by Christy Mellington
Wintertime can make keeping our horses well cared for a little more challenging. However, for all that our four legged friends do for us, it is well worth the extra time and effort. Here are some tips to help you and your horse survive the chilly days and nights.
TIPS FOR YOU:
1) When heading outside, dress appropriately. Layering your clothing will help you to stay warmer. Coveralls are also a plus.
2) Wear the right kind of boots. Winter can be wet as well as cold. Waterproof and insulated boots are a wintertime must for chores! If conditions are icy or walkways are slick, get yourself some traction clips for your boots.
3) Keep walkways clear by shoveling snow out of the way. Use salt or Ice Melt as necessary to melt the ice to reduce the chance of slipping and falling.
4) Keep a can of De-Icer handy for frozen gate latches and such.
5) Remember to NEVER touch any frozen metal if your hands are wet!
TIPS FOR YOUR HORSE:
1) Provide shelter for your horse. Every animal needs shelter from wind and frozen precipitation.
2) Provide your horse access to fresh water. Bust ice in water tanks or on ponds at least twice a day. Horse safe water tank heaters can also be used, however, take care to check them frequently for damage and to be sure that they are operating correctly.
3) Keep salt and mineral blocks available for your horse at all times. This will help to keep your horse drinking and well hydrated during the cold. Horses consuming large amounts of dry fodder (hay) can develop impaction colic if dehydrated.
4) Add more corn to your horses diet in the winter. Corn takes longer for your horse to digest and therefore creates more body heat; this will help him to stay warmer.
5) Provide extra hay during colder than normal weather. I like to put out big round hay bales to my pasture horses if snow is on the way; it’s better for them and easier on me.
6) Keep your horse on a regular worming schedule to ensure that he is getting the most out of his feed.
7) If you blanket your horse in the pasture, make sure to use a well-fitting, weatherproof turnout rug of good quality. Check your horse daily for signs of rubbing or galling.
I hope these tips help you and your horse have a more enjoyable winter season!