Winter & Spring Horse Tips | Living the Country Life
More
Close

Winter & Spring Horse Tips

Winter and spring can present a number of challenges for nearly all livestock and outdoor animals - horses are no different. While their diet, exercise and time outside may be altered, horses are very resilient animals that can keep themselves up for the most part. Take a look at these tips to help your horse thrive throughout cold months and successfully transition outdoors before the swing of warm weather.
  • A helping hoof

    Winter seems to lag into spring later and later every year. While horses have natural processes to protect them and get them through the cold, there are a number of steps owners can take to make the transition from winter to warm smoother. Follow these tips for a successful winter and spring, and to have a healthy horse come summertime.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Shelter and facilities tips

    Many horses are acclimated to cold temperatures and often prefer to be outdoors, even during the winter and cold parts of the spring. While the horses may desire, and indeed need, the time outside, temperatures below thirty degrees, mixed with high winds and precipitation, can create health problems for horses. Be sure to provide enough room indoors for horses to take shelter, but make sure to regularly change their bedding, remove manure, and create adequate ventilation to avoid sickness. Failing to do any of these three can quickly lead to respiratory issues for horses using the shelter.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Water consumption tips

    Horses need to consume ten to twelve gallons of water per day to keep up their bodily functions properly. During the winter, snow and ice are not adequate sources of drinking water. Make sure you give your horse a stable drinking source, full of clean and warm water, that they can access in all conditions.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Food and nutrition tips

    The general rule with horses is they need about 1% more energy for every degree under 30 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature drops. This could be solved, simply, by providing more food for the horse(s) to consume, or by adding in a food with higher caloric content. Another option is to supplement parts of their diet with their feed to keep those bodily functions proper. Consider adding vitamins and minerals to feed, especially E and C, as antioxidants. Be careful though, to avoid over-doing it with vitamin A, which can have toxicity issues if not managed properly. 

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Blanketing tips

    Horses develop a natural winter coat, and many don’t need to be blanketed. Make sure to not interrupt the development of the natural coat by blanketing too early, or blanketing a horse that simply doesn’t need it. Wait until after the winter solstice to blanket your horse to incentivize the development of the winter coat. Blanket when there is a chance of precipitation, when temps will fall below 5 degrees Fahrenheit, if it’s had its winter-coat clipped, if it’s not acclimated to the cold or if the horse is very old or young. Don’t put a wet blanket on a horse, check regularly to make sure the blanket is dry and in good shape. Be consistent, as the horse’s body will adjust to being blanketed or not. Remove the blanket weekly to check on the horse’s coat and skin to be sure it’s having no issues.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Excercise tip

    Horses need the exercise, but winter conditions can be dangerous. Avoid deep, heavy or wet snow, and icy areas, to protect your horse’s ligaments as well as the rider’s safety. If winter riding, make sure your horse can cool down safely from the ride. Going from an intense ride to standing in a cold barn can cause health issues. Make sure the horse can cool down adequately and return to a stable body temperature before standing dormant in their shelter. Too quick of a transition can leave a tired, wet horse freezing in blowing winds. 

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Hoof care tips

    Hooves are susceptible to getting packed with snow and ice during winter, which can make travel, or even standing, dangerous or strenuous on tendons. Make sure to pick your horse’s hooves daily, but especially after a heavy snow. Traction will be better for the horse with no shoe on, but if your horse requires them, make sure you pay special care to them. Horses can get antsy in the winter and “stall walk” – pacing around their stall for whatever reason - to pass the time; but this can be bad for the horse’s hooves, ligaments, health and the shape of their stall. Hang toys in their stall to keep them entertained if you catch them stall-walking.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Grazing tips

    Grazing Tips: Going from winter feed and restricted outdoor time to warm-weather freedom can present a number of challenges for a horse and its owner. Make sure you transition your horse appropriately, giving it the time, space and resources to get back outside and feed on its own.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring
  • Wellness tips

    Once the weather does start to warm up, be sure to get your horse(s) examined and assessed by a veterinarian to make certain there are no lingering health issues to become more serious. Whether it’s blood work, a physical examination, or vaccines, make sure to address your horse’s health with an annual exam before transitioning them back to outdoor grazing.

    Date Published: February 21, 2019
    Date Updated: February 21, 2019
    Tags: Horses, Winter, Spring

Latest Blogs

Betsy's Backyard |
5/25/18 | 11:05 AM
My daughter, Caroline, said she missed my blog, so I'm going to download a few ...read more
Betsy's Backyard |
3/12/18 | 1:18 PM
The Living the Country Life Spring/Summer 2018 issue comes out this month. I loved the...read more

Add Your Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login