you take all the precautions over these colder months, you and your horses will be safe and healthy!
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petplan.