Caring for your horse or pony during the winter months
Winter is always a challenging time for horses and their owners for a number of different reasons. With bad weather conditions making it difficult to carry out your daily routine, it can be hard to plan when to take your horse out, when to go for rides and so on. There are a few key things to consider during the winter when it comes to your horse or pony to ensure they stay happy and healthy even in the colder temperatures.
Keeping Them Warm
Whether your horse is kept in their stable overnight, or you keep them out in the field, keeping them warm is crucial. The winter can get very cold, especially during the evenings, so it’s beneficial to provide them with plenty of hay to help keep them warm and insulated. By providing fresh hay for your horse, they are able to stay at a comfortable temperature which in turn will ensure they are content and safe. Supply a generous amount of hay for your horse and keep an eye on the levels and condition to ensure its working to its full potential. Similarly, if your horse is in their stable then you want to provide them with quality horse bedding to ensure they’re warm and comfortable. Take a look at online agricultural retailers such as Wynnstay to find out which horse bedding and hay is going to be best suited to you.
In order to ensure your horse is getting the nutrients they require it’s often worth looking at introducing some additional minerals or concentrates to their diets. During the winter, grass and foliage can be sparse so you need to ensure your horse is getting the balanced diet they require in order to maintain a healthy weight. You don’t want your horse to lose weight during the winter months or become unhealthy due to lack of the necessary nutrients.
As many horse owners will know, keeping your horse covered with a blanket during the winter months is essential. Not only does it help to keep them warm, but it also helps to keep them protected from the rain, snow and other strong weather conditions. It’s important to check your horses blanket frequently, especially after heavy rain or snow, as you want to ensure the blanket isn’t causing any irritation or rubbing in any areas. By simply removing the blanket, wiping your horse down, giving them a good brush and putting the blanket back you are helping to avoid potential rubbing or skin damage.
With so many different weather conditions during the winter, it’s very important to keep your horses’ hooves clipped and maintained. This will help to provide grip when the ground is a little icy, as well as preventing snow from gathering and causing problems with your horse’s feet. By keeping the hooves clipped frequently, you can prevent any damage during the winter months. It’s important to note that the ice and frost can actually cause overgrown hooves to crack, which can cause huge discomfort for your horse, so ensure you keep them in great condition all year around.