Winter is always a challenge for horse owners. With so many variables, it can be hard to know how best to support your horse so check out our helpful equine care tips for winter.
Winter brings many challenges for horse owners, from feeding to exercise to unpredictable weather! It is important to assess your horse’s current body condition, age, health and formulate a plan to ensure all his needs are met. Here are a few helpful hints for the colder, winter months:
✔ Keep Warm
Ensure horses wintering outside have access to shelter both to keep them warm and to get respite from wind or rain. Consider an outdoor rug to provide further warmth but these must be checked daily to prevent rubs or sores, which are uncomfortable and can cause injury. If your horse is clipped, consider exercising in a quarter sheet depending on your fitness regime.
✔ Feed plenty of forage
Forage is absolute vital in keeping your horse warm as it generates heat as your horse chews and digests it. Access to high quality forage is essential for both horses stabled indoors as well as outdoors.
✔ Consider concentrated feed
Forage alone can be unable to provide enough heat when the temperatures really drop so consider concentrates. Correctly provided, concentrated feed can assist in keeping a horse warm as well as reduce the risk of weight loss due to cold. Consult your equine nutritionist for the best concentrates to provide your individual horse.
✔ Ensure water consumption
Check outdoor drinkers daily to ensure they are not frozen over. Fill containers and leave inside in case pipes freeze over. Horses can be not inclined to drink in colder weather owing to the water being too cold and unpleasant. Water is essential to prevent impaction colic in winter so encourage water intake by increasing water temperature or provide a soaked feed.
✔ Boost the immune system
During the winter, a horse’s immune system can become depleted and so supplementation should be considered. A horse’s physiological (including immune) health depends on the healthy gut microbiome. Gut Gold is a pre and probiotic supplement that contains a live yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae formulation. Gut Gold helps support a healthy Gastrointestinal (GI) tract and aid digestion, making it ideal for older horses, poor doers or horses that tend to lose condition at any time of year such as in winter.