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Horse Articles :: Cold Weather Horse Care
Cold Weather Horse Health
You may be surprised at how well horses can adapt to colder
weather. In the wild, horses can withstand temperatures at
well below zero. However, there are a number of things that
you can do to maximize your horse's health and condition during
the colder months. Here are a few tips that will help to keep
your equine friend happy and healthy during winter months.
One important thing to remember is that although horses do
well in colder temperatures, they can be affected by cold
winds which not only make them extremely uncomfortable but
also have a tendency to spook the horse. You can keep your
horse happier by providing some type of wind break such as
a run-in shed in the pasture. If your horse does not have
access to a run-in shed, a line of trees may be adequate to
block some of the wind, but it is advisable that they at least
have some sort of shelter from potential wind, snow, and freezing
In addition to a nice shelter for your horse, you should
increase your horse's hay intake during the winter months.
Hay digestion creates increased heat production which helps
your horse stay warmer in the winter months. Be sure that
you are not increasing the grain intake, as increased grain
intake will not provided the desired results of helping your
horse to stay warmer. In fact, excess grain has been linked
to foundering and potentially colic.
If your hay is not of the best quality, you should take your
hay to be tested so that the hay is providing all of the nutritional
benefits to your horse. Beet Pulp has been used by many horsemen
as an additional feed source to supplement hay. The qualities
of beet pulp allow it to be an easily digested feed with similar
nutritional benefits as hay. Be sure that your horse is receiving
enough feed through high quality forages to help him or her
sustain a healthy body weight throughout the winter.
In addition to providing extra hay, you should also always
provide fresh water for your horse. Although the weather is
colder, horses still need enough water intake to keep their
digestive tracts in line. Water prevents dehydration and is
a vital part of keeping your horse healthy. Not only should
you provide fresh water, but check the water regularly for
ice. You may need to either install an electric heater in
the water trough or keep a rubber mallet nearby to break ice
which accumulates in buckets.
Another tip to keep in mind is to cool down your horse after
exercise. Although this is equally important in the summer
time, horses can easily chill after a rigorous work out if
they are not provided with a cooler blanket to keep their
body temperatures from losing heat too quickly and to keep
them from becoming chilled while wet with sweat. Remember
to walk your horse after a work-out so that they can cool
Winter months can be refreshing and exhilarating for horses
as long as they are kept healthy and happy!
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