If you just purchased your first horse, you should know that keeping your horse health and happy during the winter months is going to require a little extra effort. Here are three tips that will help you take care of your house during the winter months.
#1: Keep Your Horse Well Fed
During the rest of the year, your horse is able to forage and eat out in the pasture. However, during the winter months, when the ground is frozen and often covered in mud, your horse is not going to be able to get the food that they need from the pasture. You need to make sure that you are providing your horse with the right type of food to keep them well fed and warm. If your horse is pregnant, older, or a breeding stallion, they are going to need some extra food to keep them full.
Eating actually helps keep your horse warm. Eating products such as hay or grass helps keep your horse warm as they digest this type of food. Your horse may need to eat extra hay or grass in order to stay warm during the winter months.
#2: Keep Your Horse's Water Supply
Next, you need to make sure that your horse has access to fresh water. When it is really cold outside, your horse's water may freeze, and this is why you need to use a heated bucket or provide your horse with water twice a day. When it is cold outside, horses actually like to drink water that is slightly warm, so if possible, try to warm up your horse's water or keep it inside of a heated bucket.
You should also keep a little salt near your horse's water. A mineral salt block will help stimulate your horse's desire for water and help prompt them to drink enough water during the day.
#3: Watch Your Horse's Hooves
Pay especially close attention to your horse's hooves during the winter. If it is cold and icy outside, ice chunks may get into your horse's hooves, and this can be harmful to your horse's legs. When it is icy and cold outside, you should clean your horse's hooves at least twice a day. This will help keep ice out of your horse's hooves and keep them comfortable. Mud can be a problem during the winter time as well. Mud can actually cause fungal and bacterial infections when it is left inside of your horse's hooves; try to build extra time into your schedule to clean your horse's hooves twice a day.
You can help keep your horse healthy by making sure that your horse gets plenty of food during the winter time, has access to clean and warm water, and has hooves that stay clean.
Talk to a veterinary professional, such as one at Edisto Equine Clinic, for more tips.