How to care for your horses in winter
When temperature decrease, it's important to start thinking about how to take care of your horse during the winter. It's essential to start by recognizing that, according to the American Association of Equine Veterinarians, horses are inherently prepared to handle just about anything winter throws at them. However, the biggest challenge horses confront in winter is protecting themselves from the wind.
How can I prevent frostbite in my horse during the winter?
As horses are better prepared than humans to withstand the cold and frostbite is not usually a problem for most equines the winter climate. However, when frostbite does cause a problem, it typically causes tissue loss and physical disfigurement and can become infected if not properly treated.
Therefore, that does not mean we should not worry about winter horse health concerns. We must prevent frostbite in our horses, because although it is uncommon in equids, it can cause tissue loss and dangerous infections when it occurs, so it should be treated promptly.
In order to prevent it we are going to give you some tips to safely train your horse during winter months.
What are some tips for caring for horses during the winter months?
The first thing to know is that horses tolerate cold better than heat, in fact, horses are gradually preparing their coat for winter, so they grow thicker hair at this time of year, that is their way of protecting themselves against lower temperatures.
Here are some points to have into consideration in order to take care of our horses in winter:
- About the clipping of the horse: as the cold weather arrives, horses change their coat and it becomes longer and thicker, depending on the activity we do, we should consider whether it is better for them to shear it or not, and also take care of them having that in mind.
In this sense, If the horse must work daily, he will sweat, and the long and thick winter hair will not be beneficial for him, since drying it will be much more complicated and we will increase the risk of colds, so in these cases it is recommended to clip him.
- Winter horse water management: A horse can drink between 10 and 20 liters of water a day in winter. It is important to check the water bowls every day since they can freeze due to the low temperatures. And, of course, it is recommended to protect the pipes to prevent them from freezing.
- Limbs and mud: With the humidity we have in winter, the possibility of your horse having arestines in its limbs increases. Arestines are a dermatitis mainly caused by the bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis, which together with other triggering factors such as humidity, mud, wounds or any other circumstance that damages the skin, manages to reach deep layers of the dermis where it multiplies and causes the infection.
- Winter horse nutrition: In winter, like us, horses have a higher caloric intake to keep warm, so we can increase the intake of feed during the colder months.
- Use rugs: There are many different types of rugs, on this page we show you some of the ones we have available at Marjoman. On the other hand, we recommend you have into consideration some winter horse blanketing guidelines in order to choose the best rug for your horse.
How can I safely train my horse during the winter months?
Aside from making sure their water doesn’t freeze over, and even blanketing them, there are more questions still to answer when talking about horses in winter.
In this sense, here we describe some tips to train your horse safely in winter:
Make sure to check outdoor areas thoroughly before using them: be careful with the ice, horses can slip and fall on ice.
Also, make sure you have good care of your horse hoof in winter, especially when training.
If your horse is sweating, make sure they are completely dry before going to the outside.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on your horse during the time they are doing exercise, remember that in winter it will take longer for them to warm up.
To sum up, there are more things you should consider in winter to make sure your horse is training safely, for instance, you could ask yourself If you are adapting food and feeding your horse correctly in winter, for that you should look for some calorie-rich feed options for my horse during the winter.
And finally, and most importantly, you must make sure your horse is correctly equipped in winter: All horses when out at grass will need constant access to shelters and thermal blankets.
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