The winter season is a taxing time on horses and very difficult for horse owners alike. Some preparation for the winter can go a long way in easing the winter challenges.
Preparing for winter in autumn is the best approach - that way you’re prepared before the cold blast hits making the roads muddy and covered in snow.
Here are some ways you can prepare your horse and stable for the winter:
Horses have adapted to the cold weather over the centuries, they usually grow a long thick coat for the winter and their body produces natural oils that will keep them waterproof against the downpours of winter. Some of the native horses can adapt well to the cold temperatures and will not require rugs.
It is essential not to over groom the horses because this might strip the horses of natural oils and will reduce their ability to become waterproof. If you have an older horse, mug and dirt can add an extra layer of warmth. If you want to add a rug then you must remove it once a day and constantly check for sores, rubs and overheating. You should always provide shelter in both summer and winter seasons to provide respite from the elements.
With the stables you should start thinking about winter when the weather is mild, this is the perfect time to remove any weeds that might surface, check the drains and ditches and carry out any necessary maintenance that might affect the horse in any way. There are somethings that are poisonous to horses such as sycamore seeds and acorns, they are abundant at winter time. If these trees are on your land then its best to fence them off and make sure that the horses don’t go near there.
During the wet British Winter, the field might become poached. Its best to move water troughs and bucket to help reduce poaches around this area. You will need to rotate the grazing to avoid poaching or you can drain your fields. During the really cold days it is best if the horse stays in the stable but will need to be taken out once a day to maintain the horse’s health. The horse droppings should be removed in a quicker manner and an effective worming programme to reduce parasites should be completed.
Extra care and attention will need to be given to older horses during the winter months. They will need to be stabled for a longer period of time, this will need to be well ventilated and not affecting their respiratory health. You should strategically place hay in different corners of the stable to encourage mobility. If they are finding it difficult to walk in the colder days, this might be because they are not warm enough. You should check with your vet to see whether your horse might require some Joint tablets. Routine checks for teeth and feet should not be overlooked.
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