Winter is upon us, and it's a good time to check your winter horse keeping skills. Follow these tips for keeping horses healthy in winter.
First, feed lots of fodder. Eating helps horses generate body heat, so make sure to feed more hay than in the warmer months. Also, the quality of pasture tends to decline in winter, meaning they will be getting fewer nutrients from their pasture and need the extra hay for nutrition.
If you get a lot of snow and/or ice, consider changing your horse's shoeing routine to include shoes with studs. You can also smear petroleum jelly on the bottom of their feet to prevent snowballs from building up.
How do you know if your horse is cold? A truly cold horse will shiver just like a human. He may tuck his tail and look "sucked up" in his flank area. His hair will be prickled up and the base of his ears and his armpits will be colder than your body temperature. A cold horse may need a warmer blanker.
Some horses become picky about drinking in cold weather so make sure their water is defrosted at all times. Feed a wet warm bran or beet pulp extra watery if you have a horse that stops drinking in the cold.