While horses may seem hardy and often stoic, the winter months can often be hard on them.
For this reason, it’s important to take special precautions in the winter to ensure that your equine friend is well cared for.
The Right Diet for Your Horse During Winter
One of the biggest changes that occur for your horse in the winter months is the changing amount of forage available.
Outside of the grain you feed your horse, forage is their main source of food. During the spring, summer, and fall months, horses get the majority of their vital vitamins and minerals from their forage intake. In the winter when less forage is available, it’s important to supplement your horses feed to ensure they’re still getting the correct vitamins and minerals.
Of course, in addition to loosing vitamins and minerals, less forage available also means that horses are at risk of severe weight loss during the winter months.
Fortunately, supplementing your horse’s diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Depending on the specific needs of your horse, the best thing to do, in most cases, is to find a multi-vitamin supplement for the winter months.
Furthermore, it may also be necessary to up your horse’s grain intake to make sure that he/she receives additional vitamins and minerals, but also to prevent weight loss.
The most important thing to remember is that by nature, horses are constantly eating. For this reason, it’s important that you provide your horse with additional forage in the form of hay, as well as an increase in grain with a multi-vitamin supplement if needed.
Keeping Your Horse Warm
As humans, we tend to have a fairly low tolerance for cold weather. Fortunately for them, horses have a higher tolerance for chilly conditions. That being said, horses can still get cold during severe weather.
The steps that need to be taken to keep your horse warm will vary depending on your horse. For example, certain horses have heavier winter coats than others, and like humans, a horse’s tolerance to cold will vary amongst individuals. The horse’s thick winter coat is one of the strongest defenses they have against cold weather; however, during severe weather conditions it may be necessary to provide additional warmth through your horse through blanketing.
There are a wide array of blankets available: The key is to know your horse’s tolerance level for cold weather and blanket accordingly.
In addition to blanketing, feeding extra hay is another tactic that can help keep your horse warm. That being said, simply feeding additional hay is often not enough to keep a cold horse warm during severe weather conditions.
Although the task of keeping your horse in tip-top shape during the winter months can seem somewhat daunting, doing so is possible with attention to detail and planning.
Most of the time, your horse’s appearance and attitude will let you know if anything is wrong. For example, if you notice that your horse’s coat is looking dull and he/she is dropping weight, that would be your first hint that your horse isn’t getting enough nutrition.
Fortunately, with a little extra attention, you can ensure that your horse is well taken care of during the winter months.