How to Care for Your Horse in Winter

As the seasons change throughout the year, your horse’s care should change too. The things your horse needs during the hot and humid summer months are not necessarily the best things to keep them healthy during the cold months of winter. In order to optimize your horse’s health and performance this season, consider the following winter care tips for horses.

8 Horse Care Tips for Winter

1. Hydration

Horses can become dehydrated during winter – especially if their water is frozen or too cold. Horses are more likely to drink slightly warm water in cold weather. We suggest adding a heater, de-icing regularly, and making sure your horse’s water is fresh at all times. You can also add a bit of salt or a salt lick to your horse’s meals or environment to further promote hydration.

2. Feed Adjustments

Horses have different nutritional and caloric needs in the winter. Be sure to adjust their feed accordingly.

3. Exercise and Joint Health

Regular exercise and turning out are essential during the winter, as it is during the warmer months of the year. Be sure to go easy on an older or arthritic horse’s joints, as the cold weather can increase stiffness and the risk of injury.

4. Fresh Air

Although a barn or stable might be warm, it can also be dusty, moldy, and stagnate. Indoor areas need to be properly ventilated for fresh air and the prevention of respiratory problems.

5. Proper Medication Storage

Check the storage requirements on your horse’s medications before the temperature drops. If any are stored in an unheated area, they might need to be moved indoors.

6. Shelter

Shelter from the wind and harsh temperatures can benefit horses in winter. Keep plenty of clean, dry hay in their stalls for added warmth.

7. Blanketing

Horses with short hair can benefit from blanketing – especially when they are unsheltered in inclement weather. Be sure blankets are changed often and that horses are clean and dry beneath them.

8. Hoof Health

Ice or snowballs collecting on a horse’s hooves makes it difficult to walk, increasing their risk of slipping and becoming injured. Overgrown hooves collect more snow than those that are kept properly trimmed.

Winter Horse Health and Equine Examinations With Our Veterinarians in Fishkill, New York

Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley offers comprehensive veterinary care for horses, specialized for achieving optimal health and performance throughout every season. To learn more about caring for your horse in winter or to schedule an appointment with an experienced equine veterinarian, we welcome you to contact our office today.