Looking after a horse’s needs is vastly different from other domesticated animals, say like, a dog or cat. Horses are bigger creatures that tend to have even more extensive essentials to survive. During winter, we could not just bring our horses inside the house and let them sleep near the fireplace or heater to feel the warmth. Sure, the barn could be sufficient to protect them from the harsh wind but there are other things we could do to make the cold weather more bearable and cozier for our horses.
Provide a rug for your horse
You might not know when to cover or bundle up your horse especially if it is your first time but there are indications and signs to check whether your horse is freezing. If your horse is shivering or its ears are cold, you need to bundle them up, preferably with caribu horse rugs to provide the utmost protection from the cold weather.
If it is the other way around and you think you have bundled your horse with way too much rugs, check whether the horse’s coat is damp (a sign that the horse is perspiring) or if the horse is unusually thirsty. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed or you think you might be “misdiagnosing” your horse’s condition. Once you get the hang of it and you begin to understand your horse’s body language, deciphering what they need to come in second nature to you.
Provide extra water
It might seem contradictory since you might think that your horse would only need more water to drink during summer or when the weather is hotter. But in reality, horses tend to need more water during winter since what they eat, like hay for example, is much drier during colder season. During summer, lush pastures have more moisture that when your horse is feeding, they are also getting their water requirement by consuming this dampness.
You need to prioritize your horse’s water intake and to ensure that they are getting the adequate amount since a dehydrated horse is more prone to develop impaction colic. Make sure as well that the water is warm; an ideal temperature is from 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit to encourage your horse to drink more since it is giving them warmth relief from the cold.
Provide opportunities for activities
Even if it is cold and all you want to do is snuggle, you have to remember that your horse still needs to exercise. You have to provide opportunities for them to have some physical activities otherwise they could end up with swollen lower legs. When you go riding during winter, take extra precautions to avoid any injuries or accidents. Make sure that you don’t strain your horse too much especially when treading in heavy snow.
Caring for your horse during winter might sound like a lot of work but once you familiarize yourself with the process; it would be easier for you later on. Remember too that caring for them during summer is different.