"Although horses are very adaptable to cold weather, managing their physical and nutritional needs takes some planning (Equimed.com)."
At Southwind Farm our staff works diligently to manage the needs of each one of our boarders during the winter season. We take the care of all of our animals seriously and work to make sure they are safe, healthy and also happy during the winter months!
Here are a few tips from the Equimed article to keep in mind:
- Tip #1- Provide adequate shelter
The immediate response to a sudden change in temperature is for the horse to change its behavior, by seeking shelter from the cold and wind or to huddle together, to decrease heat loss. When weather becomes cold and windy, shelter should be provided. Although stalling is unnecessary for all horses, some protection from winter elements is important. If nothing else a three-sided shed with the open side opposite the prevailing wind usually serves to protect horses in most climates. Some younger horses may not be experienced in seeking shelter when the weather in intemperate and owners should make sure these younger horses are protected from the weather.
- Tip #2 - Pay attention to deworming and vaccination schedules
Internal parasites become active again this time of year as it cools and can proliferate in pastures. Make sure to perform a fecal egg count and deworm only if necessary.
- Tip #3 - Maintain proper levels of fitness and conditioning
Before cold weather hits, take note of your horse's normal behavior during conditioning exercises. If you know your horse's healthy habits during a workout, it is easier to spot problems, like stiffness, lameness or cardiovascular issues. As weather becomes cooler, many horses are ridden less, but horse owners need to be aware of any changes in the physical condition of their horses.
If the horse is young or older, isn't used to much physical activity, or has health problems, you will need to maintain light exercise and gradually work up to a level that will either maintain or improve the horse's level of fitness during cold weather.
Horses that are stabled most of the time will require at least a 30 minute workout each day and will benefit most from an hour or more of exercise activity as conditions allow during inclement weather.
To read the rest of the article, click here. Prepare now and bundle up for Mother Nature! Happy riding all!