Summer is wrapping up, and the cold fall and winter weather will soon be approaching. For horse lovers, this means you’ll have to take some extra precautions with your care routine to keep your horse happy and healthy. Here are a few tips for how to care for your horse in cold weather.
Provide More Water and Feed
In the winter, your horse will need more feed and water than usual. Dried winter feed typically has less moisture, so you’ll need to accommodate for the lack of moisture with more water. Slightly warmer water is the best option in the cold, as your horse may steer clear of cold, icy water.
Horses also need additional energy to keep their bodies warm. For additional energy, add more forage to their feed, depending on how cold it is. The colder the weather, the more feed they’ll need for extra energy.
Give Them Shelter
Horses have a thick winter coat that provides warmth in harsh temperatures, but you should still try to avoid the wind when possible. Make sure your horse has a form of shelter or an area blocked by trees to protect them from the wind.
Fit Them for a Blanket
If you don’t have access to a shelter, a blanket is an alternative to keep your horse warm. You should use blankets in extreme cold when there is a chance the horse will become wet, such as in freezing rain. You should also use a blanket if your horse is not acclimated to cold weather or is very young or old.
Take extra care when fitting your horse for a blanket, as an improper size will not properly insulate the horse and can create sores and rub marks.
Hoof care is an important part of how to care for your horse in cold weather. In the summer and spring months, hoof care is necessary to get rid of built-up mud and dirt. In colder months, ice can build up, decreasing your horse’s balance and increasing their likelihood of falling.
Use a pick to clean your horse’s hooves daily to get rid of excess frozen mud and ice.