Horses require special care during long winters
Horses have special needs during the cold weather to assure they will stay healthy and in good condition. A few basic guidelines to follow: -- Fresh water should be available at all times. Mature horses will drink approximately 10 gallons of wate...
Horses have special needs during the cold weather to assure they will stay healthy and in good condition. A few basic guidelines to follow:
-- Fresh water should be available at all times. Mature horses will drink approximately 10 gallons of water per day. By preference, horses prefer a water temperature of 40 degrees F. If you are using buckets, the water should be replaced at least two times per day. If you use float heaters, automatic waters, or heated water buckets, be sure to check them to insure the heater is not shorting out and shocking the water. Do not depend on horses eating enough snow to meet their water needs.
-- Every horse should be fed as an individual. For each 10 degree decrease in temperature below 30 degrees F, the horse requires approximately 15-20 percent more feed. During the cold weather it is best to increase the amount of hay, not corn. Never change the horse's ration suddenly. Allow a minimum of two weeks for any adjustment. All horses should have access to a trace mineralized salt block.
-- Losing pasture time increases boredom in horses. Stemmy, non-moldy hay of less quality can give the horse something to pass the time with.
-- Shelter should be available for the horse. Horses do not necessarily need an enclosed barn, but they should have access to a three-sided shelter with a roof.
-- Maintain a good dental program and parasite control program.
-- Legs should be kept clean. Mud and snow will accumulate on long hair (feathers) of the fetlock and cannon. Keep them trimmed and remove caked mud, snow, and manure.
-- Shoes should be pulled unless you plan to ride on rough services.
-- If you work your horse during cold weather, the horse should be properly cooled off. Never put a horse up when it is still hot to the touch or breathing hard.