Why Your Horse Needs A Special Care During Winter
If you own a horse, no matter if it is a stallion, gelding, or mare, you know that it’s called a noble animal for good reason. A horse can form a special bond with its owner and will give his or her best if treated well. Whether yours is a riding or a working horse, it’s a special animal that deserves special care. Whether you keep it in a barn or let it wander outside in the cold weather, there are some key reasons why your horse needs special care during winter that you should know about in order to keep it safe and happy.
1. Additional Energy
When the temperature drops below a certain point, your horse needs to produce more energy in order to stay warm. One way to go about providing that is to look into proper winter horse feeding since more food is needed at such times. The caloric intake should go up by around 10 per cent for every 10-degree temperature drop when it’s under 30 degrees. Besides that, you should provide your horse with at least some type of shelter that can protect it from harsh winds. While a full-on barn is the best option here, anything that can give it some protection from the wind and elements will do.
2. Catching Chills
Much like with dogs, a horse will get a thicker coat of hair in order to protect it from the cold. That’s normal and expected, but what you should know is that even if your horse has a nice and thick winter coat, it can still catch chills. The extra hair provides a layer of protection that traps warm air close to its skin. However, if the horse is out running, working, or you’re riding it, his sweat mixed with the cold temperatures, harsh wind and wetness can do some serious damage. If you’re planning to ride your horse during winter, make sure that it’s first dried out after the ride and has its hair braided up so no water can get through. This will ensure that your horse is able to stay warm and dry on the outside at all times. Additionally, it might be a good idea to provide it with a blanket so that it gets an extra insulation layer – especially if you still clip his hair during winter.
3. Freezing Water
Horse drinking water can easily freeze overnight when the temperature drops below freezing point, and this is why you need to make sure that your horse has constant access to warm water throughout the day. A lot of horses don’t drink enough water during the winter months because it’s so cold, and because of that, they can get sick. It’s important to make sure that your horse has enough water every single day – even when the temperatures fall below freezing point. An average horse needs around 6-7 gallons of water per day. If it doesn’t drink enough, that could cause constipation, denitration, and colic.
4. Improved Circulation
Just like with people, horses tend to have somewhat slower blood circulation in the extremities when it’s cold out. Taking its shoes off will not only ensure that his heels grow which means there’s improvement in the circulation, but it will also provide it with better traction which means it will be less likely to slip and fall. While letting it go barefoot is a good choice since a horse can suffer serious injuries if it slips on a slippery surface, choosing a less slippery alternative for your stable floors is definitely one of the keys to keeping your proud animal safe and healthy. If you think about it, that’s just common sense – just like with us.
5. Immunity Threatened
The immune system weakens when the temperature drops, and that may lead to your horse picking up viruses and bacteria that it wouldn’t have under normal conditions. That means more visits to the vet and medication, which in turn will cost you more money than usual. If this happens, it will definitely leave you with a very unhappy and frustrated horse. Providing your animal with some sort of shelter during the winter months is one way to make sure that its immune system stays strong and healthy, but another thing you can do is to provide it with enough vitamins and minerals in its daily diet so that its body has what it needs to build immunity and fight off any viruses or bacteria that it’s exposed to.
If you love your horse and want to ensure that it’s happy and healthy, making sure that you provide it with some type of shelter during the winter months is a no-brainer. Providing it with quality feed and warm water throughout the day will not only keep it hydrated but provide its brain cells, and muscles with the right nutrients it needs to function properly. While it may seem like a lot at first glance, both you and your horse will be much happier if you follow these simple winter care tips.