Snowy days and chilled nights can be equally harsh for horses as for us. And with little to no activity in the fields due to snow-covered terrains and wind chill, horses will be forced to spend the whole day in stables that would create a sense of boredom and lead to unhealthy habits.
Keeping a horse happy and healthy during these times could be challenging for horse owners if they do not prepare in advance. Proper feed, access to water, appropriate shelter, and exercise are necessary for the horse’s well-being. In this article, you will learn different ways to keep your horse happy during the winter months.
- Focus on Feed
The caloric requirement of the horse increases with a drop in temperature in winter. Since grass growth often slows down in the colder months, it is essential to increase their feed intake with fibre-rich forage or hay content. It will help the horse retain stamina and body weight.
- Access To Water
Snow should not be confused for satisfying the horse’s water needs since it contains less water and requires more effort to consume. On top of that, the water content in the forage remains low. Also, horses stay away from drinking water that is too cold. Hydration is crucial to encourage the horse to eat more, and it can be done by supplying warm water.
- Use Blankets
Blanketing your horse is a great way to protect them from the rough weather. The choice of a blanket depends on the horse’s needs and surroundings. Consider buying a heavyweight turnout rug to cover the horse if it is grazing outside in the snow or snowy rain as it will repel the moisture and keep them warm. Remember to check the straps and make sure that it is dry when put on.
- Prepare The Shelter
Even though the natural winter hair coat insulates horses from the cold winds, preparing a three-sided shelter will cut off cold draughts from entering the stable. Do not forget to check for any leakage in the roof or drain pipes in the barn.
- Physical Activity
Staying idle for long can leave your horse feeling restless and affect their physical fitness and ability to run. Start taking them out more often for short walks or small rides for muscle warm-up and to evaluate stamina as soon as the snow melts.
Winter is the most awaited season of the year for horse riding. However, as the cold weather approaches, it demands a change in the strategy to take care of horses. By applying the suggestions offered here, for example, using a heavyweight turnout rug, you can keep your horse happy and in shape for the upcoming season.