|As the temperatures drop, there are some special challenges in horsekeeping. But remember the basics!|
- Be sure to have clean water available. Use heaters, cozies, or insulated buckets. If you do choose heated buckets, be certain the electrical connection is secure and safe and always use a breaker system to prevent problems. Remember eating show is not sufficient for water intake so don’t count on your horse consuming snow as a source of hydration.
- Since your horse will not have pasture during winter, the quality and content of your hay is very important. Money spent buying quality forage is money well spent and you can save on supplements and commercial feed if your hay is of sufficient nutritional value. Testing is the only way to be certain of what you have stored in your barn.
- Regular trim services are required throughout the year. Don’t compromise on farrier services during snow and ice season. It is a well shaped hoof that will clean itself and act as a “suction cup” on slippery surfaces. I will gladly tell you if your frequency of trims should change.
- Blanketing is a generally not required in a healthy young or mature horse. There are circumstances that may require blankets be used, but if your horse gets adequate turnout and does not have health issues, it is likely that blankets will not be required. I will be happy to give you additional information on this topic if you like. Simply email me.
- Even when it is cold outside, your barn or run in must “breathe” – no heaters please! And make sure they are not “air tight”. Horses do best with good air circulation.
- Feeding schedules should be aimed at holding weight. Forage may be added to help a horse generate more body heat – it is generally not beneficial to add more commercial feed or grain.
- TURN OUT is very important no matter what the season. Horses not only should be turned out in winter, they LOVE the snow and brisk air.
**Please take note: all suggestions are for generally healthy horses without special needs. If you have concerns, I would be happy to discuss them with you.