Horses love the outdoors and prefer to roam even in the coldest winter months. But with the biting winds, snow, and frigid temperatures, will your horse be okay? In truth, horses are more than capable of handling cold weather. However, you’ll need to adjust these necessities, from horse feed to hydration, to ensure they stay healthy throughout the winter.
How to Keep Horses Comfortable in Cold Weather
1. Keep Them Hydrated
Water is essential for much more than just washing down horse feed. Horses need more water during the winter, so always give them easy access to a clean supply. Maintaining a steady source of fresh water can be a challenge in chilly weather, so keep their water warm to encourage drinking and prevent freezing.
2. Continue to Exercise Them
You may be worried about your equine companion’s cold tolerance, but they should not be cooped up inside during the winter. If you forego their exercise, they could develop painful lower leg swelling. Take them out riding whenever the weather is mild enough. Steer clear of ice patches, deep snow, and slush to avoid potential injury.
3. Increase the Hay in Their Feed
Most of the nutrients required in your horse feed won’t change during the winter, but the need for energy will surge drastically. Offer a consistent supply of fiber-rich hay and increase the amount whenever the temperatures dip. Smaller horses and foals particularly need the extra carbohydrates in their horse feed to retain body heat.
4. Provide Adequate Shelter
To protect your horse from severe winter weather, provide them with an easily accessible shelter. Check the integrity of the shelter before the temperature drops; it should adequately keep out drafts and moisture because horse coats lose their efficient insulative properties when wet.
5. Routinely Check Their Hooves
You’ll still need to trim your horse’s hooves during the winter, but not quite as frequently. Shift your focus to keeping hooves clear of snow and ice this season. Ice and snow can accumulate and stick to the bottom of hooves, making it difficult to walk and increasing the risk of falls. When there’s snow on the ground, check and clean your horse’s hooves after each trip outdoors.
Stock up on all the healthy horse feed you need at Bethel Feed & Supply Pet & Garden Center. This local feed mill has been providing the Clermont County, OH, community with quality pet and livestock supplies for over a century. Alongside their custom grinds and premium feed brands, they offer grooming tools, feeders, waterers, pest control, and small wound care. Learn more about their available products online, and call (513) 734-2246 to speak with a staff member.