Thursday, 29 November 2012

Winter Care Tips

Hey NEIGHbours, it's that time of the year again, winter time.  You know what that means.  It's time to bust out those big blankets, water trough heaters, and it's going to be cold!  Here are some tips on how you can make sure your horses are prepared for the season.

Tip #1
Make sure that your horse has plenty of hay to eat in the paddock.  The bulk of their diet should be hay as by digesting it, the hay produces heat and helps to keep the horse warm.  A normal horse will consume roughly around 20 pounds of hay per day in warmer weather.  During the winter, that same horse may need 25 to 30 pounds a day.  

Tip #2
Ensure that your horse has an ample water supply.  Make routine checks to the paddock to make sure that the water trough is free of ice.  If you have electricity out near the paddocks, you could put in a bucket heater to help keep the water warm.  If the water is kept slightly warm during the winter, water consumption typically increases.  Add salt to your horse's feed, or provide them with a mineral salt lick to help increase water consumption. 

Tip #3
Show your horse some love in the winter and don't ask him to accept a freezing cold bit.  Keep the bridle in a heated area until it is not cold to the touch before putting it on your horse.  Hold the bit in your hand, under your arm, or inside your warm jacket to heat it up.  

Tip #4
Keep your horses feet free of snow.  A neat trick is to smear petroleum jelly on the bottom.  Make sure that you keep up with regular trimmings.  Clipped hooves will help provide a better grip on slippery ground, and are less likely to chip.  

Tip #5
When cooling down your horse after a ride, make sure he his ears are cold.  Cold ears mean a cold horse.  Make sure he is dry before putting him away.  Towel him over, roughing up the hair.  You can also use a hair dryer, if he is not afraid of them.  (Not a luxury for me, my horse would have heart failure.) Once dry, curry and brush him to separate the hairs and keep him warm.   

Tip #6
Ensure that you provide your horse with some form of shelter.  Trees help to provide a natural wind barrier, but the best protection comes from a run-in.  Make sure it is adequate enough to provide shelter for all the horses in the paddock.  When choosing a turnout blanket, make sure it is appropriate for the weather conditions.  Ensure that it fits properly and all straps are secure and safe.  

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Be sure to check out my other blogs at http://fromthehorsesstall.blogspot.ca, and follow me on my respective social media sites.

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