Winter Care Tips for Horses

It’s that time of year again when the seasons will shift and the temperatures will begin to get cooler. Pets, just like people, have different needs during the cooler months, and horses are no exception. While equine pets are relatively hardy and can withstand colder weather, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your horse makes it through the winter with no problems. Here is some helpful advice from your Haleyville vet on winter care tips for your horse.

Winterize Housing – Ensure that your horse’s stable is clean, warm and free from drafts. If you house your horse outdoors, be mindful of cold rain, which can be detrimental to your pet’s health. Consider blanketing your horse to keep her dry when it rains.

Prepare for Riding – Riding in colder weather means that you have to be particularly careful in terms of preparation. Warm the bit using hot water or a non-toxic warming gel, and make sure your horse is well-groomed and has clean hooves.

Watch the Terrain – Before setting off on a ride, be certain the terrain where you plan to ride is in good shape for the time of year. Keep in mind that icy and muddy areas can pose a dangerous hazard to your horse. If you’re not sure which areas are best, ask your Haleyville vet for suggestions.

Allow Adequate Cool-Down – Following exercise, your horse needs to be properly cooled down, but doing so in colder weather can be a challenge. If your horse became wet during your outing, be sure to dry him off and clean his hooves. You may also want to use a breathable blanket to keep your pet from getting too cold during a cool down. Your Haleyville vet can suggest a good one.

Keep an Eye on the Water – If the temperature drops too low, your horse’s drinking water may freeze, and if your horse can’t drink, she’ll become dehydrated.

Remember, The Term “Cold” is Relative – What you think is cold may be comfortable to your horse, so be careful about overdoing it with blankets and covers. A good rule of thumb is to check your horse’s ears – they should be cool, not cold. If they are cold, your horse is cold.

Be Aware of Winter Ailments – Just like humans, horses can develop a number of illnesses and conditions that are related to cooler temperatures and changes in weather. If you suspect your horse may be suffering from a medical condition, contact your Haleyville vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Enjoying your equine companion is something that can be done year-round, but extra care should be taken when the weather becomes cooler. By following these simple tips and working with your Haleyville vet, you and your horse can enjoy a happy, healthy winter.

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