Caring For Your Horse In The Winter

Caring for your horse in the winter

Is working a horse in below zero temperatures unhealthy for them? Well, the chilly days are the worst to have outdoor activities with your horse. So, will you be confined to your house for months without having a ride? That, won't be necessary.

Backed up with other body necessities, horses can withstand extreme temperatures as low as 40 below zero. Any other extremes can be unhealthy for horses. Nonetheless, there are various considerations to maximize your horse health and fitness during the colder months as discussed below. As for you, put on your shoes, put on gloves, ride well for the winter, get out and go. If you usually do not wear chinks/chaps in the summer, add them to your winter clothing. They are excellent for keeping warm.

Here are some horse care tips during the winter.

1. People don’t ride much during cold days.

That will radically change the number of calories a horse consume during such times. When your horse is standing around a paddock or barn, he burns fewer calories. The case is different when the body has to burn more calories to produce body heat and maintain a normal temperature inside. It’s important to help your horse maintain his body temperature. You can attain that by replacing two pounds of hay for every reduced kilogram of grain-fed every day. The fact remains that a horse that eats hay can produce more heat in the hindgut from the fermentation of grass and hay, thus helping to maintain body temperature. In all extreme weather conditions, horse demand for calorie increase from 10-20 percent.

2. Ensure you feed a complete diet to your horse.

You can add supplements, mineral licks, and salt blocks to receive the necessary amount of minerals and vitamins.

3. Water forms a major nutrient for horses.

During cold months horses are more susceptible to impaction colic due to improper digestion. The most common impacts occur in the large intestine caused by a decrease in water consumption. Water is essential for the horse to maintain a healthy digestive system. You can prevent spikes poisoning by ensuring your horse has good access to warm water. When a horse drinks cold water, it needs to use extra energy to replace the lost heat of cooling water, and therefore drink less. Using the tank heater can make your horse drink more, and as a bonus, you will not have to break the ice blocks every morning!

4. Hoof care

Keeping hoof health in winter is important because mud and manure pack the hooves and provides ideal conditions for the growth of thrush. Frequently pick and apply anti-thrush products as a preventive measure. Such products have a burning effect on any skin so you should be careful. The horse's hoofs continue to grow in winter, so you have to cut them regularly. There are many products to keeping your horse's feet in good condition, without breaking or cracking. Hence, you will eliminate hoof problems and make your horse sound and ready for spring.

5. Use of blanket

Such blankets are necessary especially for horses that have short hair. Be proactive ensuring the blanket fits the horse and is in excellent condition.

6. Skin care

Maintaining good skin care is also important for the health of your horse. Bacteria and fungi can be the result of dirty hair-coat of your horse. Keep the horse's skin healthy, by often massaging his body that will also allow you to feel any hidden impacts or discards on the skin.

7. Change the trail-bag

You should not use a trail-bag for a long time. It’s important to change the bag every 14 days. Rinse, condition and dry the tail before repacking. That will help prevent hair breakage at the top of the tail.

8. How about senior horses and cold?

A senior horse is a set of challenges on its own. Consult your veterinarian about joints and arthritis, as well as supplements to help them through the cold months. Your older horse should be monitored frequently to make sure that he keeps his weight and health.

9. Field Feeding

If you turn your horses to pasture in winter, it’s good to have a place where they can be safe from weather elements. A protective shed is a great solution when there is no barn in the filed. Monitor your horse health keeping all other factors into consideration.


Give some of this easy tips a try this winter. Hopefully, they will help make your winter "hibernation" a little easier for you and your horse. Riding in winter through the snow not only is fun, but also improves your horse mental performance.

How to Prepare My Horse for the Long Winter Months


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